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Using technology to document education in Surrey, B.C.

Written on March 21st, 2011

In Surrey, British Columbia, a group of middle-school children are using technology to document their experiences for teachers, their school and the world at large.

In January, Surrey Christian School purchased a half-class set of iPod Touches for the students and teachers to explore.

The students use the devices to create podcasts and movies that document events such as the school’s recent Greek Night. Greek music plays in the background as a student actor discusses philosophy in the role of Socrates. Other podcasts feature band nights, choirs and a talent show.

Grade 7 teacher Andrew Georgy-Embree thinks of the technology as simply another tool in his education tool kit.

“People ask me what we’re doing with these things and I say ‘what are we doing with a pencil’, we’re learning as much as we can!”

He’s currently exploring the concept of digital narrative with his students; effectively putting the idea of narrative to film through iMovie technology.

“We’re using them to document processes that we’re doing and telling stories across all curricular activities,” Georgy-Embree tells the OACS News.

“The big thing is, what comes with these devices is fun, and we want to keep that,” he says.

While the children are enjoying the work and finding it fun, he can infuse aspects of the traditional curriculum into the mix, such as documenting stories in French, for example.

His class recently did a unit on reverse engineering, “and instead of just ripping something apart, we documented the process.”

The students now edit the films and narrate over top of the action. Georgy-Embree says he’s amazed at how quickly the students are learning how to manipulate the devices’ features.

He recently presented the idea to his peers at a workshop. For the children, the technology is almost second-nature but for some of his fellow teachers, he says it’s a little more foreign.

He agrees with the idea that educators must be willing to embrace technology and find ways to make it a part of their students’ lives.

Through podcasts and YouTube movies, people are likely to catch on.