One of the ways I challenge my students with creating content are by creating podcasts or as we call them in class, "Radio Shows." While we do not yet have a podcast channel (summer project) I do have my students use GarageBand on our school iPads to create these works of arts. You will find two examples below from my classroom. The first was a Greek Myth done by my sixth graders a few years ago.
The second audio recording is my fifth grade a few years ago. They had a menu of options of assignments to complete based on our studies of Africa. Here is their podcast on farming in Algeria.
While the audio is not the greatest in either of these, you can see that students are able create and show me understanding of the topics they chose to record on.
So next year when my students come to class, I can use these to start the Inquiry Cycle.
I am a big proponent of students using inquiry to start the learning process. Most often this step is lost because of time restraints and content requirements even though their is new research that shows students should experience the content FIRST before reading or watching a video.
How to create a Puzzle
Back in December, Tony Vincent was kind enough and gifted me the opportunity to try out his new app called Stick Around. The Stick Around App was created as a way to create puzzles for your students or give more dynamic quizzes. Something that the students had to interact with, instead of simply writing answers down on a sheet of paper. So instead of paper, students can place tags on an image, timeline, fill in a Venn Diagram, etc until all the tags are placed. If the students get the puzzle correct, then the tags turn green and a smiley face appears. If the tags are wrong, then they turn red and have a sad face. You can have the students keep going until they get them all right with no set limit of attempts, or you can limit their attempts.
Tony and the developers have done a great job with making this app very user friendly. Here is how I made my Stick Around puzzle for the Five Themes of Geography. First, let me say if you are stuck at any point in the process, Tony has great, quick videos that cover every aspect of the creation, playing, and exporting of your puzzle. Ok, to begin, you need to be on the Projects tab across the top navigation bar. Here, Tony already has some pretty sweet examples of what this powerful app can do.
To create your own puzzle, click the “+” button in the top left hand corner. You will have four choices, create a new project, add from Dropbox, add from WebDAV, or add from Google Drive. Select create new project. Here you have many different options to choose from.
For this project I chose Blank Project. You have many options when it comes to back grounds. Here are few screen shots of the options.
For me though, it’s always about images. So I search online for CC (Creative Commons) images that I can use with my students. On the side tool bar I select the “+” and choose Photo Library. You have other options depending on where your images are saved.
Once your background is set to go, then the fun begins! Select the Stickers tab on the top navigation bar. Again, you have options here for size and what can be on those stickers. You can have simple text, an image (for my next puzzle I think I am going this route) or draw. Also on the stickers, you can add a link to either more information, or if you have created a video describing what that sticker term means, you can link it here or you can record your voice to define the term or give the students a little extra help. The possibilities are endless.
Once your Stickers are created, select the Answer Key tab on the top navigation bar.
This is where you put the areas on the background where your stickers will go. A word of caution is that if answer locations are really close to each other, your puzzle wont work. For this reason, you have a few options on how to place your answers on your puzzles background.
Select Play and see if you can solve your own puzzle! After I am done with my puzzles is when I fill out all the information for the Puzzle.
What I really like most about the information area is that if you can include an Explain Everything tutorial to help guide the students. I do not for my puzzles, but I will get to that in a moment. Then when everything is saved, you can export your puzzle for others to play!
How I use the App
As addressed before, I like my students to experience content first through inquiry. As I teach about global issues to students in fifth and sixth grade, the ideal way to accomplish this would be going on field trips. Since it costs a lot of money to travel around the world, the Stick Around App has filled a need. So the puzzle that I created above is a way for students to experience the Five Themes of Geography through imagery. All five themes are shown in this photo but the students don’t already know that. So as a class, (since I only have my iPad in my classroom) we talk about what we see in the photo. Then we brainstorm what the five themes are and the students guess where each sticker goes. To help narrow where to place the stickers, I leave the answer guide on to show where a possible sticker goes. It does not give the answer, instead acting like a place holder.
From our experiences with learning about the 5 Themes, drives what information I put in the video my students watch for homework.
Another powerful way to use the Stick Around App is to have students create puzzles and quiz each other over the same topic. That way, the teacher can easily see who understands the topic and who is struggling.
