BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville Middle School eighth-graders put together different hidden clues and solved puzzles recently during a special technology event where they had to escape the iSchool Initiative’s Digital Learning Revolution Tour Bus.
Using a variety of technology tools, the students worked collaboratively and were encouraged to think critically and be creative in their quest for solving a code that opened the bus’ door.
“The students worked together and persevered through the challenge,” said Director of Curriculum Mara Koetke. “They were given very little direction and had to figure it out on their own. The activities were all part of a question about how we can prepare students for a world that’s going to look very different from the one we’re living in, and how do we create in them the qualities that will allow them to face challenging situations and move forward.”
Nicholas Gividen, DLR Tour Bus operator and iSchool advocate, said that as part of the “escape the bus” game, the students had to put together different clues and solve puzzles using augmented reality apps, video game creation and a 3-D printer.
But the focus was not on the technology itself, rather on the way students used it to solve a problem.
“The technology is cool, it’s a tool, but what is more important is what it allows us to do,” Gividen said. “It allows us to enable them to think critically, creatively and work toward a goal and have us there not teaching them every single step of the way. They’re figuring it out on their own and we’re kind of there to nudge them in the right direction.”
Koetke said that the iSchool Initiative activity highlighted the role and use of technology as a tool for solving complex problems that require students to be critical thinkers. She said that using a mobile device to look up information should not be seen as cheating; instead it should be encouraged.
“Technology is a tool that is always available for our students so that they can use information to help them solve bigger, more complex problems,” she said.
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