One of my favorite tools in my classroom is my Flip Camera. It’s inexpensive (sometimes a free giveaway too!), easy to use, and the kids LOVE it. My 8th graders are so comfortable that I just hand it over and let them go with it. They plug it in, edit, and flag me down just to say, “Watch this, Miss D!”
There are so many things you can do with a Flip camera, and many cross grade and subject lines.
- Record a skit or play in your classroom (Last year, my 8th graders filmed their 3rd grade “buddies” - The older ones felt important that they were trusted to record and edit, the young ones felt like movie stars!)
- Record a video thank you or greeting. Flip gives you the option of sending a video like a greeting card.
- Record and save clips of various events for a video memory book.
- Create an informational video podcast.
- Have students interview each other as a part of a ‘getting to know you’ activity.
- Produce a news cast.
- Create public service announcements for the school community.
- Start a vlog to keep parents up to date with classroom units/events.
- Create a “how-to” video to accompany some procedural writing.
- Record yourself teaching (scary!, I know!) so you can reflect on your practices.
- Record other teachers you admire (if they are okay with it!), so you can reflect on what makes them so successful. It’s hard to catch all the good things they do!
One of the sweetest things I saw a Flip camera used for was in a Kindergarten classroom. Just as the students were really beginning to independently read, the teacher recorded each student reading a simple book. She edited each child and burned it onto a dvd as a keepsake for parents. It won the hearts and admiration of all. I’m sure something similar could be done for younger/older students for a holiday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I can see this tying into Skype well too. Besides working with an educator/classroom somewhere else in the world, classrooms can make videos for the times they can’t directly interact.
The possibilities are endless!
Any more ideas?
8 Great TED Talks About The Future Of Education And Teaching
TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”, bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. If you’re not already a fan of TED, maybe these will open your eyes to this wonderful resource.
Education is only one of the vast array of topics covered in TED talks, so if you enjoy any of the videos below, you might want to click through the the site and check out some more of them.
Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms
This delightfully illustrated video entertains while educating. The video does a wonderful job of explaining how today’s factory-like education model is outmoded and how it needs to evolve into a more personalized model if we are going to take it to a new level. [This video is featured below. Frustratingly, the sound cuts off in the last 30 seconds of the video.]
Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
This video discusses “The Hole In The Wall” experiment that Mitra started in New Delhi in 1999. Children deprived of learning opportunities available in other parts of the world nevertheless figured out the computer at their disposal and started using it to learn and to teach each other. These results repeated themselves as the experiment was conducted in various other locales. Kids can and will teach kids. How can we take advantage of this to improve on education across the world?
Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
Math as it’s taught in classrooms rarely echoes math as it used in the real word. Wolfram (the driving force behind the Wolfram-Alpha “knowledge engine”) suggests that we consider changing the math teaching model, to teach kids to conceptualize problems and use computerized tools to apply solutions, as opposed to the present model of spending inordinate amounts of time teaching how to perform calculations “by hand”. He methodically addresses many misperceived ideas behind today’s approach to math education.
Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together
The notion put forth here is that the Arts and Sciences are and should be integrated in education - they are absolutely connected, but we do not teach that way. There seems to be a stigma surrounding the idea of creativity and logic existing in the same space. How can we overcome and suppress this limiting notion? (In my personal experience, I love both disciplines and find they go together brilliantly, but that people are often surprised by that idea).
Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums
Leadbeater explains that the vast majority of population growth in the next three decades will occur in poor, crowded cities, and that we need to reach kids in these situations if we are going to educate the majority of the world’s young. In this video, many examples of innovative approaches to teaching in these circumstances are offered. Leadebeater notes that, “you have to engage people before you can teach them” (sounds familiar, doesn’t it!). In these challenging environments, a “pull” approach is necessary in order to succeed (versus the forced “push” approach used in richer nations). Education only works if it is motivating and inspiring in these situations, and the approaches being used offer many new ideas that can be leveraged in schools everywhere to improve the educational process.
Arthur Benjamin’s formula for changing math education
In this brief video, Benjamin makes the bold suggestion that the culmination of math learning should be statistics and probability, not calculus. “The mathematics of games and gambling” can not only be fun to learn, it is far more practical and relevant to our daily lives. (To watch a pretty fascinating demonstration of “mathemagic” from Benjamin click here).
Bill Gates on mosquitos, malaria and education
In the second half of this video, Bill Gates provides ideas about measuring successful teaching and using this data to enable improvements in educational processes.
Let’s use video to reinvent education: Salman Khan
In this video, Khan explains his popular and impactful work with Khan Academy (check out this recent post for more on the Khan Academy).
“Several security-related companies, such as Spycheatstuff.com, will even overnight-mail a kit that turns a cellphone or iPod into a hands-free personal cheating device, featuring tiny wireless earbuds, that allows a test-taker to discreetly "phone a friend" during a test and get answers remotely without putting down the pencil.”—
GWALP adds: A student would have to have the gonads of Bond to cheat like this. It makes me think, “If you are smart enough to work around this, and spent so much TIME getting around this … why didn’t you just take the dang test?”
