My school is digital. By that I mean that I teach in a 1:1 iPad environment and the vast majority of what we do on a daily basis is all taken care of digitally - worksheets, quizzes, listening activities, videos, etc.
I love the fact that we save so much paper. I also love that students can personalize their learning more than ever - by that I mean that a student can listen to a passage just once if that is all he needs or a dozen times if he prefers. Students can pause videos to look up information. They can do interactive practice activities. They can even record their voices and turn in an audio file so I can assess their pronunciation. Hooray!
But still I feel like there are times when we lose something by making it digital. Some things just seem to be better accomplished in a hands-on and crafty way. For example, I miss tri-fold travel brochures, posters, handmade books, and topographical maps made of salt dough. (Am I dating myself just a bit?)
We can still engage in those things, of course, but some of these crafts are really icons of a lost world. What do I mean? Well, take bookmarks for example. I used to do a splendid activity with bookmarks in the preterite and imperfect. We then stored them in our textbook for the remainder of the year and they were so useful. But these days I ask myself what the purpose of a bookmark is when there are no books? Is it better to just give my students a handy PDF that they can use as reference?
I grappled with this for a year or so and ultimately decided that crafts hold their own place and have usefulness in and of themselves. Kinesthetic learners benefit greatly from doing things with their hands and everyone benefits from a variation in the routine from time to time. And there is an artifact that is created in the process, rather than just a collection of ones and zeros. To me, that is worthwhile.
download the instructions and you will also want to download the template. Or you can click the pictures above.
Today as I was circulating in my Spanish III classroom, I walked by a student who had her bookmark out from last year. She was looking up irregular preterites. She had her iPad open on her desk, but picked up the bookmark instead. That is something. I have nothing against technology, but that is definitely something.
What activities do you find work better the old-fashioned way? Do you have any pet projects that are nearing obsolescence but you still hold onto them for your own reasons? What are the benefits of paper over technology with certain activities?
Hasta pronto amigos,