Roosting in a Cactus:
Planning Technology-Rich Projects  
Most people avoid cactus, but many animals make cactus their home. You need to look beyond the spiny exterior of a cactus or technology to make it an effective resource. Our students have grown up in a technology-rich world. Unfortunately our classroom assignments and assessments have not kept up with the evolution of standards and potential of technology. Many activities still use a word processor as a typewriter, imaging software as a paint brush, and multimedia as a slide show. Break out of the mold and explore new pathways for expression through effective image, word, and voice representations, the design of effective communications, and infusion of interactive elements into your multimedia assignments.
What's a technology-rich project? It's an active, authentic, and meaningful learning environment that involves students in creating text, images, graphics, videos, and other communications. Technology enhances this communication and is seamlessly integrated into the process and product. The project can involve a range of low and high technology resources. For example, the advertising project includes text, graphics, and persuasive communications. The honey bee project uses HyperStudio to share text, graphics, and sounds related to beekeeping. Students can even create web pages such as the raptor project. For more information about technology-rich projects, check out the Project-Based Learning project.
This workshop focuses on guidelines for planning and assessing technology-rich student projects including:
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Cactus Exploration
Start with an exploration of existing technology-rich projects. You can explore the guidelines for the project or project products. Create a list of all the technologies used in the project including planning, implementation, and sharing phases. Then, brainstorm other tools that could have been used in the project. Finally, think about projects that would take the same approach with different content.

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Created by Annette Lamb, 02/01.