If you are a flipped class teacher, I could see using the app for that too. Here is how I would do it. In the Info section, record either a voice message for your students or create an Explain Everything video to introduce the topic to your students. Again, pulling from the Stanford study, students need to experience first. So your introduction to the students could be this. A recording of a speech, science experiment, or an image. Then in your video give directions for your puzzle. In the stickers on the puzzle, create either video links or voice recordings for those stickers so if students get them wrong, they have the information right away to understand why it was wrong. After the students complete your puzzle, then they would create their own puzzle to demonstrate their understanding. Class that next day could be students playing each others quizzes and learning from each other.
I hope that you learned something new today and give the Stick Around App a try. As I said before, it is a powerful app that has endless possibilities. The one function I would like added would be to search within the app for CC images. But I can live without that function too. I look forward to using it in my classroom even more next school year. At $2.99 it is a great value and if you are school looking to purchase, the volume discount applies.
For My EdTech 537 class we were asked to read three articles. The first was by Prensky, the second by McKenzie, and the third by Reeves. In each of the these readings, According to our professor, here are the generalizations that came out of them:
1. while the theory of generational differences exists and is a valid theory, there is no research at present that indicates instructional designers should modify instruction or instructional strategies to accommodate today’s generation of students
2. there is no reliable and valid research to support the belief that technology has somehow changed today’s generation of students
3. further to the fact that Prensky’s notion of digital natives isn’t based on research, McKenzie does a convincing job of illustrating how Prensky even misused the anecdotal “evidence” that he presents to support is beliefs
4. the only thing that can be said about today’s student, based upon reliable and valid research, is that they are more narcissistic than any previous generation.
While the supposed data is not their to back up the statement that technology has changed how our students are learning, I would like you to meet Dr. Jane McGonigal. Since I travel quite a bit, I have been able to see her speak on multiple occasions. Here are some facts from a presentation of hers I have seen. In the US., 99% of boys under 18 and 94% of girls play video games regularly, 92% of two year old play games, (usually on an iPad or other type of tablet), and by the age of 21, these children would have played 10,000 hours of video games.
Whether you like these stats or not, you have take them into consideration. While research out there might not yet be available, many studies are beginning conducted on this. You can also look at the Flipped Learning Network for current research of the Flipped Classroom. Data that did not exist to long ago.
What we as teachers need to understand is this: Our students brains are geared more for “epic wins” and visual stimuli than in years past. More and more kids are playing games like Minecraft that allow students to create and make their own adventures. Where is this in your classroom? Do you allow students to create? If not, then your students are not getting enough out of school and they seem more disengaged. If you allow them to create, they will be more engaged!
Side Note: This is for my EdTech 537 course at Boise State University
This post is by my co-collaborator Gayla Vukcevich who is a 5th and 6th grade English teacher at an independent school.
During the school year, I teach. But during the summer, I am a student. I am always a learner, but in the quiet of a summer morning or in the middle of a rainy afternoon, I hunger for information and new ideas that will make me a better teacher, a better thinker, or a better person. I am mesmerized by the information at my fingertips--and so I read, and I play; I search, and I gather, and I experiment, and then I switch topics and do it all over again.
This hunger for knowledge and information and satisfying curiosities is what I strive for in my classroom. Some students come to me ready to learn, soaking up whatever I lead them to. Other students come and sit and wait for inspiration. True and authentic learning, though, happens when a person digs in the details of something that is fascinating. The richness of real learning is something to be celebrated. When students are learning about topics because they can’t resist digging in...wow!
Over the past month, I have wondered about many things. Some things, like what kind of caterpillar is munching in my garden, have simple and direct answers. Others, like how do I bake ciabatta at home so it tastes like my favorite bakery, require research and experimentation on the way to creating a satisfying finished product. I have to be willing to try more than once, and I have to pay attention to all kinds of variables. Still other curiosities, like the bonfire I can see in the field behind my house and the voices, clear and spirited, rising and falling like the flames in the darkness, simply lead me to think and wonder and peruse my imagination. This is my favorite kind of curiosity--and in these moments, the writer in me takes over, and the end result of my observations could take any form.
that lit up the neighbor’s back yard
with bright orange excitement
rose and fell
and suddenly is gone
And the blackness left behind
is more unsettling
than the explosion of accelerants
that first brought it
to my attention
Summer is a different kind of learning for me, and I imagine my students feel the same. I spend part of each day reading my Twitter feed, and though I rarely post anything of my own, I am following some amazing educators who share bits and pieces of things I want to know more about...and so I dig deeper. I spend part of each summer in my classroom, sorting through the piles that accumulated during the year, reflecting on how to organize better for next year, weeding out things that I will never use, but also realizing what I need to know more about to make my class the best learning environment it can be. I spend a great amount of time with my children, beach days and friend days, travel days and at home days. I learn from them and with them. And every summer, I reserve one weekend to learn more about writing. In the company of other writers, I practice the craft that I teach--true and authentic.
