Deliver the goods!
Rather than creating a unit on the Civil War, imagine working with an individual student or small group on a topic that fully engages them, but might be something you know little about. First we looked at how to find resources in multiple formats, to meet students’ different learning needs and preferences.
Now, how do we deliver those materials in a way that responds to students’ needs and also gives them some choice in how, when, and where they learn?
The art of the responsible remix
With the incredible popularity and ease of digital mediamaking comes great responsibility. As students unlock the power of digital storytelling and media creation, they seek to incorporate music, images and video into their productions.
But it’s not as simple as just hitting up the Google.
Building a differentiation & personalization toolkit
I was privileged recently to work with a number of pre-service teachers here at the University of Vermont. All were eager to gain access to tools and resources to help them respond to the variety of learners’ needs they will face in classrooms.
Using the Civil War as our (broad) topic, we developed a workflow for creating a tech-rich social studies unit responsive to different learners’ needs. And using ourselves as learners, we tested out our methods.
VR’s real world impact on students
Virtual reality is exciting and many of our students are already using this technology in gaming (as some were quick to tell me). So why aren’t we using it more in education?
Maybe we just need some ideas on how to use VR in education. So let’s start by looking at virtual reality in project-based learning (PBL).
Help students become creators of this engaging new technology
With the astronomical rise in popularity of virtual reality in education, it’s important to make available tools for students to create virtual reality content as well as consuming it. So while you get ready to send your students off on Expeditions to amazing new worlds and experiences, have ways for them to make their own waiting when they return.
Let’s look at a couple ways students can create VR content.
Lessons learned from a film festival
Every year, I watch in awe as students take ownership of their films and are challenged to exercise new skills and proficiencies: self direction, creative expression, and problem-solving. I’ve seen this assignment throw some of our most academically-capable and motivated students off-balance.
I’ve also watched many diverse groups pull together to create some powerful, beautifully-shot films.
This may be the most challenging course we offer.
What could possibly go wrong?
Remember when teaching was simply planning a lecture, shutting the door, and delivering it to students? This may have been easy for the teacher, but it certainly didn’t make for deep and relevant learning for the students. The work of developing project-based, engaging, and personalized learning is much more complex.
It’s also full of uncertainty. Let me tell you about a recent field trip I took with students.
Helping students get organized
Middle schoolers’ lives are multi-faceted, dynamic and dramatic. And while we talk about how to grow self-directed, engaged and motivated students, that growth can’t take place while students are overwhelmed and anxious about managing their daily lives.
Last time, we looked at how to organize the tech itself. Now let’s look at how to use powerful tech tools (shiny!) to help make middle school manageable.
“Where did I put that cord? My computer is dead!”
How many times have you heard this in your classroom? So much of middle school is developing systems to stay organized: “How do I get to all these classes? How do I open my locker?” And with the addition of technology: “How do I keep track of my school computer? Which Google Doc is the homework in? ”
Let’s look at 4 ways students can learn independence and grow leadership through the care and organization of technology.
Peers partner on portfolios
Students at two Vermont schools have begun working together as “Portfolio Partners” to curate evidence, reflect on their growth, and prepare to share their learning with a wider audience.
Here’s how it works.