Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Students & Teachers Expand Boundaries Together

Rockets Help Desk and several other RMHS students had the opportunity to present to the Expanding the Boundaries of Teaching and Learning cohort.  This group of forward-thinking teachers from throughout our district enthusiastically worked with Reading students on the philosophy and workflow behind a paperless classroom.

The presentation started with a teacher perspective on the philosophy behind a paperless classroom.  The most important points made were that a paperless environment gives kids more ownership in their learning and makes the learning more transparent for students, teachers, and parents.

Then the students talked about the workflow:

  • Access - Julia discussed how students can access readings, video clips, and other resources through teacher-created QR codes instead of paper handouts. Also, the resources are saved in the QR reader's history on her device, so they are never lost.
  • Record - Tessa explained how she records her learning in a cloud-based note-taking app called Evernote.  All her notes are automatically saved and dated, so they don't get lost and it is nearly impossible to be disorganized.
  • Analyze - Megan showed how she uses Skitch to analyze and annotate political cartoons, graphs, and art.  These annotated images can be saved right in Evernote.
  • Collaborate - Melanie let teachers get a peak at her expansive use of Google Drive to share ideas and learning with her classmates.  She also showed how Drive can make it easier to co-author presentations and essays.  Also, teachers can give students more personalized feedback using the comment and discussion features.
  • Create - Christina shared that she likes to create impressive evidence of her learning by making high quality videos with apps like Animoto.
  • Demonstrate Learning - Kyle talked about submitted proof of learning via a blog instead of by taking a test. He mentioned that he thinks its easier to remember information he's written about than it is when he's memorized for a test.  He also appreciates the way a blog creates a record of his progress in a class over time.
Throughout the presentation, students and teachers had a backchannel conversation using TodaysMeet.  Students answered teacher questions and added links to additional resources to enrich the conversation.  For many of the teachers present, it was their first experience with backchannel.

For the second half of our time together, teachers and students sat down in small groups. They brainstormed how to integrate this new mindset in their classrooms at all age levels and in all school buildings around the district.

Megan shows high school and middle school teachers how
to annotate images with Skitch.

Melanie and Julia show elementary and middle school teachers
 how to appsmash with Paper by 53 and Padlet.

Christina shows elementary school teachers how to
create a video with Animoto.
Kyle shows middle and elementary teachers how to use
Timeline by RWT with students.

The students left the afternoon proud of the way they shared their ideas about learning with some of their teachers, past and present.  One elementary school teacher tweeted later last night.

Then, she turned around and tried TodaysMeet to backchannel with her students right away today!

We are looking forward to meeting with some of the cohort teachers and their students in the coming weeks and months.  We want to build our relationship with schools throughout the district so that we can be a service for all students and teachers looking to expand their boundaries.

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