Consumption to Curation to Creation – That One Thing
That One Thing, that one thing you do. That was the theme of our digital professional learning program this year. How did you integrate digital tools into your practice this year? What was that one thing you could do with any of our digital resources to facilitate students investigating authentic problems or situations, creating innovative products, demonstrating what they know and are able to do, collaborating inside and out of the classroom, communicating in real time, or even steamlining your workflow? What was that one thing for you? Where do you find yourself in the process of technology integration?
It’s a normal part of the technology integration process to begin with using your digital resources for consumption. It’s convenient. We have a tool right in our hands, the iPad, and we don’t have to wait to logon: email, reading, research at the tip of our fingers. This is an important part of the adoption process, because it gives us the opportunity to become more proficient with the device.
What’s next? Curating materials is the next step. Curating is the process of gathering materials and resources and sifting through them to find the most meaningful ones and incorporate them in an organized manner. Our filing cabinets are physical representations of this concept. Having a digital tool at our fingertips opens the door to an unimaginable world of resources that would burst that filing cabinet. Explore what’s out there!
There comes a time when we need to create our own materials for instruction. Again, our filing cabinets are filled with examples of content that we have created over time to meet our instructional needs. Our digital tools offer the opportunity to innovate what those resources look like. Sometimes it takes just a bit of inspiration to see the possibilities. Where do we find that inspiration? We find that by observing our peers and collaborating with them. We find that by exploring what other educators are sharing with us online.
This really isn’t a linear path into digital teaching and learning. I see this as a circular process of consuming, curating, creating and back to consuming. This is a constructive practice woven in and throughout the Technology Integration Matrix and the SAMR model of technology integration. When we move from our entry into technology integration to adoption, adaptation, and transformation, we revisit the stages of consumption, curation and creation as we refine our art and practice.
Where were you this year regarding your content and use of materials? What was That One Thing you did this year? Next week will bring a look at the Technology Integration Matrix and reflect on where we are in the Matrix.
Have you seen those illustrations depicting various concepts in journals, magazines or online? Those are Sketchnotes! While some might call these doodles, they are really so much more. A sketchnote is a visual representation of a topic that requires listening and synthesis of information.
What is the process? One description calls the process “circular breathing”: listening, synthesizing and visualizing (Berman). It’s about transforming what you hear into a visual piece of communication, structuring that understanding, giving a hierarchy to the concepts and synthesizing the information. It’s an individual, personal experience that isn’t about being an artist.
What do I need? Most avid sketchnoters agree that there are certain elements of a sketchnote: text, containers (shapes), connectors (lines and arrows), and icons (stick people, smileys, etc.). As you become more comfortable, try adding shading and color. Of course, you’ll need a medium. Blank paper and a comfortable writing utensil are the best places to start. Is there an app for that? Of course! Pair a stylus with an app like Notability, Penultimate, Paper by 53, Inkflow, Procreate, Sketchbook Express, or Autodesk Sketchbook. Digital or paper, it’s really about what is most comfortable for the user.
Why sketchnote at all? Sketchnoting is personal and expressive experience which encourages the note-taker to interact with the material in new and different ways. The note-taker is engaged, making connections to the material and “adding some joy” to their notes (Irgens). Research has found that as a learning strategy, it can help learners “organize and integrate their knowledge and ultimately be transformative.” It can also provide “teachers with windows into students’ thinking” as well as being a means for peers to “share knowledge, discovery and understanding” (Davis).
What can I do now? Start with me! This is an area of growth for me, one that I’m diving into and cultivating. Take it easy and try some templates like these from “Complete The Doodle” Challenge or join me in 50 Days of Sketches promoting a growth mindset with educators. Follow the hashtag #Sketch50 on twitter to see what others are sharing.
What can I do next week? Want to try bringing this into your classroom? Start by allowing students to sketchnote as they take notes in class. Encourage them to share or present their notes. Students are often really proud of these notes! Check out this Social Studies example or include students in the 50 Days of Sketches challenge.
