Here are samples of projects I’ve worked on with teachers.
Book Trailers with Grade 6 ELA
Using iMovie on iPads, Google Drive, and Padlet, student created book trailers in a twist on the traditional book report. The began with a lot of trial and error; initially, the desire was to create the videos using Chromebooks. However, difficulty in finding programs that were easy & intuitive to use and didn’t impose time restraints led us to using iPads and iMovie. In my opinion, iMovie was far more powerful of an editor than anything found on a Chromebook and, though it involved more planning and device reserving, it yielded a much finer product.
What I am Thankful For, by Grade 1
Rick Stemple, the library/tech teacher at the time, wanted a way to have students practice their writing and typing skills but also provide some hand-created elements to a writing assignment. I suggested using Google. Students in first grade do not have access to GAFE accounts, but through a public link, they would have access to a Google Form. On that form, first graders reflected on what they are thankful for and typed in their responses. Using the add-on “Form Publisher“, documents were created (one for each student/submission) according to a template and later printed out. With a physical copy in hand, students illustrated their writing sample. Later, the work was collected, scanned, and posted as a digital book for the kids and community to read.
Bridge Simulation on iPads
As a sixth grade teacher, I covered bridge design as part of the technology standards for MA. Before my students went off and created their own popsicle stick bridges, they first had to sketch out a design and test it in a simulator. My favorite tool was the West Point Bridge Designer (WPBD, link), and for years that was my go-to program in the computer lab. However, over time, the computer lab went away in favor of Chromebooks and iPads, and WPBD isn’t compatible on those systems. Enter Bridge Constructor, an app for the iPad that allowed students to test out their designs and see where potential issues may show up.
Augmented Reality in the Classroom
I’ve done several projects with augmented reality. I initially started out by creating short videos on how to do math homework assignments with Aurasma. The trigger was a particular problem, and when recognized, the problem transformed into a video which explained how to tackle the problem. The idea was to provide my explanation and my hints to students while they were away from my class (like, at home) and perhaps give them the nudge they need to attempt the problem, instead of skipping it and waiting for help the next morning.
In another use of Aurasma, see link above, I helped a first grade class say goodbye to a fellow student. Take a read on how that came about.
Another popular use for Aurasma has been virtual Geography presentations. Students in fourth grade created video presentations about the fifty U.S. states. Sixth graders did something similar, but with countries in Africa and Asia. State or country flags served as triggers, and the flags were posted around the classroom and hallways for students and visiting family/community members to interact with. This allowed the audience a chance to see and hear presentations on their own time while interacting with their creators and asking follow-up questions in person.
Virtual Stowaway to Quebec and D.C.
Each spring before the April vacation week, our seventh and eighth grade students embark on a 4-5 day trip to either Quebec City (grade seven) or Washington, D.C. (grade eight). With many of the chaperones already using social media in their classrooms, I thought it would be fun to virtually tag along with the groups and experience a bit of the fun they’re experiencing.
Using Blogger, I set up a site for each trip to post updates and info about their respected trips. In addition, I asked faculty and parent chaperones who use Twitter to tweet out appropriate photos using the hashtags #bfccpsQuebec and #bfccpsDC. Tweets using those hashtags were automatically displayed on the Blogger pages. Families and staff back home were extremely excited to follow along in the adventures of the traveling students.
Following Tweets Without Being on Twitter
A bit back, the school counselor wanted to use Twitter to reach out to families with timely updates regarding high school fairs. At the time, Twitter usage with that group of eighth grade families was high, justifying it’s use to the counselor, but she wanted a way to keep the non-Twitter users connected and informed. I researched what was available, found options galore ,and tested them out with her help. Eventually, we settled on the following:
- Embedding her tweets on her school webpage (similar to the embedded tweets from the DC/Quebec trip blogs above);
- Use a third party platform to have tweets sent out via text message (via FastFollow) or e-mail (via Tweetbeep)