Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tweaking to make things relevant

Yesterday I was supply teaching in a Technology class. The students were working with HTML and were given an assignment to complete a table of the top 5 Billboard songs, by adding artist and a picture of the album cover.

I have seen lots of assignments like this over the years, but what was neat about this one was that the list of songs was an actual current list from this week. Most of the time these types of assignments still use the information from whenever it was made (6 months ago, a year ago, two years ago...) which means the assignment seems stupid to the students. By taking the time to make the information current, this teacher made the assignment more relevant and more interesting to his students.

It is worth noting that tweaking the assignment was easy for the teacher because there was no physical handout. The assignment was stored on the school's server in a "handout" folder. To make the change, the teacher only had to edit the file. He did not need to then go and photocopy a class set. When technology makes it easy to keep assignments up to date, that means more teachers can do so and students will be a little more interested. Gotta love technology!

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