Moving at the Speed of Creativity!
I visited the blog page of Wes Fryer’s “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” (http://www.speedofcreativity.org/), and one of the postings was about Creating Multimedia eBooks. The posting actually linked to an audio file of Wes presenting this idea in a Chicago conference, which was pretty cool. I was able to attend an hour-long conference given in Chicago without leaving the comfort of my living room! Fryer maintains that a student-created eBook will provide a unique opportunity for students to “show what they know” in a narrative that gives them someplace to make meaning of their education.
A student-created eBook in the math classroom might work differently than in English class. This would be the perfect chance for students to “show what they know” using informational and technical writing rather than the narrative, creative writing they’ve become so familiar with. They could create a book on How to Solve Exponential Equations or How to Use the Vertical Line Test…the possibilities are endless! Using any number of the digital storytelling tools discussed in Thing #19, students could show what they know through something other than the typical paper-and-pencil test.
eBooks could be used as a form of assessment in the classroom, but the creation of the book fulfills a number of CITW best practices. Through reinforcing effort and providing recognition, students will be published authors, and I’m not sure what gets much better than that as far as recognition. Students are able to do summarizing and note-taking as they put together the information needed for their math eBooks, and they will certainly need some non-linguistic representations as storyboards and other organizational tools are used to put their story together.
The production of these student-created eBooks will modify and redefine the lesson through the SAMR Model. A common task might ask students to write what they know about exponential equations or even complete 20-30 practice problems. The collaboration and sharing of this book also redefines what was ever thought possible in this type of lesson. Students can use technology to open up their math world from something mundane to something that engages and interests them.
Wow! I was simply blown away by the emerging technology tools that almost seem like something from the SciFy channel rather than something that could potentially be used in my classroom, realistically! I was particularly fond of the 3D printer. We explore volumes and surface areas of 3D objects often in 7th grade geometry lessons, and the 3d printer would allow students to construct their own 3d objects. The programming tools are essential to our students because as they are strong consumers of technology, it is also important for them to learn how it all works, as well. This would certainly lead to a potential career in programming and engineering. However, the one item that was literally jaw-dropping was Google Glass. My husband and I travel quite a bit, and to be able to bring my experiences back to my students, even LIVE, is something that you just can’t put a pricetag on…especially in the rural, low-income community in which I teach. The students in my classroom typically haven’t ever left the state, let alone the country, and so something like Google Glass would give them an educational experience like no other. I can envision the social studies teacher taking something like this on the 8th Grade Washington, DC trip (only about 1/3 of the class is ever able to afford to go). Those students that stay behind could link up with their teacher an be right there in DC with the rest of their classmates! Amazing! Truly amazing! For math, I could take Google Glass along to show where math can be found in all corners of the world, or go into another math classroom in another country (we are visiting Jamaica next spring, and I already have plans to visit a middle-level classroom) and share with my students. Wow!! Watching the video of the advanced physics teacher nearly brought me to tears…. THIS is what teaching is all about!
I see the importance and the trend of BYOD in classrooms, but because or school policy for so long has included a strict enforcement and zero tolerance of “no cell phones or electronic devices in the classroom” rule…this is going to be a tough adjustment for me, only because I am so programmed that devices in the classroom are “bad”.
Pros…Students won’t have to rely on the iPads on the cart to be available to us for the hour or for a computer lab to be free…they will already have their device. It would also give the students an opportunity to use their device for something other than the Facebook ranting and Twitter crawling in which they currently participate. They can become more educated in how to use technology above and beyond the basics.
Cons…My biggest concern is that because the school policy has been so strict in the past, students will see a BYOD policy as a “free for all”. I worry that they’ll have their devices out, texting, and they won’t get ANYTHING educational completed in class. I worry that they will be taking pictures/videos of each other, and me, and the information will be posted out of context and in embarrassing circumstances for all parties involved.
My opinion….it’s certainly a trend that can be a great resource, provided the structure and consistent rules are put in place. Our principal has already proposed a new cell phone policy that involves the colors discussed in the Thing #21 lesson. The red, yellow, green status of the classroom should help to remind students of what should be going on with their devices at any given time. The zero tolerance policy of our school board was creating a battle that the faculty just could not win. Perhaps as we teach students the appropriate use of their devices in a public setting, they will be better prepared for their lives after school.
1a Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness – Applying something such as Google Glass into the classroom would certainly be an example of promoting, supporting, and modeling an innovative way of thinking.
2d Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards, and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching – As students create their own eBooks, as mentioned above, they would be producing an excellent example of what exactly the understand about the content discussed. The information gathered from their books would certainly let the instructor know what needs to be adjusted and discussed next.
5b Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others – As I was reading through the blog of Wes Fryer (http://www.speedofcreativity.org/), I noticed that there was a call for Google certified teachers and trainers. This would be something that I would LOVE to do. Over the summer, I have taken this whole Google world (which had been a completely confusing mystery to me), and turned it into something that I’m already using in my BLiC course and intend to use with my students. As a Google educator, I would be able to share this with my colleagues and my community as well.
CITW – Best Practice
1 Cues, questions, advanced organizers – Taking all of the emerging ideas and tools in technology and putting them to use for students will take some dedication. It’s difficult to make changes, especially when it is easier to just keep things the same as they were before. Pushing students to ask questions about what type of tool or resource could be created to make a specific task easier, encouraging them to develop those ideas….that true learning!
2 Assigning homework and practice – Students could be asked to research or try out an emerging tool and report back to the class. This would encourage them to try new things and to become critical consumers, determining what works best for them and their situation.