Student TED Talks, sound sculptures and a funk band

Student exhibitions of project-based learning

student TED talksAt this point we all know how important it is for students to share project-based learning with an authentic audience. It shows students they have power in the world, and that their research really makes a difference. But how best to design an exhibition that empowers students and provides a compelling, informative experience for the community?

Cabot High School did it by hosting an evening that combined student TED Talks, interactive sound sculptures and a high school funk band.

It. Was. Glorious.

In this episode of our podcast, we take you to Cabot High School’s FLOW event, where you’ll hear what it was like to connect with their community around water conservation PBL.

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Beyond the audience of one

Why digital composition matters

why digital composition mattersI’d like you to think back to your days as a student. What kinds of writing did you do? Who read it? What made it important to you? And what made it important to the world?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably drawing a blank right now. Some of today’s students, though, can clearly articulate just how and why their writing is important. And we don’t mean writing as you might imagine, but rather digital composition:  digital stories, digital portfolios, documentary films, and of course, podcasts. For each of these, there is a real audience, one beyond the more typical audience of one, the teacher.

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Culminating Events for Project-Based Learning

Honor scholars with an authentic audience for their work

culminating events for project-based learningThe culminating event! It’s the lovely finish line of a Project-Based learning unit. The big event. You’ve been planning for months for this event that celebrates the projects and the learning in an authentic, community based forum. All along, it’s been a strong motivator for scholars, grounding the relevant work they’ve been doing.

So. What does it look like to pull off a memorable and meaningful culminating event for project-based learning?

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3 types of videos for showcasing content areas

Structures & examples for student filmmakers

videos to showcase content area learningMany students love working with video. Students can create videos for any subject to show specifically what they’re learning, how they spend their time and to demonstrate proficiency. But it’s not always obvious how you, as an educator, can help students see the connection to  specific content areas.

Let’s take a look at some examples and think through how to scaffold students in sharing their work.

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Use Thinglink to explore identity

Creating and sharing digital selves

identityI’m participating in Thinglink’s Summer VR Challenge, and the first exercise in the challenge is to design your Digital Self, a visual representation of yourself with embedded links to things you feel are important people know about you.

A key component of the exercise is to share your Digital Self with your PLN. But I warn you: you’re not ready for this jelly.

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How mobile devices can enhance field trips

Deepen place-based learning and boost emotional engagement

ubiquitous learningHaving signed the permission slips, helped raise money, converted US dollars to Canadian, and reviewed the itinerary multiple times, I attended an information night for my daughters’ end-of-year field trip: a 3-day adventure in Quebec City. I learned (among other things) how to be certain if mobile devices made their way across the border, how to turn off data plans to avoid being charged outrageous fees. I thank the organizers tremendously for reminding us about this issue.

What I didn’t hear though was how mobile devices might be used to enhance learning on this trip.The power of these devices in students’ hands while they explore seems too powerful to pass up.

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Q is for QR codes

QR codes unlock learning anywhere

QR codes unlock learning anywhereThese simple workhorses of technology — ink and blank spaces on a screen or page — can be incredibly powerful in making learning an anytime, anywhere endeavor, and turning the world into a classroom.

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H is for Hangout

What can educators do with Google Hangout?

What can educators do with Google HangoutMuch like being friends on social media, physical proximity has little to do connecting people with other people. Google Hangouts has successfully made communication between individuals or groups and accessing information a bit easier and some may save they even have shrunk the world.

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4 amazing things afoot at The Cabot School

The Cabot SchoolSo many schools in Vermont are engaged in innovative, student-centered, tech-rich education work.We’re proud to partner with The Cabot School for just this reason.

Their students write the school’s website updates. They’ve been featured twice on VPR this past year. They win national awards for their recyclable, energy-efficient musical production, and their educators are Rowland Fellows building a ground-breaking new project-based learning app.

Check out what’s happening at school in Cabot, Vermont.

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Hack your classroom: flexible physical learning environments

Flexible learning environments have a physical component — and effect

responsive physical learning environments

CC BY 2.0: “Old school desk” by flickr user SandtoGlass, cropped. Original image here: https://www.flickr.com/ photos/ericabreetoe/ 7371020342/

Do you recognize the object at left?

Does it look like a comfortable learning environment for a student? Does it look like the type of learning environment a student would choose for themselves?

OF COURSE NOT, and because you are all such passionate and committed educators, you started shaking your heads the minute the image loaded. You’ve worked hard at banishing these ancient things from your rooms.

But here are some ways educators can make their physical classroom settings more flexible and responsive to student learning needs.

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