Thursday, 22 November 2012

HIgh School iLearning Share

We were fortunate to have four colleagues take time to share how they're using technology to enhance and support student learning. I think the days of sitting a large captive audience down in front of one speaker for an hour are numbered as a professional learning model. As so many more opportunities for how, when, and where people can learn skills (I'm looking at you YouTube), it makes sense to focus on providing context to the tech applications we're teaching. And, there's no better way to do that than from peer-sharing.

The model we used had about 60 staff together in a conference room. We had four teacher volunteers present an aspect of their practice to a small group in a short-sharp demo lasting between 5-7 minutes. Staff were free to select where they went and got to see two of the four presenters in a twenty minute period which was actually enough time for them to show their application and even take a few questions.  The only complaint I heard was that people wanted to see all four! #win

Here's a recap of what was presented:

Cameron Hunter showed how he is producing podcasts for his students using  Quicktime Player to make a screen recording. He mentioned that using the Apple iPhone earbuds microphone produces nice sound quality and cuts down on background noise. Cameron uses a variety of input devices including the Wacom Bamboo tablet. He likes it because it allows him to do fine writing (better than on an iPad) and is a comfortable way to input text. He also uses a Hovercam document camera to capture video of things like models as he explains them. Cameron has been sharing his podcasts by uploading them to the Google Drive and then providing the links on his class pages.

Jensen Hjroth demonstrated how visualization can be used to support learning using an iPad running the Doceri app and the Doceri Desktop software. Doceri allows you to control your Mac remotely via the iPad touch screen. In drawing mode, you can annotate on top of what ever is showing on your laptop. Jensen showed how he uses the digital microscopes to show students the standard of what they are expected to see on their own microscopes. He annotated and labeled things for them and then switched to a plain white background to show them how to sketch and label a diagram appropriately. This kind of modeling and visualization make instructions very clear to students. Jensen talked about a variety of thing you can do with Doceri on the iPad including passing the iPad to students to do the annotating. You can also record your annotations and voice to make a movie that would be great for student revision. This way doesn't require any additional work as you can record the lesson "live" as you teach it.

Jackie Price is using iPads and the Explain Everything app with her students. She showed how you can set up and record a movie with the app that allows you to produce videos with live drawings and voice explanations. This kind of tool is great for students to produce a style of video we call Learning Talks where students draw and solve a problem while explaining their thinking process. This is one of the best ways to capture student metacognition and it allows you quickly to assess the depth of their understanding. These videos aren't typically polished productions, rather they're short (1-2 min), rough explanations.

Ellie Alchin shared how she used Today's Meet as a "backchannel" chat to get short, sharp notes in 140 characters or less. As students contribute they can see what others write and learn that they don't also have to say the same thing. It's also good modeling for them as they can see what points others are latching onto that they may be missing  or dismissed as unimportant. Ellie likes to download the transcript and make it available for her students so that they can debrief it and use it in their notes. One technique she uses is to get students to really pick out example posts that show deep understanding.
Students can download the transcript of the backchannel chat in an editable format and then use that as the basis for their own class notes, quoting things taken from the chat.

I'd love to hear what ideas that you've got following this session and I'm happy to support you if you want to try any of these in your classroom. 

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