connecting educators & enhancing learning
I agree that it may be most helpful to include learner choice on when and where they choose to work. Many students would be more likely to engage in extension activities if lessons were designed from the flipped room perspective. Having screen casts to review for all learners is a good thing. Extra time and support have long been the mantra teachers who work with struggling students often recite. And, all these things could be accomplished through the effective employment of technology. True, it would take a commitment from students to learn a new approach to learning, but it could happen for those students during the other 16 hours they are not at school. Collaboration could be accomplished through Google docs, Twitter, or a host of other ways to include great face to face classes that extend the learning in a more social way.
I have also learned that it is beneficial for students to break up traditional F2F with technology. I think that a combination of the two makes for a good learning environment for students. I really enjoy working with Google Docs as well, it is a great way to collaborate with your peers online. It is nice that multiple people can work together and create a document and see who has edited which parts, and also chat with your group members if they are online at the same time as you. Students can gain a lot of good experience working with their classmates F2F in the classroom and then collaborating with them later online as well.
I have recently worked for a bit collaboratively with others in creating some Docs in Google and have found that "editing" them is a little frustrating. It seems if you select something and start typing, you may delete words you didn't intend. In other words, for some reason, you have to click your curser a couple of spaces forward or bak to edit a particular word.
I also had trouble editing documents in Google Docs until I discovered Google Crome. When using Google Chrome, the editing is much easier and doesn't delete unexpectently and you can manuver the document without errors.
I already use several of the technologies included in the lecture such as wikis, online polls, a SmartBoard, VoiceThread, and have attempted to use student blogs (classblogmeister.com didn’t turn out to be what I hoped, and was seriously lacking in the customer support department, but I plan on trying kidblog later in the year for my 3rd and 4th graders.
My most significant take-away from the lecture and from the links below it is the use of VoiceThread to collaborate and connect with students in other schools. I’m already using VoiceThread, and am in the middle of a project where 4th graders created something similar to a book talk. They each recorded audio about a book they read, including the character’s challenge(s), how they triumphed, and how the student can relate to those challenges. The recording (on VoiceThread) plays while an illustration/visual advertisement of the book, created by the student, shows. Once students are done recording, I plan to have them listen to each other’s book talks and post comments to each other such as if they think they’d be likely to read the book based on the classmate’s review, a question about the book (which will be answered by the original student commenting back), how they can relate to the challenge(s) the character in the book faced, and so on. During this lecture, the idea was sparked that I might be able to find another 4th grade class (at a different school…even a different state) that would be willing and able to use VoiceThread to post their own comments about my 4th graders’ book talks – the same types of comments I had my students do within the class. The other class could even create their own book talks for MY students to comment and reflect on. Something like this would be incredibly meaningful, because not only would students be learning skills in comprehending literature, sharing their understandings, reflections, and text-to-self connections, and reflecting on the reflections of others, but they would also be learning and experiencing firsthand the appropriate use of technology as a tool for communicating important information to a diverse audience, bridging geographical boundaries, persuading others to make a decision, using information to make one’s own decisions (including seeking and providing further information from/to peers), and for combining written, oral, and artistic expression for a purpose. The deal was sealed when I followed the link underneath the lecture to the VoiceThread 4 Education Wiki. At the top of the wiki, it said: “Looking for a classroom partner for VoiceThread projects?” On the wiki were ideas and examples divided by grade level, and a place to connect with other classrooms using VoiceThread.
What a meaningful experience for them to have! I must say that I struggled with using VoiceThread in CEP 810. Now that I know how truly meaningful it can be for students, and for peer to peer feedback, I might have to play around with it some more to find out where I can start using it.
I need to look into VoiceThread.
It is so much fun! I used it to share phtos with my family after traveling on holiday. . .they had a far greater time viewing some photos with commentary as opposed to simply viewing them flat (flipping photo after photo). Voice thread is certainly a great tool for the classroom, wonderful for presentations (such as Powerpoint). :)
Wow- I loved your idea about students recording their voices doing a book talk. I am always looking for ways for my students to be engaged in reading and especially in new books. I tried doing a book talk each month at the beginning of the year but time goes on any other reading opportunities come up. I have also used voicethread for a handful of projects. I had my 4th graders create a homophone book. We just created comics to work on dialogue and then scanned them in and students used expression to record their voices reading the comics.
I would love to hear how your book talks when and if you were able to share them with another 4th grade classroom. I hope to try this by the end of the year.