In case you’re just tuning in, podcasts are having something of a renaissance. People are finding themselves on treadmills or trapped in cars on their commutes back and forth to work and soccer practice or just out for a long walk with the dog after dinner. And in this do-more-be-more-right-now world, podcasts represent a great way to make use of that time by sneaking in a little PD.
Shouldn’t every hour be a genius hour?
Anyone paying attention to education in the US lately has seen the proliferation of the “Genius Hour.” Presumably inspired by Google’s 20% rule, through which employees of the search engine giant spend a day a week on projects of their own choosing, many schools are adopting a model described by best selling author Daniel Pink as “60 minutes to work on new ideas or master new skills.” By setting aside an hour of instructional time, schools enable students to connect, construct or create, without the constraints or distractions of business-as-usual. What could be better than that?
Music City learns a thing or two about Vermont ed tech
Half of the Tarrant Institute staff and a special guest headed to Nashville last week to present at the Association for Middle Level Education Annual Conference. We set out to share with middle grades educators from around the world the incredible, tech-rich teaching happening in Vermont schools. As we always conclude after visiting national conferences, Vermont really is on the cutting edge. Here’s a roundup of our presentations about learning management systems, authentic assessment and augmented reality.
The free suite of tools through Google Apps for Education have certainly inspired collaboration and connectivity between teachers, students, and families. Christ the King School (CKS) recently started exploring the possibilities within the GAFE domain, and not being a 1:1 school, wanted to begin with a tool that could easily be used without individual devices. They leveraged Google Calendar as a professional and classroom tool; instead of just meetings and appointments, CKS decided to use Calendar as a way to think about student organization and student/teacher/family collaboration.
One of the challenges in science is to help students make connections from concepts to their real world. This can be a particular challenge in the field of chemistry. We talk about atoms, molecules, chemical reactions… but how does that connect with the things we see every day?
Augmented reality is one way to make connections from the abstract to the real world. We’ve seen Aurasma in use in the science classroom before. This free app allows students to create content that becomes an overlay on the actual item. The “aura” is triggered through image recognition. Students can overlay videos, web content, or images on their trigger images. Allowing video and web content means that Aurasma is a great candidate for “app smashing.”
Move to implement PLPs reflected at two local conferences for educators
As Vermont moves to implement Act 77, Flexible pathways to secondary education completion (pdf) there ‘s a lot of discussion on the best way to implement personalized learning plans, or PLPs.
Luckily, some schools are already diving right in.
Give book characters a voice in reviews
A great way to bring book covers to life with augmented reality is through the AR app Aurasma. But for some students who are shy about actually appearing in videos for book reviews or trailers can app-smash the Chatterpix app to give voice to their favorite characters from books.
It’s a great way for students to think about elements of storytelling such as point-of-view, summation, showing vs. telling
Besides, it’s just fun!
There’s something about a quiet school filled with educators working together that makes me feel like anything is possible. So I can say without a trace of sarcasm that I read through the agenda for the Washington West Supervisory Union’s Inservice on October 14th with interest. When I read that the focus of the day was to “highlight technology-inspired innovative educational practices taking place in WWSU schools and beyond,” I was already sold.
But we all know what happens to the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…
Green screen fun: embed yourself in a book cover
You know this would rock! And be time-effective for getting a bunch of different students’ opinions embedded in your newest library display.
Absolutely doable. App-smash Touchcast with Aurasma and boom! Hear from actual, real-live people made tiny in book covers.
Let’s do this!
Be your own Hero
Ibson challenged his students to write their own “hero’s journeys” using the iBooks Author software. By taking ownership of the Hero’s Journey narrative, students are encouraged to create e-books that place them in the hero’s role. The resulting e-books will have a chance to be housed in an elementary school library, and read out by librarians to younger students.
Check out these amazing iBook Authors at Harwood Union Middle School, in Moretown Vermont.