My students are learning this summer, too. They travel, attend camps, swim, hang out with friends, and attend family events. They will bring those experiences back to me in August, and we will write. Some will be reluctant, some will struggle with the freedom of topic choice, and some will thrive. I hope to provide the opportunity for my young writers to experience the excitement of learning, just like the days of summer. Students’ best writing happens with they write about topics they value--when they dig in and work until they have created something meaningful.
Summertime allows me to choose what and how I learn, as well as what I do with what I’ve learned. Offering those freedoms in my classroom leads to true and authentic learning experiences.
Side Note: This is dual blog post for my EdTech 357 course at Boise State University
From the Teachers Pay Teachers website
"We believe that real teachers create the most relevant and engaging educational resources. Our open marketplace model supercharges resource quality, quantity, and availability.
Bringing educators together forms a powerful community that shares best practices, raises the bar for all, and compensates our best curriculum developers (sometimes spectacularly).
In the end, everyone wins, especially students. And that's what it's all about."
I am sure this post will not make me popular but I am not here to be popular. I am here to change education. I have a big problem with Teachers Pay Teachers. As a teacher, I know we are under paid and we don't usually have enough time to prep and plan for our lessons. So while the premise of teachers sharing the best work is ideal, paying for it is not. In this age of open curriculum and open education, I feel Teachers Pay Teachers contradicts this openness. While yes, it is good to make a little on the side, are we not hurting more students by keeping these resources behind the walled garden of TPT? If these teachers truly wanted to help more students, then why isn't their material in an open forum where more people can have access to it?
Side note: This is dual post of my EdTech 537 course at Boise State University.
A major buzz word in education today is the "Flipped Classroom." Although this concept is not new, many I feel are getting it wrong. Instead of using readings or videos to teach content, I think our students must explore the content first. I have linked three articles below that argue for more dynamic classrooms.
The first is titled, "Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment" from 2000.
The second is a study out of MIT titled, "A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-Term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity" from 2010.
The third is a paper out of Stanford titled, "Classes should do hands-on exercises before reading and video, Stanford researchers say" from 2013.
What are your thoughts? Should be "flipping" the classroom the way most people are or more like Ramsey and myself?
Side note: This is dual post of my EdTech 537 course at Boise State University.
Here is a list of TED Talks that I find very useful in my teaching. Some you may seen before, others, you may not. I hope you enjoy! I will add to this list when I come across more.
As a social studies/history teacher, I find John Hunter's speech very engaging. From TED, "John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages school kids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can." http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hunter_on_the_world_peace_game
As a teacher who wants to contastantly challenge my students to engage in Inquiry and ask great questions, Ramsey TED talk is amazing. From TED, "It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works." http://www.ted.com/talks/ramsey_musallam_3_rules_to_spark_learning
Sir Ken Robinson is one of the funniest people I have ever seen speak. I have been lucky enough to see him in person at two different conferences. He is extremely passionate about letting students be creative and how to change schools so that students aren't disengaged anymore. From TED, "Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity." http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity. On a side note, this TED talk has been viewed 27 million times as of 7/10/14.
David Christian has a great view of history and how EVERY event is linked. Instead of looking at history simply in a linear timeline, David Christian looks at history through various events, such as the Big Bang, development of Agriculture, etc. From TED, "Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline." http://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history
Another great talk from Sir Ken Robinson. From TED, "In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish. http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution
As the caption says, every child needs a hero. Rita does a great job explaining why we as educators can't simply focus on the curriculum when it comes to teaching, but we need to focus on the whole student. From TED, "Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level." http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion
Hans Rosling created a fantastic website that shows you how different variables impact countries. I use it as a way to get my student to challenge what they already know about a topic or to introduce a new topic. From TED, "You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world." http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen
I wish I had a math teacher like Dan Meyer. In his TED Talk filmed at TEDxNewYork, he talks about how to change the math textbook and curruiculum to make it more real for students. From TED, "Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. In his talk, Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think. (Filmed at TEDxNYED.)" http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover
Dr. Sugata Mitra is a visionary! Through his "Hole-In-The-Wall" Project, Dr. Mitra discovered that it didn't matter what your economic background is, when children are engaged in their own learning, they will drive it further. From TED, "Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching." http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education
Side note: This is dual post of my EdTech 537 course at Boise State University.
