Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Make Deep Meaning Making for Students

If what Tom Wujec (and cognitive scientists) say is true, we learn or make meaning through 3 ways: Ventral Stream (recognizes the “what” of something that your brain has previously labeled with a word “as in “Oh, that is a chair.”, Dorsal stream locates the object in physical space {the teacher’s desk is to the left of me, the projector is in front of me-the mental map our brain is constantly creating of our surroundings or of multi-part images like infographics or slides), and the third part is the Limbic system – it is our “gut” area – where we have emotional reactions to it. So, Tom speaks to how the EYE visually interrogates what we look at, the BRAIN processes  this in parallel with bits of information asking questions to create a unified mental model it enriches meaning, and the HEART [limbic] where we attach an emotional reaction all act in conjunction to activates a different part of the brain, for deeper learning. Wujec suggest that if we want others to create this deep meaning making, we should practice these 3 elements in our presentations:
  • Use images to clarify ideas
  • Interact with images to create engagement
  • Augment memory with persistent and evolving views

Wujec promotes the idea of “visual strategic planning” where everyone puts their ideas up for others to see- the act of "collectively and collaboratively building the image transforms the collaborations – it is a shared mental model” which develops much deeper meaning for us or for our students.

So, if Powerpoint is dead, then what can you use to help students involve all three areas of the brain as they are learning? Here are some suggestions which I have written about before in our Tuesday Tech Tips:

Creating Multimedia Timelines: http://practicaledtech.com/2014/11/17/practical-ed-tech-tip-of-the-week-creating-multimedia-timelines/

Thinklink: create interactive images that can contain pics, video, links etc. http://www.thinglink.com   [incredibly easy to use]

Haiku Deck –
visually stunning presentation tool amiable web version or app https://www.haikudeck.com

Visceral Video: short videos like The Black Death in 90 Seconds involve all three elements. Here is the example: http://www.nextvista.org/the-black-death-in-90-seconds/
Think how you can create an experience like this for your students or have them create it!

Tellagami https://tellagami.com it’s like creating an avatar video – very easy to use – iOS or Android app available in our app catalog.

Padlet Wall – you can always use post-it notes to promote Visible Thinking but you can also do it through technology, Padlet is like a virtual sticky note wall – easy to use and you can archive it for your students. http://padlet.com

Google Maps – gets better and better – check out Richard Byrne’s lesson on Google Maps: http://richardbyrnepresents.com/geography-beyond/

123D app Lets you create 3D scans of any object: www.123dapp.com

Book Creator app (www.redjumper.net/) or IBooks authoring tool (https://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/): put it all together in a way that allows interaction, great images and persistent, evolving views to deepen and reinforce learning.

Questions? Let me know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SAMR - Swim Don't Climb

Although spooks and goblins are fast approaching, there is nothing scary about today’s tip: SAMR

Think of SAMR as a guide to help you elevate your game. Given the huge investment we put into technology, coupled with the fact that our students today learn differently, we need to both take advantage of the fab tech tools at our fingertips and teach in a way that really targets today’s learners. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification Redefinition. Watch the quick student/teacher video below (thanks to the brilliance of Rich Colosi):

I like the metaphor of SAMR as the swimming pool versus the ladder (Carl Hooker - you are brilliant!). Even if you are the world’s biggest techie, you will still have some of your work “below the line” (the low end of the pool), however, if you feel that all or most of your work is “below the line”, then it is time to step up your game. I know, I know – you’re saying to yourself - “Oh Joan, it’s so easy for you! I have a hard time learning those tools. I don’t have any time to learn.” 

Hello, it is NOT easy for me. I worked very hard to learn how to use technology in my classroom. I taught math, language arts, and history for a long time in the 2nd largest public middle school in Connecticut. I spent a lot of time going to conferences, taking classes, spending time on Twitter, visiting colleague’s classrooms, learning from my students, anything I could do to develop the best learning environment in my classroom so that I could properly prepare my students for this brave new world. IT WAS NOT EASY! You must be willing to invest the time. 

We have one-on-one help available anytime. We are happy to team teach. Twitter is 24/7 free PD. You have colleagues all around you (and around the world) who are learning. When will you find the time? When will it become a priority? Learning how to implement technology is not easy but once you are in, you are hooked. Really learning how to use technology, to work on becoming digitally fluent, is key for your own personal survival. Soon your entire home will be “smart”, people you love will expect you to be able to communicate using certain tools, you will need to make appointments, shop, watch entertainment, all with using more sophisticated technology. Take that first step toward teaching “above the line”. You have a whole support team here ready to cheer you on. Make some time to learn about our fabulous databases. Get some coverage and go visit some of your colleagues. I am blessed as on walkthroughs, I get to see classrooms in action from PreK-12 – there is a lot of AMAZING stuff going on. People are generous here – take advantage and make time. You are worth it. Your students are worth it.

Here’s some inspiration: Teaching is both a science and an art, and many teachers around the world spend endless hours perfecting their professional practice. At TEDActive 2013, a few teachers from the United States offer some tricks of the trade they've learned (and continue to hone) along the way. 

Here’s a home grown example in Laura Fitzpatrick’s 1st Grade classroom: 

(yes, those are 1st graders making their own QR codes).

Be inspired. Ghandi had it right: Be the change you want to see in the world. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.

Let me know how I can help.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Green Screen - Too Cool For School

Ever want to send your boss to Alaska?

Green  Screen technology is so easy now! Green Screen Doink App (iPad or Android) allows you to easily put individuals or groups into the scene anywhere! You can produce snapshots or videos. Imagine your student doing a state fair report about Iowa against backdrop images of corn fields and the state capitol! (Of course you can use iMovie too but Doink is immediate and so easy). How about your students reporting from Afghanistan? In the Coral Reef? You can go anywhere with Green Screen technology!

 Would you like to see Bruce eaten by dinosaurs?

Thanks to Bruce for being such a good sport – we made that little gem in about 30 seconds with obvious very low production value but we just wanted to get an idea of what we could do:)

Chroma Key (http://www.chroma-key.com/)www. sells green screens and green screen paint but honestly with the Doink App, you can even use bulletin board paper as the app allows you to adjust the color. Please know that the PSTA has generously funded the purchase of a handful of green screens which you can use any time (all different sizes).

The Lower School has been using  Green Screen to film WEGL in the morning for the Lower School News but  has also used the Green Screen with the Stop Motion App for students to create the most amazing Stop Motion videos. Further below are links to two articles, one by Dan Callahan and the second article is by Greg Kulowiec who writes about app smashing (using one or more apps together to produce a piece of work). He writes about using Hyperlapse, the super cool new app that allows for time lapse photography, along with Doink for a student to explain their piece of art as they create it – below that is a similar exploration. Really, Green Screen technology works for any age, for any curriculum. It is engaging, fun and only limited by your imagination. 

Here’s the basics of how Doink works:

DoInk Green Screen App is going to blow your mind http://remixteaching.com/2013/10/doink-green-screen-app-is-going-to-blow-your-mind-ipaded/

Hyperlapse & DoInk X App-Smashing