Sunday, October 17, 2010

Electronic Gadget Petting Zoo

After seeing this posting, I couldn't get this out of my mind. I knew this would be a great event to have at my own school to familiarize the teachers with the gadgets we have at school. I decided to plan an electronic gadget petting zoo in the library. Teachers would have an opportunity to come anytime that day to play with the tech gadgets, learn how to use them, get ideas on how to use them in the classroom, and build collaboration.
This is a copy of the email invitation that I mailed out to the faculty and staff:

Hands on is the only way to learn a new tool. Come to the library during your first or second related planning and "pet" some of the gadgets that you might want to use in your classroom. The zoo features gadgets like the Kindle, Flip cameras, Hue webcams, digital camera, Senteo clickers, Wii, Mouse Mischief and more. Play with the gadgets, learn how to operate them and see ways that you could use these tools in your class. On your way out complete an exit slip to be entered in a raffle for a cool gadget.

*If you have a gadget of your own that you would like to bring to the zoo please let me know. I would love to have more.

**If you want this automatically added to your calendar so it will remind you, please accept the invitation.

I created a Top Ten Reasons to Visit the Petting Zoo and will be sending those out in the days leading up to the event. Teachers are busy so I know they need multiple reminders. The emails include tidbits about technology so even if they do not attend maybe they will learn something from the list.

The Top Ten Reasons are:

#10 There are 5 myths of technology use: young teachers use it more, only high achieving students benefit from technology, students are already tech savvy, administrators and teachers share the same view of technology, teacher education programs prepare teachers to teach with technology (From

#9 Internet adoption over the past 10 years: 93% of teens ages 12-17 go online, as do 95% of young adults ages 18-29. Seventy-nine percent of all adults ages 18 and older go online.

#8 Of teen content creators (those who have a blog, website or have created or remixed content online) 45% are age 12-14.

#7 Marc Prensky warned us, "Our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach."

#6 …"technology is technology only for people who were born before it was invented." Alan Kay
Technology and the world of digital media are "like air" to our students
Learning characteristics for this generation:
1. Multitasking: no problem with reading and listening to music while texting
2. Multimedia literacy: beyond just text
3. Discovery based learning: learning merged with play
4. Bias toward action: learning is as much social as it is cognitive (From

#5 Marc Prensky: Students “are more engaged in learning when using the latest technological gadgets, because it is what they are most used to interacting with.”

#4 Amazon announced that in the last quarter it had sold more Kindle e-books than it had hardcover books. In fact, it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, and this number is still rising. Can you imagine a world where students can carry around all their textbooks in one easy-to-read, lightweight device? I can.

#3"When the world inside schools looks so different from the world outside of schools, what are we really preparing students for?" she asks. "When we ban, rather than embrace, real-world technologies, we leave students (1) ill-equipped to know how to harness the power of technology for learning, (2) unprepared to develop a respectable digital footprint and, (3), without adequate knowledge to safely navigate the social web." For Lisa Nielsen, the author of The Innovative Educator blog

#2 What kind of tech use are you? Take this quiz.

#1 reason: It’s fun.

Each station at the petting zoo will have a description of the item, any instructions necessary for the device and ideas on how to use the tool in the classroom. The items that we will have available include Kindles, iPod, iPad, digital camera, Flip cameras, Playaways, Hue webcams, Mouse Mischief, Senteo clickers, Smart slate/Airliner, cell phones, Wii, and a web 2.0 too on each computer. If you would like a copy of the signs please email me.

I will be using exit slips to gather feedback and draw names for a few techie door prizes. The exit slip has three questions:

1. Which gadgets did you “pet”?

2. Which gadget (s) do you think you might use in your classroom?

3. What gadgets would you like to see at a future event?

I created a Weblist of the sources I used to share with faculty after the event. I will post an update after our event.


  1. Wish I could take a field trip and visit your gadget zoo! I know your teachers will appreciate your creativity and the time you spent planning this for them. Look forward to reading how it went.

  2. Thanks for providing such a great article, it was excellent and very informative.
    as a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed.
    thank you :)