Podcasting in the Classroom
Podcasting is one of my favorite ways to bring technology into the classroom. Podcasting can seem overwhelming and daunting, but it is much easier than even I thought at first. It is a great way for students to have their voices heard, literally!
Some ways to incorporate podcasting into your classroom:
- Use as an alternative to blogging: Some students are great writers, others are great speakers. Let students shine no matter their strength
- Keep parents updated on school and classroom happenings. Post podcasts to your classroom website or wikispace
- For younger students, use podcasting as a way to practice, listen to, and record progress in reading fluency
- Create your own “poetry theater” or create “books on tape” for a listening center
- Have students record a “diary entry” for a literary character, impersonate a historical character, create an alternative to the traditional book report, or create a “how to” segment
- Have student groups split a large or daunting topic, like the Civil War or Parts of Speech, and create their own instructional lecture. Let kids teach kids!
The possibilities on podcasting are endless. I’m seen Pre-K classrooms record a “read along” or song for parents to hear. I’ve seen early elementary teachers put podcasts into digital portfolios. In my middle school setting, students record human interest stories to be feature on my classroom or the school website.
There are some easy as pie tools to help teachers get their podcasts off the ground:
- Audioboo: Personally, this is my favorite and go-to. Its simple, fool proof, and even the less tech savvy teachers at my school like to use it. My students are able to work on their own with this without me having to walking them through the process.
- Garage Band: If you personally have a Mac or your school does, you can use Garage Band to record, edit, and post podcast. T
- Flip Camera: Make a video podcast!
- Poducate Me: Visit Poducateme.com for ideas, tips, and tricks for podcasting in the classroom
- Audacity: Allows you to create and edit mp3 files
- Mr. Coley: California teacher with examples and resources on podcasting (and everything else education!)
Do you currently podcast with students? How? What tools do you use? Can you see yourself podcasting in the classroom?
Interactive Whiteboards: The Laserdisc of Ed Tech
Heather Wolpert-Gawron of TweenTeacher has put together a compelling and poignant article strongly discouraging the purchase of interactive whiteboards in favor of mobile technology instead. Some of her most engaging points include:
The big clunky forward facing, whole class method of lesson delivery via Interactive Whiteboard, I believe, is the Laserdisc of educational technology. The overpriced fad of Interactive Whiteboards (whether Smart or Promethean) is imperfect in their current incarnation…inherently these pieces of equipment do not illustrate the spirit of technology in information delivery: all-access, collaborative, open, interactive, etc
She goes on to cite a quote from Bill Ferriter of EdWeek
I’m willing to argue that even with time and training, interactive whiteboards are an under-informed and irresponsible purchase. They do little more than reinforce a teacher-centric model of learning…make presentations, give notes, deliver lectures…I ask you: Do we really want to spend thousands of dollars on a tool that makes stand-and-deliver instruction easier?
Her alternative solution to the interactive whiteboard is mobile devices:
Mobile technology caters to individualization and differentiation, which is the present and future of student-centered learning. Mobile technology is cheaper and also represents the concept of “democratization of information,” the openness of high levels of information to the masses. The Interactive Whiteboard is still locked and loaded into the antiquated philosophy of “sage on the stage” rather than “guide on the side.”
Are whiteboards an irresponible purchase? Is mobile technology the best solution for the classroom?
I encourage you to read the entirety of the original post here.
16% of EdTech Directors Expect 1 Tablet Per Student Within 5 Years
In a recent survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, 16% of school tech directory expect to have 1 tablet per student within 5 years. CNN Fortune contributor Philip Elmer-DeWitt breaks down the data:
- 100% were testing or deploying iPads in their schools. 0% were testing or deploying Android tablets.
- Their schools currently have an average of one computer for every 10 students.
- Nearly half (12) expect to eventually deploy one computer per child; two of their schools already do.
- More than a third (9) expect to deploy one tablet per child; one of them already does.
Hodgkins of TUAW adds the following:
Tablets may be useful for schools, but there are significant administrative hurdles that must be overcome before they see widespread usage. The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of the directors believe a tablet is important as an information gathering tool, but 64% see device management as a significant hurdle to deploying these tablets in a school setting. Also a factor is cost, which is a smaller (20%), but still a significant hurdle schools need to overcome.
Despite these challenges, some schools are embracing the iPad as a valuable teaching tool. In a controversial program, kindergartners in Auburn, Maine are using the iPad in the classroom for learning their basic phonic and math skills. Similarly, the Webb School in Knoxville, Tennesseeis requiring all incoming fourth to 12th grade students to have an iPad.
The Civil War
I have a bit of a request - my students created informational 3 minute movies on the Civil War (think Discovery Education videos). We are learning that projects aren’t just a one and done type thing. They should be meaningful, purposeful, and serve an audience.