I am a HUGE fan of Dr. Sugatra Mitra. Dr. Mitra was a computer professor at a university in New Dehli, India which backed up to one of the slums. He had an idea. It was to see if children who lived in these slums could teach themselves how to use computers without any instruction.
After a while, he would go back and interview the kids. He found they had taught themselves English (for that was the language of the computers) and how to serf the web, play games, use a keyboard, etc. None of these children had seen or used a computer before. He concluded from his studies that no matter the educational background of a child, they can learn how to do anything.
For further information on his inspirational findings and talks, here are links to his TED Talk in 2008 which he talks about his "Hole in the Wall Project," his 2010 TED talk about Child-driven Education and his 2013 TED Talk about Build a School in the Cloud. You can also look at his wiki.
So Dr. Mitra created the SOLE program. SOLE stands for Self-Organized Learning Environments. The main premiss behind this program is allowing students to dig deeper with better questions. In social studies, often times, the framework is created to have students remember facts and dates. Using a SOLE question to help drive inquiry, has allowed my students to dive deeper into content than before.
Here is how I did it:
First you have to ask an open-ended question that is going to drive students to further their understanding. At the time we were studying early history of of East Asia. So I pulled up a modern-day population map of the area and asked my students, "Why do so many people live where they do?" I then explained how this project would work. They were to work in groups, needed to take notes any way they wanted to, and they needed to present their findings at the beginning of class the next day. Since the suggested time for a SOLE is around 50 minutes and my classes are 42 minutes in length, I had them present the next day. Ideally, the students should present their findings that same day.
After giving the initial instructions, I set my kids free and observed what was going on. If they had questions, I answered them, although in the SOLE program, you are supposed to nominate a student to handle these situations. But since this was our first go at it, I did not follow those guidelines.
Here is a picture of my students presenting their SOLE.
My students did a great job with identifying the physical features of mountains, plains, rivers, valleys, and fertile soil that would have drawn early people to the area. We even were able to draw current events into our discussions. All in all, I really liked the SOLE project and will be doing it again.
Here is how I would add the elements of Explore, Flip, Apply into SOLE. In its essence, the SOLE and Explore, Flip, Apply are very similar. The only difference is that in a SOLE, the teacher sits on the sideline and doesn't have interaction. I feel that this is a downfall of the SOLE. Teachers help student understanding by adding context they might not be able to understand or find in their searching. Here are two ways to add to a SOLE by using Explore, Flip, Apply. While the students are gathering information during their inquiry phase of the SOLE, sit down with students and have a dialogue. Remember that during the Flip phase of you are addressing misconceptions in the learning. If their are misconceptions after all your conversations, then create a video addressing those misconceptions. Have the students add the information to their notes to be added to their final presentation. Once they get back to class the next time, have them add that information to their final presentation. Or, after the students give their presentations for the SOLE, either address the misconceptions to the entire class (preferred because the longer a student knows a misconception, the harder it is to change it) or make a video about the misconceptions for homework that night. When they get back to class the next time, have them fix their presentations and represent.
What I really like about SOLE is that it uses inquiry to engage the students, it allows students develop great search skills, work on developing note-taking strategies, group work skills, problem-solving, critical-thinking, and improving presentation skills.
How to conduct the Flip Phase
This is blog number two in a three part series. Again, this will be more social studies specific, but I will give examples of this concept works in different classes.
As stated in the first blog post found here, Inquiry is what hooks students and drives their learning deeper. This is accomplished during the Explore Phase. However, what if a student or students are stuck on a concept? Then this is where the video (or the Flip) comes in.
In most Flipped Classrooms, the video drives the instructional practice, not inquiry. So in this case, the video is used differently. Instead of driving instruction, it helps address misconceptions that students have during the Explore Phase. This graphic explains how the video fits within the Explore, Flip, Apply methodology.
There are two important points to this graphic. As stated above, the instructional video address misconceptions that have arisen during the Explore Phase, and hits on the lower Bloom’s taxonomy of Understanding. The second important component of the video is that students reflect on the content that was delivered by watching the video. This is very vital step that you must have your students do. If they do not interact with the video in some way, they will not remember and understand the information as well. Since Ramsey is a Chemistry teacher, he has his students answer Algorithmic questions, conceptual questions, and of course student questions. To collect all this data, Ramsey uses Google Forms, as well as do I.
