What if instead of just watching students spend too much time using apps on their mobile devices, we create a way to make those passive moments active learning experiences?
In the continuing effort of the Digital Literacy program to develop creative makers out in school, students from Gr. 9-10 learned about using the App Inventor. With App Inventor — a joint project of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory — anyone can build an app for an Android phone just by using a web browser and either a connected phone or an emulator.
It was a surprise what students were able to create out of the programs. Apps created ranged from a basketball game (which I discovered was similar to Facebook’s hidden game on messenger), quiz game for kids, mini golf game, to space game. One pair was able to create a game suited for one of the family’s food business. Another created a Choose Your Own Adventure kind of game. There is just endless possibilities with the App Inventor.
However, more than seeing students take ownership of their learning, observing how they have developed critical thinking skills and being engaged in what they were doing were more than enough reason to using this tool.
Here are snapshots of student creations:
My current unit in High School Digital Literacy is focused on technology at work. The lessons allowed students to assess how technology is present in almost all of the industries existing today and how it will affect their careers in the future.
A viral video on YouTube called “Humans Need Not Apply” (below) was a focal point of discussion. The video showed how automation has evolved from old and pre-loaded instructions machines usually seen in factories to new and improved mechanical minds able to learn tasks independently. This evolution is starting to affect how jobs will be perceived in the future
The reflections written by students showed a myriad of emotions: from fear, anger to relief, or some just couldn’t care less. It was important to process for the class that the lesson’s purpose was to raise awareness on how the future will be like, that the choices they have to make should consider the reality of technology alongside it.
Here are some insightful student reflections:
The Internet offers an avenue for data to be distributed infinitely. Part of being digital literate is to be able to navigate the World Wide Web but at the same time be able to protect one’s private data. Over the last sessions in Digital Literacy class, students learned about the concept of anonymity online, and the discreet strategies that websites use to invade people’s privacy when they go online. Check the infographics below students created to raise awareness about this.