They have used each other’s in class as reviews and learning tools. We would like to reach farther. If any teachers are studying the Civil War or just like history or anything and could give our class some feedback, it would be amazing. If you message me, I could send you the link to the videos and you could message/email me comments. (They are unlisted on youtube, so I’m not sure if you can comment directly there. If you can that would be even better!)
If anyone could help, it would be great! Thanks!
“Our open, publicly-funded public school system, deeply woven into the fabric of our open, freedom- and innovation-loving society, is the gem in the crown of America that people from around the world for decades have tried to replicate... Poverty, hunger, homelessness, parents who are ineffective or unable to parent – these are all analog problems kids have that need the help of other people, not only computers, to solve. What Gene Marks and other Silicon Valley “edupreneurs” forget is that we live in a complicated three-dimensional world that doesn’t fit on a spreadsheet or a computer screen. Digital bootstraps aren’t enough; to help all the nation’s kids we need lifelines offered face to face to real kids, from a person who cares in their neighborhood schools.”—
Am I the only one who catches the irony of a tradition-laden school system in an innovation-loving society?
Education technology is not supposed to be the magic cure all for all of society’s ills, or even education’s. But if students aren’t getting what they need from the traditional method, don’t they deserve to have a chance to digitally bootstrap? Support is the most powerful thing that someone can give a student, and if a teacher, counselor, parent, or administrator isn’t there to give it to them, why should we criticize those who are digitally offering support? Besides, there’s more to education technology than AV technology and learning management systems, something that is often ignored in #pencilchat-type debates. Most importantly, people forget that there are people behind these products. People who care about students and education. From experience in trying to build a technology startup, one simply cannot start a tech company just for fun. They have to be committed to the idea, or else their hours, blood, sweat, and tears, and minimal income (especially in the education sector) are going to waste because lack of passion will kill them and their company.
Digital bootstrapping may not be sufficient for many, but why should we be angry at edupreneurs for trying? They’re the ones trying the hardest to innovate our public schools, and they’re moving faster than policy makers and individual teachers can. Maybe we should let them go full speed ahead, and let the rest of us focus on solving “analog problems.”
“Students aren’t just posting personal pictures and stories on Facebook — it’s just as much a part of their social lives as it is a place where they connect with each other for school work, too. According to the survey, 46 percent of students have used Facebook to collaborate on school projects, and one in 10 high school students have tweeted about an academic subject. Meanwhile, in formal classroom settings, the practice of using these online tools as an acceptable means of learning has been slow: half of all middle and high school students say they can’t access social media sites at school. Educational policy makers need to connect the dots between what motivates and encourages students to learn and what’s actually happening in the classroom, the report states.”—Schools and Students Clash Over Use of Technology | MindShift
Top 10 Microsoft PowerPoint Tips for Kids
It is obvious that technology is taking over the school systems. Most early elementary students already know how to work computers, gaming devices, and televisions very well. Powerpoint is a fun way for students to use technology to do homework, projects, study games, and more. These are tips according to Active Dad on how to make powerpoints fun in the classroom:
Make a comic book
Use PowerPoint’s ability to arrange pictures with captions to make a comic book.
Create a great looking quiz
Create a fun quiz with animated questions and answer reveals.
Make fab photo albums
Powerpoint has some cool photo effects hidden away that can help you make photo albums that show off your digital snaps in fantastic, fun ways.
Make a great-looking timeline
Timelines are a useful way of representing stuff that happens in a sequence. We have used them for homework projects as diverse as English Lit and history and to make personal timeline posters that show key events in kids’ lives.
Embed YouTube video in Powerpoint
Embedding video in Powerpoint used to be a pian, but you can now stick a YouTube clip right in a Powerpoint slide. Just grab the embed code from the video’s YouTube page (click the ‘Embed’ button underneath the video to get it and copy that to the clipboard. In Powerpoint, click the Insert tab, then Video and select ‘Video from web site..’ Paste the embed code in and the video will appear.)
Make a video from your presentation
You can save your presentation as a video file that can be played on a PC, uploaded to YouTube of converted to DVD. Just click on File then Save & Send then Create Video. YOu can choose the quality/size of the video and the length of time to insert between slide transitions before saving the video as a .WMV file.
Add transitions to your pages
A dull presentation can be given a makeover with a few cool page transitions. Click the Transitions Tab and select More to choose from a variety of effects like Page Turning or Ripple.
Instant Laser Pointer
Hold down the CTRL key and the left mouse button to turn the mouse pointer into a glowing red laser pointer dot that you can use to point out important areas of the screen, or just waggle around distractingly. You can select the color of the pointer using the Set Up Slideshow button on the Slideshow tab.
Insert a live web page
Powerpoint doesn’t support embedding live websites into presentations, but you can download a free add-in called Live Web that will do the trick.
Do quick image editing without leaving Powerpoint
You don’t have to use image editing software like Photoshop to tweak images in your presentation. Powerpoint has some quite powerful tools built in. Click on an image and select the Picture Tools tab that appears. This contains buttons for Crop, Corrections, and Remove Background among other effects.
All of these tips and descriptions as well as handy guides on how to do/create each of them can be found here.