In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the person who stole fire from Zeus and brought it to the people. A few weeks ago, a great guy named Nate (ultimately with help from Kathleen, Scott, Anna, and Joelle) brought fire to my classroom....A Promethean interactive whiteboard.
This Wednesday, the UPS truck brought the gas for the fire...Activotes. For those who haven't used them, Activotes are devices that each student uses to interact with the lesson (other people in my school call them the clickers). If you want to see a lesson come alive, hand out electronics!
So, you are wondering how things have changed since the introduction of this amazing technology. First, a little about me. I haven't been a paper-pencil person for at least a dozen years. I never saw the need to quantify things in the music classroom. I have kids write stories, as previously discussed, but I don't do tests. I like to have kids SHOW me that they understand what we are learning.
The addition of the whiteboard has changed a lot in my classroom, but not the basic fundamentals. The kids spend eighty percent of the time in front of the board (if not more). I do my twenty percent is mostly setting up the activities and a little instruction. In fact, since the Activslate arrived, I have spent even less time in front of the board! The focus of my instruction is still the children, but now the kids have ramped up motivation...they are on fire!
Adding the Activotes this week has changed the atmosphere in my room...I am still dreaming of ways to make it better. We have been talking about naming the notes the kids will have to know to play the keyboards in February. The interesting thing to me is that I had the votes in "Anonymous" mode and the kids still wanted to know how they were doing... The quest for learning was apparent. Perhaps more than in the past, the students wanted to get the 'right' answer and were eager to listen better to instruction so taht they could get the answer right. I am not sure what all the implications of this are. I am not sure if the motivation is intrinsic, which has always been my goal. For now, I am going to go with the on-fire excitement and find ways to transfer that assignment to an instrument.
From my early experiences, I have decided that Promethean is correctly named for Prometheus, the one who shares fire. My classroom is definitely on fire!!!