What can I do next month? Assign sketchnotes to your class. Have students share their notes in an LMS forum, using the Remind app, posting in Schoology, or uploading to a class Padlet. Did your students use pen and paper instead of an app? No problem! Have them take a picture and upload their sketchnote from the camera.
Some additional thoughts on sketchnoting. This is a brief introduction to sketchnoting. There are books, websites, podcasts and YouTube playlists devoted to this. This is about trying something different and engaging using digital tools or a combination of traditional and digital. There are sketchnoters that have turned this into a hobby and have preferences regarding type of paper, brand of pens, apps and stylus. Don’t let them keep you from trying! If you’re ready for more, explore some of the sites and videos linked here for more information.
*We have these apps available in our App Catalog/
A few of my favorite Sketchnote links:
It’s time for parent-teacher conferences! In the coming days, encourage your students to attend conferences and include them in the conversation. This is a time to build positive relationships with parents and your students.
Plan your upcoming conversations: how will you welcome parents, how will you highlight student’s work, which effective strategies for classroom success will you share, what kinds of action plans might you need, how will you close the conversation, how will you keep the lines of communication open.
Your laptop, desktop, iPad are tools to support these conversations. They can demonstrate student work through online submissions, portfolio contributions, and even pictures. They provide on the spot access to IC, ALEC and other online resources.
Know your grade book and how to maximize its use during conferences on an iPad: showing only one student at a time, coloring grades, emailing an update during conferences. Will you be using a laptop? Visit our Google Drive folder on IC for additional tips.
Find out, do your parents know how to access IC, ALEC or whatever online platform you’re using. Show them how if they don’t. Our Google Drive folder has directions for parents. Download and send them to parents. Do they have questions about the 1:1 Program? Direct them to our parent web page or have them contact me: email@example.com.
Explore my Scoop.iT! for articles on tips for teachers and parent-teacher conferences: http://www.scoop.it/t/parent-teacher-conferences-by-susan-murray-carrico
Students are absent, maybe 1 or 2, maybe a large number. Managing 1 or 2 students absent is one thing, managing a higher percentage can be something different. Perhaps it’s a field trip, perhaps it’s widespread illness, perhaps it’s the weather or perhaps it’s testing; whatever the reason, we all want to make the most of our class time and stay on course. How do you make this class time valuable for students present without the others missing out? Let’s explore some digital options!
Need some additional ideas? Try these sites:
We have access to amazing digital tools in our building. Those tools are here to support learning, to support the instruction that is happening throughout the building, not to replace it. These tools can streamline workflows, organize materials, ease communication, allow for more one-on-one time, differentiate product and instruction, and more. Translating our instruction into those tools, what that looks like for some skills, can be confusing. Notetaking is one of those skills.
Notetaking is essential in many of our classes, but research seems to say that digital notetaking doesn’t lead to retention of material. So what does a digital school do?
A closer look at the research shows that when notes are taken with a keyboard, students tend to retain less than when notes are handwritten (Mueller). Students tend to be more concerned with getting material recorded than engaging with the material. Still, there are those that argue that typing frees us and provides us more time to think (Chemin), but we’re assuming that the receiver is actively engaged with the material.
What can we do, as a digital school, to ensure that our students are really interacting with the material they’re noting? There are strategies that can maximize the tools available as well as notetaking skills, engagement and retention.
Quizlet IS a flashcard site, yes, but so much more! It’s cross-platform, that means that students can work on their iPads, their iPhones, their Android phones and desktops. Create your own card sets, search for set already created, search for a set from your course materials, or have you students create sets as part of their own review and practice.
It’s not just flashcards, either. There are a number of games students can play as part of their practice (the desktop version has more options than the mobile versions). The “Learn” activity is my favorite for spelling reinforcement. Targeted spelling feedback lets students know where their errors are. When students are having a difficult time with terms, adaptive training helps them focus on those items. You can even have the cards “read” to your students.
