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Thomas Friedman writes about the need to develop passion and creativity in this hyperconnected world. (The article is worth a read, but I found the comments more interesting as they came from all sorts of disciplines and reflected many more viewpoints than just Friedman’s.) How am I as a classroom teacher using technology to do this?

Like all dedicated teachers I am constantly improving my craft. I always strive to build a classroom culture that values learning and play. One way that I use technology to build a fun learning-driven classroom environment is through my opening assignment. Last year I had students introduce themselves to the class by telling all of us what they would do in the face of a Zombie Apocalypse (click here to see the assignment). Another fun activity that we start the year with is an online game called NationStates. You can’t really “win”, you just spend time making decisions about your Nation, affecting the Civil Rights, Political Rights, and Economy, creating a unique one-of-a-kind society. This year I had students listen to this podcast and then create their own flag for their nation.

So how can I build on that? How can I expand on that next year? Having students create their own Medieval Coat of Arms is an assignment that I remember doing when I was in elementary. But what would it look like today, infused with technology? Could I have my students create their own Coat of Arms to go along with their NationState? What would my own Coat of Arms look like if I did it now? How can I show the important elements of my own classroom values and the role of technology in a Coat of Arms?

I used Family Crest Generator and MyTribe101’s Family Crest and Coat of Arms Generator to build my very own “MisterJP’s Coat of Arms”. Click on the image below to view my own Coat of Arms and read the annotations that highlight some of the things that I do with technology to show my passion to my students.

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