Fostering Writing and Collaboration with Google Docs

Teaching ChannelHigh school English teacher, Sarah Brown Wessling, shares strategies for promoting collaborative writing inside and outside of the classroom. Wessling highlights that such lessons also promote digital etiquette, provide opportunities for teachers to provide rich feedback, and provide teachers with insights into the individual student’s or the collaborative group’s writing process.

Google+ Communities

Google+I’m a big, big fan of Google+. It’s a very big component of my personal learning network (PLN). Here are some thoughts about about why I prefer Google+ over the other social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). I encourage everyone to take a look at Google+’s services and consider taking advantage of them.

Friend Me

Please feel free to friend me on Google+. Then browse through my Links and Other Profiles to make connections, collaborate, and share resources through other networks. As I frequently say, “Together we learn more.”

Google+ Communities

I’ve developed several Google+ Communities where we can interact and share resources around particular topics. I invite you to join and actively contribute to all of these groups in which you have an interest/expertise.

Sounds Good to Me: Learning and Digital Audio

Yesterday, at the Mississippi Educational Computing Association Conference, I had the opportunity to share ideas for integrating digital audio with teaching and learning. One of my doctoral students, Fair Josey, collaborated with me on this workshop. I’m sharing the workshop information and resources here in response to inquiries I received last night via Twitter and Facebook. I hope that you find this useful and invite you to share your ideas for using digital audio in the classroom and at home.

Workshop Description

Enable students to make their thinking visible through the use of digital audio. Learn how recorded tutorials and messages, storycasts, book trailers, audio chatting and commenting, teacher recorded feedback, and more can enable students to engage with course content inside and outside the classroom and better equip parents to help with homework. Several freely available websites and apps will be demonstrated. Strategies for designing lessons and practical tips for implementation will be shared. Connections to special education, foreign language, and ELL classrooms will also be made.

You can view the workshop slides – which include video tutorials, links to examples of student projects, and more – by clicking on the image below. All the workshop materials and resources are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

Learning with Digital Audio

Storybird: Encourage Creativity, Promote Writing, & Add Excitement to Reports, Presentations, & Tutorials – for #isummitconf

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories, presentations, reports, or tutorials you and your students make to share, read, and print. Storybird is a fun, collaborative website that can be integrated in all content areas. It can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. STEM and social studies teachers can use Storybird for engaging alternatives to traditional lessons, reports and presentations. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s work.

Participants will be guided in setting up accounts and helped as they begin using Storybird.com’s tools and services. Participants will learn how to use the teacher-specific tools.

Below are my slides from this workshop that I’m sharing today at iSummit in Atlanta, GA. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

View more presentations from Clif Mims
Example Storybirds

Halloween Brothers on Storybird

 

You’re Mootiful on Storybird

 

Teaching through “Questioning” Rather Than “Telling”

Harvard’s Project Zero: Part 2

One of the principles that is of major emphasis at Project Zero is teaching for understanding. The following video is loosely connected with this idea. I intend to go into greater depth about teaching for understanding in upcoming posts in this series.

“You can forget facts,
but you can not forget understanding.”

Eric Mazur, Harvard University

“How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? In From Questions to Concepts, Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time teaching — two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning. Using these techniques in his innovative undergraduate physics course, Mazur demonstrates how lectures and active learning can be successfully combined” (Source).

NOTE: This video is also available as part of another DVD, Interactive Teaching, which contains advice on using peer instruction and just-in-time teaching to promote better learning.

For more videos on teaching, visit the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

 

The Floating University: What If All the World’s Best Thinkers Could Be Your Teachers?

The Floating University is a new educational media venture that creates and distributes online multimedia curricula, rich in text, video, animation and graphics, that feature today’s biggest thinkers, practitioners and leading scholars.

Their  video lectures “are paired with related texts to introduce complex multidisciplinary subjects in an entertaining and engaging way. Whether you’re a life long learner or a current university student, [their] goal is to take you on a journey of discovery into myriad disciplines — to let you explore unfamiliar territory in a new light — and to pose questions that will encourage critical thinking and robust debate.

For schools, they “aim to invert the traditional lecture model of learning to focus valuable classroom time on interaction, exchange, and discussion, rather than on the passive consumption of live, in-person lectures” (Source).

The Floating University launched last fall with an online course offered at Harvard, Yale and Bard and delivered the key takeaways of an entire undergraduate education. Learn more in this short video.

Disrupting Education: There Are No Boundaries to Knowledge Anymore

This clip/commercial has really gotten in my head. I keep thinking about the juxtaposition of traditional education, innovation, reform, media and technology that this represents. I see this as a sort of a microcosm of what so many of us are talking about and involved in education. In this clip we see a disruptive innovation, online and/or hybrid learning, and some would argue that the classroom has been flipped. I see connections between this delivery platform and the notion that some have that failing schools would improve if they had access to the best teachers. In higher education reports indicate that more and more students are preferring the perceived flexibility of online courses and institutions are strategically planning how they intend to respond.

I’m also really curious to see how interactive and engaging the courses are and how effective they are at promoting creativity and critical thinking. These terms are used frequently on the site and in this video. I also noticed on the website that everything is optimized for use on the iPad which could open the door for interesting opportunities related to engagement. However, I often see teachers, schools, and institutions make similar claims under the pervasive but misguided notion that the very act of using technology makes instruction more effective and more engaging while automatically promoting higher levels of thinking. That just isn’t accurate. Given the reputations of the universities and lecturers involved as well as the feature-rich and content-rich Floating University and Big Think websites I’m going to speculate that they are doing at least a respectable job, and perhaps even better, in these areas. I would enjoy the opportunity to view and experience the Floating University’s courses for myself. The idea of “robust debate” in an online class sounds like fun to me!

Change is in the air. I wonder how all of this will play out over the next few years and subsequent decades. We’ll we resolve these matters or will they have to be solved by the next generation(s) of educators? Perhaps you’ll share your reactions to the the Floating University and to some of the thoughts I have shared.

Developing Young Authors with Storybird

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. It is a fun, collaborative, storytelling website that can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s writing development.

Below are my slides from this workshop. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

View more Presentations from Clif Mims
Example Storybirds

Halloween Brothers on Storybird

 

You’re Mootiful on Storybird

School-Wide Implementation of Evernote

Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web. Evernote is a great tool for teachers and students to capture notes, save research, collaborate on projects, snap photos of whiteboards, record audio and more. Everything you add to your account is automatically synced and made available on all the computers, phones and tablets you use.

The Montclair Kimberly Academy, a K-12 school in Montclair NJ, has deployed Evernote to all student laptops. Here’s their story.

Learn more in this interview as Bill Stites, Director of Technology at the Montclair Kimberley Academy, describes the school’s Evernote deployment.

Evernote Premium For Schools offers all the features, services and benefits, bundled together for your school at a discounted rate. Perfect for groups of teachers, classrooms, whole schools or entire districts. Evernote Premium For Schools is available at a 50% discount off of individually purchased premium accounts.

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