Jigsaws and Technology

Freaking out over how to use technology effectively in a 1-1 initiative? Feeling scared that you don’t know the technology well enough to teach it to the students? Have no fear….a simple solution is here! And, it supports the 4 C’s: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Communication.

Jigsaws are a fantastic differentiation strategy for any classroom, not just a 1-1 classroom. Jigsaws keep students engaged by having students become the experts. How? Split your class into several groups (3-6 students per group). From there, assign each student a certain topic to become an expert in. This student meets with students from the other groups that were assigned the same topic to form an expert group. The expert groups learn everything they can about their topics together. After being a part of the expert group, students go back to their original groups and teach the other group members everything they learned.

Courtesy of: 2differentiate

Courtesy of: 2differentiate

Amazing? Yep. Super easy, super fun and challenges the students. Students want to showcase their knowledge to other students. They want to collaborate and learn from each other. We, as educators, are no longer the keepers of knowledge. We are mentors and advisors. It’s okay to step back and let your students take complete ownership over their learning.

Now, how does this technique fit with technology and your apprehension with having to know all of this technology? Here’s the catch…..you don’t have to know everything about technology; you don’t even have to know a lot! Why? The students are already experts and if they aren’t, they catch on extremely quickly by playing on their own and are always beyond excited to reverse roles with you and be your teacher and have you as their student.

An example of this: you know you want your students to present the research they have just done. PowerPoint is what you immediately think of. However, PowerPoint will probably be the death of society. Be creative. Let the students decide which software, website, etc. to use to present. You could offer up suggestions on ones you’ve heard about: PhotoPeach, SlideRocket, Animoto, VoiceThread, Glogster, and Prezi. You can learn ONE. Tell your students that you are an expert in Prezi, but know these other tools are pretty awesome and that you would love for them to teach the class and yourself how to use them. Watch the hands fly up and volunteer to think outside of the box, learn on their own and then the excitement they get from teaching you and their classmates. You could easily group them with this as well. You five can use PhotoPeach; you five can learn Animoto.

As you go into a technology project, remind students that you are not the expert in all of these sites/programs, etc. They will still respect you and love you even more for your honesty and showing that you are still a learner.

Good luck and have fun! Watch the enthusiasm from your students!


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