Using video tools in the classroom doesn't have to equate to a full-scale movie production. Video tools give students voice and allow them to demonstrate what they know. You don't have to be an expert in the tool, you don't need to develop a full-scale production rubric; just let the students turn on the tool and let them show you what they know. Students use their own voice, in their own words. Here are some examples:
Have your students submit their work through Google Drive or Showbie and enjoy experiencing what your students have learned!
Click here for my post on how to make using iMovie easier.
Digital tools are intended to support the teaching and learning that is happening in the classroom.
They are tools, that’s all. They don’t replace the teacher or bring some magical force into the classroom. They definitely don’t mean more than the relationship the teacher has with their students. That relationship is one of the most crucial factors affecting student achievement. They do have a place in instruction and that place isn’t the backpack nor is it in front of their faces for the entire class period. That place lives in a balance weighed between the learning targets and how we can best help students find their way to those targets.
Technology does come with negatives. That’s why planning, preparation, and intentional use are so important. That intentional use provides many positives, too! Here are some examples of what tech can do:
There is a learning curve when searching for that balance. It’s about understanding how the various digital tools function and what you can do with them. Taking notes, reading and submitting work are just a few examples of what might look different using a digital device. You may need to reach out for some help and even accept that your students might be able to teach you. That’s OK. Find what works for you.
Some ideas to consider:
We can’t hide from technology, it isn’t going away. Let’s harness the good and work towards teaching our students how to use the devices that surround them in meaningful ways. Let’s work together!
The start of a new semester is the perfect time to review, reinforce, practice and even establish your classroom norms. Embedding digital tools into your procedures and norms is essential daily practice, but even more vital at the beginning of a course or semester. Our students may be older than some, but don’t assume that appropriate digital use is a natural practice for them. Our digital tools are tools meant to support classroom instruction. Understanding that isn’t innate. Our students are still kids, they still need direction, the still need guidance.
Digital tips for the start of the semester:
We all feel the need for this break! As it turns out, this break is essential for teachers to recharge and be fully prepared for the next semester. Need some ideas on what to do? Want to read about the research? Check out these resources and find your best recharge practice.
I hope that your winter break is all that you need it to be!
These last weeks of the semester before winter break move so fast! There seems to be so much to do: managing grades, final exams and keeping students engaged. In addition to an extra cup of coffee or two, we can all use a few tips as we move forward toward the end of the semester.
Let’s look at some tips and suggestions gathered from the sources listed below.
Keeping students engaged:
Maintaining your own sanity:
Students feel valued when they feel safe and feel that they've been heard. It's within that environment that they are free to take risks and grow. The same is true for educators.
George Couros (The Innovator's Mindset) says, "the culture we create for our staff is also essential because it trickles down to our students... If we want educators and students to be excited to come to school each day, we have to create an environment where they feel valued. Feeling valued doesn't mean that we don't have flaws and weaknesses; it is just that we do not start from that point."
At Pine Creek High School we have collaborative teams that are engaged in team building and collaborative work to develop that environment. This isn't a box to be checked, but an ongoing process supported by Learning Leaders, Instructional Coaches, Department Chairs, and Administration. The process in which we are engaged is an exciting one. The path may not be straight, but it has direction and support. For this I am thankful and I am excited for what we can achieve.
Click here for more on student voice.
Click here for more on taking risks.
The week before a break can be a tough time in the classroom. Depending on student focus and attendance is a risk. Why not try something different to keep students engaged and provide opportunities for those taking their vacation early?
Here are some tools that give students voice including some digital resources that can also provide opportunity for absent students to be involved:
Interested in more information on incorporating student voice? Check out the November 6 newsletter for more information and ideas.
Student Voice is a powerful tool to increase student engagement. We see the benefits when students are engaged: they “demonstrate internal motivation, self efficacy, and a desire for mastery” (Guthrie qtd in Davis). This is key to personalized learning and the Future Ready framework.
Allowing for Student Voice is scary for both student and teacher. We begin constructing a “journey of us.” This co-constructing of knowledge isn’t easy or comfortable. It might mean sometimes saying “I don’t know” (Alber). Better yet, it could lead to us saying, “let’s find out together.”
How do we frame this co-construction of knowledge? Here are some ideas adapted and modified from Alber, McCarthy and myself:
What tools are available to facilitate this?
This isn’t an easy part of the journey. It’s messy and can be unpredictable, but the results are worth it!
As a language teacher, I always understood that it took a certain amount of vulnerability to begin to speak in the classroom: you had to create sounds that you may never had made before and you sounded funny, what would others think? It was an intentional regular practice to establish an environment where it was acceptable that we were all learning, all trying, and consistently working on improving and it was OK to speak. It often helped that I was usually the first to do or say something awkward (most of the time intentional). It was a practice that didn’t end during the first week of school, but one that became an integral component of my planning. Speaking is a natural part of language instruction, so I was creating a pallet where that could happen.
Speaking a different language was a risk, but it’s in taking risks that new skills and problem-solving abilities are developed (“Risk-taking”). It requires letting go of your comfort zone and guiding students into letting go of theirs. It necessitates an environment where it’s OK to fail and it’s understood that failure is a part of learning. Student need to understand “that making mistakes is a necessary part of learning” and “that embracing failure and overcoming fear are both a part of living well and learning even better” (Crockett). It’s the environment that we create which allows this to happen. That positive environment provides a pivotal role in learning, creates a sense of belonging, a community, increased participation and building confidence (Coaty). The result is that “students can learn and flourish in this environment because they feel empowered to take risks by expressing their unique insights and disagreeing with others’ point of view” (Gayle et al).
Here are some suggestions adapted and modified from Starr Sackstein’s article:
“Kids need to understand that innovation can only happen when we move away from what has already been learned and done and with some creativity and courage, we make really make meaningful change together.” Sackstein
What are the 4 essential questions in the collaborative team process?
Digital learning is embedded within each of the questions. It supports the learning process, provides the data, and gives means to the learning.
As we look at the standards and plan what we want our students to know and be able to do, digital resources like Nearpod provide means of engagement and interest in the lessons. Resources like Flipgrid and Padlet provide student voice. Resources like Explain Everything and Book Creator allow students demonstrate their learning. Resources like Showbie allow students to differentiate the format of their answers on everyday work. Resources like those that GSuite provides allow students to work collaboratively on a variety of products, share their products in teams and with the teacher. There are so many resources available for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do!
How will you know if they’ve learned it? Nearpod provides on the spot feedback on how students are understanding the material during instruction. Kahoot, Socrative and Zipgrade provide immediate formative feedback. For performance assessments, Google Slides, Keynote, PowerPoint, Explain Everything, iMovie, Book Creator and Padlet are student-friendly tools that allow for students to demonstrate their understanding in more creative, individualized ways.
What will you do if they didn’t learn the material? In the secondary world, there are deadlines: learning outcomes by specific times. How is this addressed without falling behind? Digital resources provide a different means to address this. iMovie, EdPuzzle, Blendspace, are a few means to provide supplementary instruction. ZipGrade and Socrative provide easy means to re-assess students. The LMS of your choice provides a place to house those supportive resources.
What will I do if they do know the material? This is the time for students to lend their voice and choice to demonstrate that learning! Have your students create the learning experiences by choosing a tool or combination of tools to explain what they know.
It’s all about the right tool for the learning experience. Sometimes it’s print, sometimes it’s digital, sometimes it might even be the student’s choice.
I am a Digital Learning Coach by title, but lifelong learner by practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating, exploring, and investigating resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.