You’ve diligently trained your device on the action as some truly amazing work has gone down in your school. You’re excited to have a video you can share with families, with the school board and add to your PLP portfolio.
Cornwall students think global, build local, share both
Last year the most amazing thing happened: my students at the Cornwall School designed and built a playground. They dreamed, planned, proposed, revised, fundraised — deep breath — organized, built and managed.
But then they taught themselves how to share their story: with social media, and with a whole world of educators, so that other students might have the same experience.
Meet machinima. The word’s a portmanteau of “machine” and “cinema”. It’s a unique form of storytelling that appears in video games, and students creating or mixing clips of video games to create new stories. And for educators, it presents a fabulous opportunity to channel students’ love of video games into producing personally relevant artifacts that demonstrate learning.
I’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.
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
Twitter’s not just a great way to build your PLN as an educator, it’s also a powerful tool to connect students with the world around them in very unique ways. But how can you make those connections authentic learning experiences?
Let’s look at making the most of twitter in your classroom.
When was the last time you saw your district superintendent leap over a bear trap?
No, school board meetings don’t count; that’s standard and part of the price of admission. But last week, 3rd grade students at Richmond Elementary School got to see Chittenden East Supervisory Union superintendent John Alberghini (that’s him over there in the tweet to the left), along with his sisters Debbie and Gina, brave an old and rusty bear trap left in the woods.
Now, I wasn’t there for the storytelling, but thanks to Tonya Darby’s tweet, I was alerted to what I think we can all agree were some epic shenanigans in the name of learning.
Chatterpix is a free iOS app that allows you to put tiny mouths on your photos and give them silly voices. I am not making any of this up. Here’s one of a crab explaining facts about crustaceans:
Cool things about Chatterpix:
Easy to use: choose a photo, draw a line for the mouth and record the message. Boom! Done.
You don’t need to create an account to use it
You’re limited to 30 seconds of audio, thus focusing students on the essential elements of storytelling.
There are so many ways you could use this in an educational setting:
have students animate a favorite photo of themselves with messages for a virtual exhibition — great for students with social anxiety issues around presenting;
record the morning school announcements;
create a map of a country and give each state it’s own voice;
have students record bios of famous historical figures (HT Matt Bergman)
“Bios” could actually be recorded for just about anything that will hold still long enough: moss, trees, VW Vanagons, abacuses, graham crackers, more moss, just of a different kind. There’s something about the ability to give silly voices (along with glasses, top hats, scarves and electric guitars) to items and get into the storytelling groove that’s incredibly appealing.
In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that if I’d gotten to write dialogues for animated chemistry molecules, I’d’ve passed Chem on the first try:
As an educator, you could also record yourself giving instructions for a lesson; modeling that bio of a famous historical figure; create a map of a significant place in a book your class is reading and APP-SMASH: photos + Chatterpix + other photos + Thinglink = APP-SMASH! YES!
Or you could just record dogs talking about which strand they’re taking at this year’s Code Camp:
What could you do with Chatterpix and your students?
Sylvia Duckworth, an elementary grades French teacher in Canada, created Mother’s Day video cards by taking screenshots with HaikuDeck, then importing those into iMovie to add voice and music. The result, you’ll agree, is simply smashing*!
2. Cultural anthropology
A group of students at the Cabot School in Vermont tackled a cultural anthropology project by using iPhones to record audio interviews they did with community members, editing the audio in GarageBand, then embedding the results in a map with Thinglink. Smash!
3. Show your work: demonstrate your solution to the problem
We were tasked with picking a problem, brainstorming 100 possible solutions for how music could help solve it (on a shared Google doc) and then selecting 2 or 3 to create a novel solution. We were given 1-minute to present the problem and solution. Since we were working with middle level students, we wanted to defer to what they liked about the 100 possibilities. The two profiled by the Tellagamis are the top two selected.
Google Docs + Tellagamis + iMovie. A novel approach to the assignment, which, after all, is what app-smashing is all about.
What are some ways you’ve used app-smashing in your classroom?
*I’m actually obligated by law to make that pun at least once during this blogpost. True story.