Create a class and track student progress when students “join” your class. Go a step further and embedded sets into ALEC, Schoology and other sites. Have students take notes by creating cards for key points. Use the Quizlet Live feature for a collaborative race to learn the material.
Use this as an assessment tool and let Quizlet create quizzes for you! Multiple choice, matching, true/false, Quizlet will create the quiz and let you proofread it before you print. Are you interested in going paperless? Save the PDF version of the quiz and upload it to Showbie*.
*For quizzing situations like this, I would recommend requiring the students to complete the quiz in Showbie and not allow them to open it and complete in Notability. Students are able to expand the PDF in Showbie for easier writing. When the quiz is over, lock it so students can’t share it with others.
As teachers, we have a responsibility to model and guide students as they dive into the online waters. That may spark the question: who is guiding us? Yes, the online world is fast-paced and we may feel like it is zooming past us, but you aren’t on your own. Last year we started offering Digital Citizenship workshop sessions. This year we’re doing that, adding monthly information in this newsletter, piloting a District Digital Citizenship course for staff and offering optional mini-workshops in March and April. We’re reaching out and hopefully catching you in a manner that best meets your schedule.
There are two main resources our building and District reference regarding Digital Citizenship: ISTE and Common Sense Media. Our freshmen are working through portions of the Common Sense Media resources in their Computer Apps courses. I encourage you to explore these resources as time allows. For them moment, I would like to share some “Teachable Moments” from ISTE’s resources as a what can I do in my classroom now piece.
You'll find this complete resource and the ASD20 poster that details these teachable moments based on ISTE's Essential Elements of Digital Citizenship.
Digital Learning Best Practices. That’s a pretty broad topic and can revolve around many aspects of the digital learning environment like teaching, materials, infrastructure, and professional development. For teachers, the focus should be on what do we want students to know and be able to do and how do digital tools help facilitate that. The tools we use exist to support us in instruction and are not the end in themselves. Still, this is a new path for many of us and the question may remain, what are digital learning best practices?
When considering digital teaching and learning best practices, you might want to ask:
There is a digital solution to meet your needs, have you discovered it?
See the “Digital Tool Checklist” in our Google Drive folder for guidance in choosing a tool.
Remember, if you’re using a tool that requires students to create an account (even if it’s free), please follow student privacy guidelines. This applies to clubs and sports, too.
Creativity in the classroom. We want to see that happen, but sometimes it may feel like curricular benchmarks don’t allow the time for that. Sometimes we may think we need to be creative or that creativity itself needs to be taught. Creativity is one of the 4 C’s, the four skills determined as most important to prepare students for our global society by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and the NEA. It’s a part of our Vision for Digital Learning. That doesn’t mean that we need to be the creative masterminds; we merely need to allow the opportunity and use of the tools which bring out the creativity in our students.
Sir Ken Robinson takes the position that we “teach for creativity.” He says that “the minute you get people to think visually—to draw pictures or move rather than sit and write bullet points—something different happens in the room. Breaking them up so they aren't sitting at the same desk and getting them to work with people they wouldn't normally sit with creates a different type of dynamic” (Azzam). He proposes that we encourage experimentation and innovation, that we don’t provide the answers, but rather provide our students with the tools to investigate and demonstrate their learning.
We have digital tools in our classrooms, in our hands, to help reimagine learning experiences. These tools are the perfect facilitators for encouraging creation, collaboration, innovation and the means for demonstrating understanding.
The digital world is a fast-paced world that our students often navigate more fluidly than we do. How do we keep up with our students and what they’re exploring while protecting ourselves? Here are some ideas:
Susan Murray-Carrico is a Digital Learning Coach in Colorado Springs, CO. An Apple Teacher and Microsoft Innovative Educator, Susan's goal is to assist educators in embedding digital tools into their practice to facilitate their own craftsmanship. She spends her free time with her family, her dogs and a good cup of coffee.