Here is an example from my class: At the beginning of the year, we learn about the 5 Themes of Geography. This is the backbone for my courses and it’s important that my students have a firm grasp of this concept. During the Explore Phase, we watch a video clip from the YouTube Channel The Edge of Farming. It shows how a family commercial farm in North Dakota has to battle the elements to get their crop of corn planted and harvested in time. By watching this 3 min clip, students are exposed to the different themes and don’t even know it. I purposely withhold information from them so that they can be inquisitive. As they watch the video in class, they have to write down what they think are the 5 Themes. Then in their groups, they must discuss and try to narrow down what they have come up with. Then we go over it in class. After the students have guessed at what the themes are, I assign them a video to watch describing the Five Themes of Geography. While they watch the video, which is around 5 min in length, I have them do two tasks. Task one is take notes on the entire vodcast and write down the questions you may have. The second task is they must fill out a Google Form by answering summarizing . Here is a screen shot of my Google Form.
I have them take notes on paper instead of on the Google Form is for two reasons. The first is that my students need to work on learning different note-taking strategies, so in some of my videos, I will give them suggestions on to which style to try out with this video. Secondly, a recent study came out stating that students remember more when taking notes on paper as compared to taking them on a computer. Here is a link to that article.
Then as the graphic implies, Phase 3, the Apply Phase is tailored by the students questions the next class period.
Here are some other examples from other academic disciplines:
Science: Lets say you show your students a chemical equation happening and after figuring out what chemicals and elements were used, they are still having trouble with the how the whole process is working. In your video, would walk the students through a sample chemical equation or two and then give them a question to try themselves. If they still have questions and are struggling with the concept, then you can start with that in class the next day.
Math: After watching and exploring about the water filling up the tank, depending on what concept you are teaching here, your video would walk the students through how to solve a similar problem or two and then give them one to solve on their own. All the while, students are placing answers and questions in their Google Form.
English: Going back to my original example of using poems, as you explore different types of poem structure, your video could be the teacher writing one for the students, highlighting important ideas and elements. Then in the Google Form, assigned from questions, students could write their own poem or summarize how to create a great poem.
Important elements to remember about the videos. One, keep them short. Since these videos are designed to address misconnections in class and not teach new content, they should not be very long in length. I would say less than eight minutes at most for high school and under 6 for middle school. Now obviously this will change depending on the students understanding of the material. Second, make the movies from the hip. What I mean here, is you don’t need to jazz them up with any special affects or editing. A rough edit is more than enough. You are not looking to win an Emmy here. You are just getting your students to understand a concept.
And one of the best parts of this leaning cycle is if they don’t need a video to address misconceptions, then you don’t need to make one!
This is a blog entry for my EdTech 537 Blogging in the Classroom course at Boise State University.
Hello everyone in the EdTech 537 course. My name is George Phillip and I am only four classes (including this one) from finishing up my Master of Educational Technology. I have already completed the Technology Integration Specialist Graduate Certificate and I have used that to my advantage. On top of teaching 5th and 6th grade Global Studies, I am the "new" Technology Integration Specialist at my school. I say "new" because this position was created for me!
I have been teaching for six years at the same school in South Bend, IN. It is a co-ed, Independent Day school. It is my dream job. I don't have to worry about Common Core or any federally mandated curriculum which gives me freedom to teach the way teachers should be allowed to do.
A few years ago, I changed my teaching style from teacher-centered to student-centered. (You can read more about this in the post further down the blog.) I began with "Flipping" my classroom and moved to a more inquiry-based, project-based classroom environment. Specifically, I use a methodology developed by Ramsey Musallam called Explore, Flip, Apply. What this means is I always start a lesson a hook and withhold information from my students. My students are the ones who drive their learning, not me. If you have Dr. Sugata Mitra and the Whole in the Wall Project and his School in the Cloud, it is a very similar philosophy.
With my experiences in these fields, I present at education conferences all across the country. I have been fortunate enough to co-present with Ramsey and been a featured speaker at various other conferences. If you have questions, I would love to share my ideas and collaborate with you.
George Phillip is a social studies teacher and designer.
Ramsey Musallam - www.cyclesoflearning.com
Karl Lindgren-Streicher -
Josh Stumpenhorst -
Jason Bretzmann -
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.