Using Discovery Learning to Research Technology Terms
From a Bulletin Board Display
Create a bulletin board using a crossword puzzle setup with various words in technology linked together. Use COMPUTER as the main word to build the other words from. The words can be displayed vertically or horizontally. Use a background of two different colors representing the sky and ground, with the main word displayed horizontally on the horizon. The title for the display can be "Computers Expand Your Horizons".
Words such as those below can be included in the display:
Use words relating to hardware (flat screen, chip, SMART Board), software (Word, Flashplayer), communication (blog, ebook), networking (Facebook, Twitter), search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo), brand names (Ipod, Xbox), company names (Apple, Microsoft, Google) and operating systems (Linux, DOS).
Leave space on this display for more words to be added as students discover terms they would like to do research on. Different grade levels may want to use different colors for terms they are discovering. You may want to create a different display for different grade levels.
Technology Terms Research
Students choose among the words to research and present (teach) to the rest of the class what the term means and provide examples. For example, if it is the word “website”, the student could define and create their own website rather than just listing examples. They could present using a Powerpoint slideshow, a video, or a word processed document, depending on the application and grade level. Teachers should check on the technology allowed within the school environment.
Students in lower grade levels could just research the word and give a definition of the word to the class. You could give 1 word for each letter of the alphabet or have the students find 1 word for each letter of the word computers.
You could have a list of technology terms for students as a spelling list. In computers they could practice cutting and pasting the words to put them in alphabetical order.
Technology Terms Online Display
Create an online video using kinetic typography to connect the computer terms as a way to display the words together online. Examples of kinetic typography videos, songs, and commercials could be shown to the class as a technology lesson plan by itself. Students could discover the connection of words to displays. This medium of expression combines art and expression in animated text. An example of the Quicktime movie of an excerpt from "Renaissance", called Sky, is found at on JohnnyLee.net. Definitions, history and the Kinetic Typography engine to create your own display can be found at the What is Kinetic Typography? website. MarcoFolio offers these 15 stunning motion typography videos is a website including the famous Abbott and Costello version of "Who's on First?" presentation.
Technolgy Terms Presentations
Students, as part of their presentations, could create a blog, a Facebook account, or a twitter account to show how each works. Hardware examples such as Ipods, Xbox, Blackberries and gaming systems could be demonstrated and compared with each other. Blogs created by students could be designed to discuss the best application for a system or game, the best price, the best feature of the system, or the most popular use of it. Once the blog has several responses from the class or from the internet, the student summarizes in a document or final blog entry the findings from his or her daily blog.
General terms such as network, website, search engine or operating system should be defined, displayed, and described in easy to understand ways. The definitions could be collected in a glossary of terms in one large display or file for the entire class to access. It would be similar to a Wikipedia definition which could be changed and added to as more information is found.
Students should be allowed to add their own words to the display of things they would like to learn about in the technology world. They should also add words when new technology evolves over the school year. The discovery approach should allow them to explore areas of interest beyond what teachers think the student should learn in computer class. The age and experience level of the students may determine what they would like to learn about. Current trends in computers should be read daily so that students can change their minds about which project they would like to research.
Use the board game Scrabble or Upwards to create a 2 dimensional representation of computer terms. Only computer terms may be used. Definitions and brand names, which will not appear in a traditional dictionary, should be added to a classroom document for words to use in the game. Online dictionaries should be allowed for playing the game.
Resources for discovery learning styles:
A resource which may help the teacher in the collaborative and discovery learning approach is a book titled, “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis. It has a chapter on education and teaching using blogs. He used his blog at: www.buzzmachine.com to collaborate on his book. He is a journalist and a professor so has many current ideas and updates at his website. Click here to read the complete chapter on education.
Also the ability to blog with students rather than provide all the information to students is discussed by Frank Calberg Services in this article at Slideshare.net called 11 Advantages of Using a Blog For Teaching. This article states that one advantage to teaching using a blog is that students can collaborate with the teacher on what areas of learning they would like to pursue. Teachers can also collaborate with their peers and colleagues to provide more expertise. Students using this discovery approach to computer technology terms will be more motivated to learn.
Another useful resource is creating crossword puzzles online. Students and teachers can enter definitions so that a crossword is generated. This display could be used as an evolving visual to help students learn terminology in computers. There are many websites for crossword puzzle generation. One is found at: Puzzlemaker by Discovery Education.
Discovery and collaborative learning for technology terms can be achieved using blogs, multimedia presentations, kinetic typography and website creation. By offering a choice of terms to research and present, students will direct their own learning, and new technologies will be explored, discovered and collaborated upon. This is a technology lesson plan that will evolve over the school year.