A big part of 21st Century learning is helping students learn to make their voice heard. There is so much media available now that goes beyond the typical work that students have created in their classes. Writing, speaking, and presenting are all becoming more important skills every day.
Kids have access to almost endless sources to find information very quickly. The real challenge (and where deep learning takes place) is when students are expected to make connections and share their thinking. At Brandon we value the thinking of all students. The fourth key principle to Cultures of Thinking is:
"As educators, we must strive to make students thinking visible. It is only by
making thinking visible that we can begin to understand both what and how our
students are learning. Under normal conditions, a studentʼs thinking is invisible to other students, the teacher, and even to him/herself... By using structures, routines, probing questions, and documentation we can make studentsʼ thinking more visible toward fostering better thinking and learning." -Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, http://goo.gl/YkrXrx
One tool we use to make thinking visible is Educreations. Educreations is a digital whiteboard app. Students start with a blank canvas, then they add pictures, writing, text, and voice-over recording to create videos that bring their thinking to life. It is an excellent way for students to produce something that is both meaningful and engaging.
Most students are familiar with this sort of video, people like Sal Khan have been creating whiteboard style videos to teach concepts for a while now. Students enjoy creating something that is the same quality as the videos they learn from. Having students engaged, thinking, and presenting is an awesome way to drive students to be independent self-motivated learners. Educreations is a tool that helps students do all three of those things.
Common sense tells us that good communication can build relationships and increase trust, but did you know good communication can also boost your child's engagement in school?
I've made an infographic below about the ways my partner teacher and
i communicate with families.
It's been a while, but I can assure you we've been just as busy! A few things that have happened:
1. iOS 8 launched! Great updates for iPads, but a pretty big download. We've been working on getting the iPads a Harvey Swanson and Oakwood in great, useful, working order.
2. Parent nights for Bridges and iPads. We have had excellent turnout for parent nights at OES and HSE. It's so great to see everyone excited about the new opportunities for Brandon elementary students! If you have any questions please contact your classroom teachers.
3. It's spirit week! It's great to see good tradition mixed with great 21st century learning.
I'll do another check in soon as we continue to get the technology working for our kids.
Instructional Technology Coach