Carrying Your Very Own Digital Backpack
A Teacher with a Digital Backpack
Greg Kulowiec shares a Back to School App Pack on his popular blog The History 2.0 Classroom. The tools include software and apps selected to support learner goals. Check his work and start building your digital backpack!
Checkout our menu of apps, software and hardware on the main N2 Academy page.
Also, to get a better understanding of integrating technology in your classroom, please visit our Technology As a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome page.
Open a digital backpack, and you’ll find three core components that teachers can easily adapt to increase student engagement and understanding in different curricular areas or use in interdisciplinary activities. They include:
- 1. Foundational technology
- 2. Modular technology
- 3. Instructional support materials
This is the hardware and software that is the core of the digital backpack. It must be flexible enough to support multiple modular technologies. Besides a well-constructed backpack, the foundational technology would include a laptop or tablet device and software or apps to access instruction- al content, gather data, and construct media.
Modular technology. This set of tools includes hardware, software, and devices chosen to meet specific instructional goals and desired outcomes.
The modular technologies that we tested included digital camcorders, iPod touches with preloaded apps, digital sound recorders, digital science probes, measuring tape, and Pasco’s Sparkvue (data-gathering and analyzing software). Other ideas include microphones and digital still cameras.
Teachers choose their technologies based on their capacity to support the individual PBL experience, and, as suggested by the term modular, they can add or remove a given technology from a digital backpack depending on the specific learning objectives. It is essential for the modular tech- nologies to be able to readily interface with the foundational technology.
INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT MATERIALS
These include all of the curriculum resources that provide the structure, guidance, and specific information learners need to understand the content and complete the learning experience. Teachers can change or modify the instructional support materials, just as they did the modular learning technologies, based on instructional, curricular, or student needs. In the backpacks we tested, the instructional support materials included content specific instructional information in the form of documents, podcasts, videos, and content-based apps. You could include any digital learning objects, art, or artifacts as well as URLs for online resources and informational background articles. Our backpack designs have also included learner handouts to structure activities, such as storyboarding templates and activity instructions. Some instructional support materials provide technology tutorials for the foundational and modular technologies.