In the quest to bring my classroom into the 21st century technology sphere I have begun looking at lesson plans from other educators that utilize tech to create engaging transformational lessons. Google Apps for Education (link to google apps lesson plans) presents an interesting angle in teaching by utilizing features such as google docs, calendar, sites, and apps+ to engage students in what typically would be a standard "I do, We do, You do" lesson plan. One such example is Human Dimensions Project - Greg Bartus.
Essentially the lesson revolves around a group of students that would prove and/or disprove Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man" while focusing on wingspan with relation to height. At first glance I saw no actual benefit from supplementing a lesson like this with any type of technology. We can measure, record, decode, and compare results as the lesson calls for without using any added technological resources. However, the more I read through the lesson the more it hit me that this added dimension that technology provides (specifically google docs) is really much more engaging to our students. First and foremost it is exponentially easier for students to communicate and share their data with each other while using a google doc that all in the class have access to. After importing data into a google docs form students can then graph results using any vast array of mathematical graphing software to easily calculate any correlation that exists between body limb length and overall height/age/sex/etc. The visual representation that graphing software might provide would undoubtedly lead to a greater understanding of what it was they actually calculated. The last benefit that I see for incorporating tech into this specific lesson revolves around the idea of extending the concept to those students that really feel interested in further pursuing the topic. It is very easy to include links to specified material that may extend their learning experience beyond what might otherwise have been possible doing this same lesson in a paper and pencil based classroom. While I am not going to be jumping at the next chance to unveil this specific lesson in my classroom tomorrow, the windows that the ideas in the published lesson open might prove more beneficial than I can initially imagine.