The students at Schulze Elementary in Detroit are fortunate if they are able to grow and learn beyond the school day if they attend Project Healthy Community’s after school program. However, these kindergarten through fourth grade students aren’t able to expand their knowledge and skills when the school day ends; they simply don’t have the resources. How are students able to complete homework without proper resources? Learn typing skills without a computer at school or at home? Play games to expand prior knowledge? Learn grammar using online tools?
Through the six facets of understanding, the three that are most relevant are explanation, application and perspective. While using technology, students can interpret the facts they learn during the school day and apply them to other concepts. Students are able to explain topics in new ways by researching new evidence and problem solving. Similarly, students are able to apply their prior and new knowledge in various mediums. Students can use the technology to represent understandings in ways that fit their learning needs. Building from application and using different tools to represent their ideas, students will in turn gain perspective and understanding that people interpret and see problems in different ways.
After school program leaders will assess students understandings depending on how the technology is utilized for each specific student. Students may be assessed through a typing game, a video they created to explain how a process works, or communicating with their classroom teacher to see if improvements have been made. Differentiation plays a key role in this too because each student has a different ‘recipe’ for how they learn best. With the addition of technology, students are able to have more voice and choice in their work to better enhance their personal learning. Allowing students intrinsic motivation to be revealed will in turn make students strive to be more successful.