My dad is a really smart guy. He’s a musician and an author. He can pick up any musical instrument and play basic songs by ear, he’s composed several piano arrangements, he can even tell you the exact key your car horn honks in (not that you need to know that information but he’ll tell you anyway). What he can’t do is use his cell phone. Part of the problem is that he has a phone with technology circa 2004…ok, maybe 2006. He assures me that, according to the AARP, his phone is the latest and greatest in mobile technology and therefore should be able to do all of the latest and greatest things that modern day technology can do. Unfortunately his latest and greatest is a flip phone with a 2 megapixel camera and what he wants to do with it is take photos and print them out (yes, print them) to share with all of his friends.
We talk about educational technology and the ways that new apps and programs can benefit our students in the classroom but what about the potential students who aren’t in our classrooms? My father actually said “I guess there will be no more photo albums anymore.” because taking photos was just “too hard”. Too hard? Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and yet for the senior subsect of our society technology is a hinderance preventing them from enjoying the quality of life they once knew. All my dad wants is to take photos of his granddaughter when she’s born. It isn’t asking a lot.
The good news is, I can help my dad and help my students this summer by creating some simple how-to videos using an app called Explain Everything. How does this help my father? My father benefits because he’ll have a little library of tutorials he can watch whenever he needs a refresher on how to use my mother’s iPhone to take photos, print photos, edit photos (yeah, he’s probably never going to do that). Although the phone is my mother’s she can only use it to make phone calls and send texts. I can use Explain Everything to teach my mother how to scan documents and print them on her Bluetooth printer for her Bible study, add reminders, create a grocery list, and use GPS. Explain Everything allows me to use a combination of videos, photographs, documents, and natural writing to, you guessed it, Explain Everything. I can take screen shots directly from my parents’ phone, record voice overs, and draw on the screen to direct their attention or provide links to webpages. How will this benefit my students? Two words: Flipped. Classroom. I’ve tried the flipped classroom trend a few times throughout the year and I’m eager to experiment with it further. Explain Everything is the perfect app for creating flipped classroom videos, but there is a learning curve. I can experiment on my parents and hone my skills so that I’m ready when the school year begins because the app does have a learning curve and who wants to deal with that come September?
So don’t forget potential students who aren’t in your classroom. Think of the world as your classroom. As teachers you have a talent, the talent to disseminate information and make it understandable. If you’re a tech savvy teacher there is a whole population out there who needs you.