Friday, October 9, 2015

Connecting via VoiceThread

VoiceThread is "an online tool that promotes a supportive instructor-student relationship by presenting reflective response tools to encourage collaboration. Voicethread serves as a vehicle to encourage students to respond to topics through the use of a computer, tablet, cell phone, or webcam. Connecting the learner to the instructor provides motivation, feedback, and dialogue. With the content, the learner obtains intellectual information; and through peer interaction students exchange ideas" (Kilgore, Mangrum, & Miller, 2014).

VoiceThread in ACTION: Students use VoiceThread to reflect on learning experiences from a recent visit to the Perot Museum in Dallas, Texas. Images from exhibits were posted by the STEAM camp instructor. After the field trip, students build a collaborative thread to share reflections with a wider audience. The learning activity employed the ARCS instructional design model to provide Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction.

Digital Learning Platform: VoiceThread provides a student centered  and interactive platform in which learners share authentic tasks and products using advanced publishing features.

Exploring Voicethread Using ARCS Instructional Design Approaches. W Kilgore, L Mangrum, J Miller. Journal of Media Education 5 (1), 16-22, 2014. 

Connecting via Kidblog

Kidblog provides educators with a safe and simple tool in which students share meaningful reflections, reviews, and learning artifacts via a class blog. Teachers can create a simple publishing  and organized experience. Kidblog embeds media content to include YouTube and Google Drive.

Kidblog in Action: Students utilize Kidblog to collaborate with global pen pals, share digital portfolios, collaborative science notebooks, participate in a virtual book club, and publish creative writings using an electronic format.

Digital Learning Platform: Kidblog is a web based structure in which students share authentic tasks and products using advanced publishing features.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Connecting via Zoom

Zoom is a free cloud based videoconferencing system in which educators can connect with other classrooms, experts, and attend professional development with up to 50 attendees for a duration of 45 minutes. BISD has access to 10 premium accounts to assist for longer video conference needs or to facilitate a larger audience.

Zoom in Action: Students utilize Zoom to connect with top scientists and engineers at NASA and with other classroom around the world about a real world space mission event.

Digital Learning Platform: Zoom is an interactive videoconferencing structure in which students share authentic tasks and and products using advanced communication features.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Connecting via Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a free blended learning platform in which educators can extend learning content and communication beyond the physical classroom. Classroom is a feature of Google Apps for Education and allows educators to facilitate discussions, providing multiple feedback mechanisms.

CLASSROOM in ACTION: Students in Teresa Nickell's class at Snow Heights Elementary use Classroom to ask questions about assignments after school, view social studies and science video content, and respond via online discussion about learning content.

Digital Learning Platform: Classroom is an interactive digital learning structure that provides opportunities for authentic student tasks and products through creation, publishing, and communication features. Classroom is student-centered with lesson expectations visible, providing an interactive approach to multiple feedback channels, and producing a strong approach to 21st century learning.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Connecting via Remind

Remind is a free and popular app allowing educators to safely send messages and communications to students and parents. The app organizes text messages by subject to allow teachers to send reminders regarding deadlines about upcoming projects, events, and even daily affirmations.

REMIND in ACTION: Deborah Coulson, principal at North Ridge Elementary, uses Remind to inform parents of upcoming PTA meetings, field trips, school reminders regarding fundraisers, and special student events such as ART Day.

Digital Learning Platform: Learning expectations for students are communicated to parents, creating a student-centered communication chain in which all stakeholders can assist towards improving communication to improve academic performance.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Connecting via Smart Exchange

SMART Exchange is a free resource in which educators can locate interactive smart technology resources and lesson plans as well as submit instructional content to share with other teachers. Teachers can search resources by subject content, grade level, and state standards. SMART exchange requires a log in but allows teachers to connect with other educators and access interactive notebook files, SMART response question sets, and math tool activities.

SMART in ACTION: Jacklyn Bates and Lyndsey Turner at Smithfield Elementary use their SMART board to engage students during focused lesson time and model the work to be done in workstations.  Students then deepen their understanding of the content presented during focused lesson time through interactive,  collaborative activities at the SMART board workstation.

Digital Learning Platform: Students present concepts and interact with content, creating an authentic and student task and product learning environment.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Connecting via Google Hangout

Google Hangout (GHO) is Google's free video-conferencing tool in which educators use as part of Google Apps for Education. Over 10 participants can join a live GHO within a virtual space. GHO can be used as simple conversation tools or advanced with the use of extra apps and add-ons available through Google. GHO is accessible across platforms.

GHO in Action:  GHO was used to allow students to share makerspace activities to another classroom to middle school students in New Jersey.

Digital Learning Platform: Students interact to show authentic student tasks and products within a virtual collaborative group using a digital learning structure. Thinking is visible within GHO leading to greater student achievement.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Connecting via Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the classroom is a free global community resource in which educators can access lesson plans, connect with other classrooms, participate in virtual field trips, or bring in a guest speaker. To join the conversation teachers will need a Skype account and access to the Skype application. Once logged in, educators can search to locate other teachers, guest speakers, or classrooms interested in a mystery Skype, which is a global game that uses questioning techniques to foster student learning via Skype. Teachers can record a Skype and screen-share to allow for student presentations. Skype is accessible from any device.

Skype Classroom in Action: Mrs. Hay from Holiday Heights and Mrs. Farrrow from Snow Heights participated in a Skype connection to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The teachers collaborated together before the event and had each student paired with another student from the different classroom to think about vocabulary words.

Digital Learning Platform: Students interact as a virtual collaborative group, providing authentic student tasks and products and digital learning structure.

Connecting via Discovery Educator Network

Discovery Educator Network (DEN) is a global education community connecting educators with new ideas, resources, and events to assist in transforming learning experiences digitally. Connect with other classrooms and educators both locally and around the world via social media or through video conferencing. An added bonus includes the ability to connect your classroom using free Discovery education resources to other classrooms.

DEN In Action: Celebrate Constitution Day in Philadelphia is a DEN event in which teachers can join Discovery Education live to give students the ability to meet Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Digital Learning Platform: DEN is student centered, providing teachers with a plethora of quality free resources. DEN lends itself towards meeting authentic student tasks and products by connecting learners to real-word and interactive events.