Congratulations to the winners of CDW Canada's 2009 Teaching with Technology Contest
Grand Prize Winner #2: Grace Ho
H.J. Cambie Secondary School, Richmond, BC
Teaching With Technology... Even When the Technology Is Not In the Classroom
by Grace Ho

For eight years, I taught in a portable with no technology beyond an overhead, TV and VCR. Occasionally, I would sign out a computer lab, but it was not accessible on a regular basis. I was hungry to incorporate more technology into my teaching, but the big question was, HOW? So I decided that I would use what I had at home along with what most students had at home. Over the course of several years, I am pleased to say that learning with technology happens if you simply use what you already have.

I had Microsoft Word, Internet access, and a digital camera at home. So did my students. That was enough to create web pages and enter the Japanese Web Page Contest. After some online tutorials, I was able to explain to my students how they could create web pages in Word and upload them onto a free site, such as Geocities. Students typed their stories in Japanese using Word and I took photographs of the accompanying artwork. All this was formatted and transformed into a class website. In between classes, I communicated with students by email to get everything published online. For two years in a row, my students won contest prizes in their category!

I had experience viewing videos on YouTube and a digital point-and-shoot camera that shot simple videos. So did my students. That was enough to produce commercials on YouTube with my Marketing class. I assigned student teams the task of repositioning a popular brand and creating a new advertisement. Students had a lot of fun as producers, directors, camera operators, and actors. They used their own cameras and uploaded their videos on their own. We had a viewing party at the school's computer lab, but all the technical work was done outside the classroom!

I had a digital camera and an iPod. So did my students. I also had a cable that connected the iPod to the TV monitor in my classroom. My students took photographs of a day in their lives to create a Photo Diary. These photographs were ordered, put onto iPods and brought to class. Students gave exciting presentations about themselves as they clicked through their photos. Who needs a laptop and projector now? By the way, did I mention that they had to memorize their lines and say it all in Japanese?

For a long time, I felt like my hands were tied since I had no classroom computer, no laptop, no projector, and so on. Then I realized that the classroom was bigger than the four walls of my portable. It included my home, my students' homes, and the whole virtual world. I love teaching with technology even when the technology is not "in the classroom". Now imagine what we would be capable of if it were...

Grace Ho, class and JD Hupp
H.J. Cambie Secondary School
Grace Ho, principal and JD Hupp
Prizes from CDW Canada's Teaching with Technology Contest
  Grace Ho, Story Contest Winner
H.J. Cambie Secondary School
  Students at H.J. Cambie Secondary School
with technology prizes
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