Saturday, January 27, 2007

Field Trips

Today I went to a workshop at the Bank Street College of Education with my roommate. It was about integrating technology into the classroom, which meant we got to use all sorts of technology: video cameras, ipods, and the plethora of programs offered on macs.

The best part was the field trip portion. We were assigned to take our video cameras and ipods on the city blocks around the school to learn more about the neighborhood. My group decided to focus on local businesses and the people who worked in them. Our first interview was with a man named Alex who had opened the hardware store there forty years ago. We learned a lot about changes in the neighborhood, as well as where his wood supply came from.

Next we interviewed a very hesitant man who worked at a pizzeria. (I think the presence of the video camera actually caused him to shut down.)

Finally we interviewed a man who worked in a framing shop his uncles had opened 23 years ago. He, too, seemed hesitant, but agreed to talk once we promised it would take no longer than two minutes. He told us that people have him frame more than just pictures, and that in recent years he has framed chocolate (why haven't I thought of this before?!), muffins, and even a wedding dress. (When I asked how, he said, "It was a very big shadow box.")

After twenty minutes of recording, interviewing, and photographing, we went back into the classroom. Here we integrated everything into a PowerPoint presentation. Our photos had audio clips we had put together using GarageBand. Our background was a satellite view of the neighborhood we found on Google Maps. Our images were linked to websites and other great information. And now I can't get wait to get into my own classroom and try some of this stuff out.

This morning when I woke up I wondered why I had agreed to go to a Saturday morning workshop. Now I'm so glad that I had the chance for a bit of reinvigoration. The lesson I can pass on: If you have the opportunity to take a workshop at Bank Street, do it!

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