1. Breaking Down the Theme

There are lots of ways to inspire students in a technology classroom. My thought was to find a way to integrate the following three sub themes into the theme of inspiring students:

- MakerEd: Students creating new things and prototyping real solutions for real problems.
- Digital Citizenship: Students understanding their responsibility for creating and maintaining positive online communities and the importance of protecting their online privacy and security.
- Media Production: Students using technology tools to communicate in ways that transcend pencil and paper.

Opportunities to inspire students through technology should also embed use of the 4Cs (Partnership for 21st Century Learning, 2016). They are:
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity

Without having a sense of what students might be inspired to create, or the degree to which the technology classroom is an extension of a primary classroom-based IBL project, I began trying to identify some driving questions. Because these questions could go in so many directions, and because there are so many technologies that could be used to dive into these questions, I decided to map out the driving questions that I came up with, and connect them to technology tools that we have access to in our school. As you’ll notice, many questions connect nicely with multiple technologies; the more the better!

Potential Driving/Essential Questions Accessible Educational Technology
  • How do we/why should we respect the intellectual property and work of others?
  • What if we could 3D design and print things that would help others learn
  • How might we use technology to create campaigns that inspire people in our school to change their behaviors (e.g., reduce the amount of food they throw away)?
  • How do robots use sensors?
  • Which brand of laptop/tablet should our school buy in the future?
  • How can I use technology to connect with experts and learn new things?
  • Should our school change its Acceptable Use Policy?
  • What if we could use Augmented Reality to create new ways of exhibiting student work?
  • How do video games work? Can we make our own?
  • What are the major components of a computer? Can we our own?
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • LEGO Robotics
  • 3D Printing
  • Kano Kits

I used the “Driving Question Tubric 2.0” tool (Buck Institute for Education, 2011) to spark ideas for my questions. Creating an account with BIE allows you to download the tool for printing. I suspect that I would use some version of this tool with students to help them form their own driving questions.

Finally, I used Google Drawings to map out the connections between my driving questions and the technology tools we have access to.