George Lucas Educational Foundation
Technology Integration

Focus on Function: Innovative Uses of Technology

    En route to work in a school in Illinois, I was sitting in a narrow seat on a regional jet. It had been a bit of a long day, and I began to drift off to sleep, only to be snapped back awake time after time by the uncomfortable shape of the headrest. I needed a pillow, but this was a late-afternoon flight on a regional jet, meaning my chance of getting one was nil.

    So I took my paperback copy of Daniel H. Pink's A Whole New Mind, rolled it up, placed it at the base of my neck, and slept. It wasn't quite the ever-sought-after "like a baby" version of sleep, but the support of this fine tome (seriously: Pink's book has made a huge impact on my thinking, and I urge all to read it) gave me the support my spine needed in that pesky base-of-the-neck region.

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    And this experience got me to thinking about innovative uses of stuff, and I remembered a high school science teacher from South Portland, Maine, who was in a session in which I was demonstrating the ProScope digital microscope. She was impressed with the device but shared that, using a simple point-and-shoot digital camera and a traditional microscope, she and her students were collecting dramatic images that were proving effective in supporting student understanding of complex concepts.

    In a previous post, I wrote about various ways a digital projector can be used in a classroom, and many of those ideas go more than a bit beyond the traditional uses of projecting a computer screen onto a larger screen or even an interactive whiteboard.

    But I know there are brilliant innovations out there I will never think of, so my question is, "How are you using technology in innovative ways to support your teaching and kids' learning?" Go for it -- surprise us!

    And, as a bonus, after you read A Whole New Mind, you'll understand just how fundamentally important this innovation thing is.