Using student TED Talks to showcase learning

why digital composition mattersTED Talks are short, personal powerful storytelling. Now: how can students use this medium as motivation to learn, to explore their purpose, extend their perspectives and understandings, and develop strong storytelling and presentation skills?

Let’s find out.

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How to save, edit and share video clips

Part 1: Finding and editing great videos with your students

how to save, edit and share video clipsFlipping your classroom? Found a great video about 18th century French military history that’s far too long for your students to stay focused on? Looking for great videos to share with students but stymied as to where to even start?

Worried that editing videos takes too much time and technical knowhow? Or possibly a different platform than the one you’re reading this blog entry on?

Let’s jam econo, y’all.

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In support of Community Partnerships in STEM

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonHere in Vermont we’re lucky to have a strong sense of community spirit. Co-ops, partnerships, collectives; these concepts run through many different parts of our lives. We also happen to live in a state with a rich and developing science and technology start-up scene. These two parts of our culture can combine to grow partnerships between schools, teachers, students, and businesses. These partnerships can result in rich and authentic learning experiences, where all the parties involved benefit. Continue reading

Breaking Down the Next Generation Science Standards

Let’s talk about the Next Generation Science Standards for a little bit. There continues to be a lot of talk about standards and adoption, and it can be difficult when there may be different messages coming from different sources. 2013-2014 hopefully gave science teachers a chance to get exposed to NGSS and try some things out.

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Digital credentials, quests and middle school math

Because 102 years of Girl Scouts can’t be wrong

New this morning on the blog, Harwood Union Middle School math educator Lisa Therrien discusses how she and her students are using the Badgestack platform to use digital badges, quests and differentiation to turn traditional math teaching on its head.

Badgestack is an online tool that’s now available free as a series of WordPress plugins.

Congratulations to all of Vermont’s amazing graduates!

So many graduations to be excited about this week!

Congratulations to the 8th graders transitioning from Cabot’s middle school to high school! Congratulations to Winooski’s graduating kindergarten class! Congratulations to PAML students who are stepping up this morning! Congratulations to Burlington High School class of 2014! Congratulations to Milton Middle School 8th graders, who graduated on Wednesday, and to the Milton HS class of 2014, who graduate tomorrow. Congratulations to Lyman C. Hunt Middle School’s 8th grade class, and congratulations to South Burlington High School’s class of 2014!

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How to: showcase community interviews with digital tools

Meet the digital anthropologists of Cabot, Vermont

In fulfillment of their project-based learning research this past spring, this pair of middle school students decided to learn more about different regions of the U.S. by interviewing members of their small, rural Vermont town who had lived in those communities. They took the resulting interviews and embedded them in this Thinglink:

We recently had a chance to sit down with these students and get them to share how they pulled this amazing project together.

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Essays on Rube Goldberg: capturing the scientific process with iPads


A tale of how physics can be successfully essayed on.

How one class of 8th grade scientists at Harwood Union Middle School used Google Docs, Schoology, and iPads to capture long-form essays about Rube Goldberg. Featuring everyone’s favorite tech-tastic science educator, Brian Wagner. As HUMS principal Amy Rex commented, “Exemplar teaching and learning — narrow the field and provide rapid feedback :)”

Posted on by | Video | 5 Comments if ( ! function_exists( 'mistylake_posted_on' ) ) : /** * Integrate Co-Authors Plus with MistyLake by replacing mistylake_posted_on() with this function */ function mistylake_posted_on() { if ( function_exists( 'coauthors_posts_links' ) ) : printf( __( 'Posted on %2$s by %3$s', 'mistylake' ), 'meta-prep meta-prep-author', sprintf( '', get_permalink(), esc_attr( get_the_time() ), get_the_date() ), coauthors_posts_links( null, null, null, null, false ) ); else: printf( __( 'Posted on %2$s by %3$s', 'mistylake' ), 'meta-prep meta-prep-author', sprintf( '', get_permalink(), esc_attr( get_the_time() ), get_the_date() ), sprintf( '%3$s', get_author_posts_url( get_the_author_meta( 'ID' ) ), esc_attr( sprintf( __( 'View all posts by %s', 'mistylake' ), get_the_author() ) ), get_the_author() ) ); endif; } endif;

Jumpstart STEM badging with DIY

Here’s a great way to dip your toes in the digital credentialing waters:

What Is It?

Geared for kids 8 and up, features dozens of digital badges heavily geared towards doing and making. To earn a badge, students choose to complete 2 or 3 challenges from an array of 7 or 8, and get credit for their learning by sharing the result with everyone on the site. Other users can then like and comment the shared artifacts. There’s a high degree of support, camaraderie and cheering that occurs in comments, with users all in the same skill area remixing and resharing what others have previously created, and being quick to ask for help. It’s an outstanding example of students showing digital citizenship savvy, maybe because part of the site’s Community Guidelines include a guide to “Being Awesome”. (Hint: it involves the phrase “Don’t be a jerk” 🙂

Why Is It Awesome?

A selection of STEM-oriented DIY badgesThe site also features guides for parents to get and stay involved in their students’ growing skill-set, without doing the embarrassing hovering thing (oy), and there’s a section with suggestions for how educators can integrate activities into the classroom. DIY is partnering with the National Writing Foundation and Mozilla to publish a guide to aligning various badges with Common Core Standards, and as an educator, you can sign up to get notified of new lesson plans.

With so many of the skills and challenges having both an easy entrypoint and a clear focus on getting students to use their time outside the classroom for individualized learning, this site might be perfect for educators looking at flipped classrooms and/or personalized learning plans. While we’re huge fans of Mozilla’s Open Badges and Learning Times’ BadgeOS, both those systems require some educator overhead in terms of setup and implementation — this is a turnkey system, requiring only that students register for an account. And yes, like almost everything else out there online, students under 13 need parent approval for their accounts.

It also comes in iOS flavor, for all your 1:1, BYOD or general running around needs.

Anyone using this site in their classroom?

Who cares about copyright?

As you can see from the video below, users care, creators care, this class of 6th graders from Hunt Middle School cares, and they’ll tell you why you should care too. A big thank you to Kathy Hevey and her students for being willing to share their work.

We promise to cite you appropriately, every single time.

Kids Talk About Copyright

A great reminder about respecting copyright while remixing source materials in the classroom. This video was originally created in partnership with local public access station RETN.