Congratulations to the winners of CDW Canada's 2009 Teaching with Technology Contest
Grand Prize Winner #3: Farhana Panju
Richmond Rose Public School, Richmond Hill, ON
Teaching With Technology at Richmond Rose Public School
by Farhana Panju

When the earthquake struck in Haiti, the world watched in terror as images of the devastation shook the hearts of millions worldwide. It was clear to me at the time that I wanted my students to understand severity of what had taken place, and feel a sense of responsibility to help out in any way they could. I used technology as a tool in this mission.

The morning after the earthquake, I used a document camera to project the front page of the Toronto Star newspaper onto the large screen. As students walked into class, they were filled with emotions and many questions. What happened? How bad is the damage? Where's Haiti? How can we help? Immediately we began searching for answers using the Internet. We went onto news websites to find current information and used Google Earth to find out where the earthquake took place. Having the Internet at our fingertips was key to collecting timely information.

Throughout the week we continued to read articles, view images and video online about the earthquake devastation. Students eagerly applied their inferring and questioning skills as they commented on images posted on our class VoiceThread site. One key image was of a girl sitting on a pile of rubble. She was screaming with her arms stretched to the sky. Students began to infer what she was trying to say, and together we decided that since there was no one to hear her, WE would be her voice.

Fortunately at the time our class had access to 10 MacBooks which were on loan from Apple through the Digital Lending Program. Using iMovie, my students created original Public Service Announcements to encourage students at the school to donate to help the people of Haiti. Not only did they learn important lessons of Media Literacy (how to create a PSA, developing a message, storyboarding, copyright etc.), but more importantly it helped students develop a sense of empathy for the people who were most severely affected. These PSA's were (and continue to be) showcased on the flat-screen television in the front of the school.

The use of technology in the classroom was very empowering for my students. Not only were they able to access up-to-date information about a current issue, but they were also able to share their thoughts and opinions with the class, and finally create a a PSA to communicate their message with others.

Farhana Panju and JD Hupp with Students at
Richmond Rose Public School
  Farhana Panju and JD Hupp
Richmond Rose Public School
  Students at Richmond Rose Public School
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