The Kitchen Table

Bring the Home into the Classroom – Literally!

cuvbcmxwiaafxweWhat is one artifact or symbol that can literally make students feel “at home” in the classroom? An artifact that can ease stress, encourage conversations,  build relationships, have no limitations of age or ability and be completely  diverse in nature?

A KITCHEN TABLE!

In our home, The Kitchen Table is not just where we gather for meals but where we gather to talk about our day. It is the first stop when getting up in the morning, returning from a walk or coming home from work.  Where we throw down our keys, where we pile up our books and add to the week’s worth of newspapers. It is where we charge our phones and open our computers and play our music. It is our card table, our game table, an art centre and a sewing station.  It is where the mail gets read and sorted and where the bills get paid. The table is a space for food preparation, for sorting groceries and for sharing surprise snacks.  Sometimes, the table is our refuge after a long day- a safe place to sit and gather, where we talk and plan and discuss and cry.  Our best arguments happen around the table and our best apologies follow. Sometimes, it is a place to sit together in silence reading or writing.

Whatever it is and whatever time of day – it is always a safe place to be ourselves, to take risks, to be honest, to be vulnerable and to love one another.

And so, in effort to create an environment of trust, we brought the Kitchen table (literally)  into the classroom and  built a kitchen around it. We created a situation –  a small space, a “feeling” where students could be vulnerable, tell stories, laugh, cry and be themselves. The following 2 minute video gives an excellent description of why we start and end our day at the Kitchen Table. 

Our Kitchen Philosophy

We strive to connect MIND, BODY & SPIRIT by connecting what we study with  HOME. FOOD is a NEED that connects Families and develops COMMUNITIES. The development of a COMMUNITY of learners allows students to take risks, be mentors, have leadership opportunities and push the boundaries of their learning.

We address the role of the family and the community in our daily living.

We value our connection to the land by creating and sharing healthy snacks and meals.

We offer experiential learning opportunities.

We discuss respect for the group process and the significance of balance in all aspects of our lives.

 

When we are HOME we feel free to be ourselves !

We all can LEARN & GROW together!

Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

I am excited, thrilled and honoured to be given the opportunity to present some of  my experiences as a Teacher and Researcher, in particular how and why I am using Minecraft in my Maker/Learning Space. I look forward to meeting, sharing and collaborating with the many innovative and curious educators that will be attending ISTE and hopefully attending my session on:

Monday, June 29, 12:45–1:45 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
Building/Room: PCC 108

What will I be presenting? Sharing?

This year, I co-created and facilitated programming at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre, at the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. I’ve tried to write and share my experiences and personal reflections throughout the past school year. In one post, I write about the Classroom Design and I call it, “A little Starbucks and a little Kindergarten” . In another post called, “Problems that Matter…Where our Inquiry Started…and never ended.”. Here, I share what it is like to teach in an “ideal” learning environment where all students are given an Individual Education Plan, where there are no bells and no interruptions and where the class is infused with a variety of technologies. In another post, I share how I infused the Inquiry Process with Minecraft and literacy and provide a sample lesson plan called, “The Road Not Taken”. Here, student deconstruct and then reconstruct the Famous poem, by Robert Frost.

Please join me on Monday where I will discuss further, some strategies on how to implement Minecraft and other creative tools into the classroom space.  Here is a sample of what I will be sharing:

A little Kindergarten and A little Starbucks – Universal Classroom Design

We designed our learning space with a little Kindergarden and a little Starbucks  – Here is how it happened:

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In June 2014, we were informed that we would be moving to an empty/unused classroom at Holbrook School (HWDSB). We were also informed that our proposal for new technology was granted which included 1:1 computers, projector, interactive whiteboard, doc camera (microscope), tablets, 3D printer, and NXT Robotics. Regardless of the fact that we were at the mercy of the physical space and size, including windows, electricity and lighting, we were absolutely pumped to design our “dream” classroom space that was Universal  for all learners.


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maker space

 

From the onset, we wanted a space that not only engaged students to be active participants in their own learning, but also a place where all learners could feel comfortable, safe and part of a community.

 

 

 

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We would create an environment that felt completely different from a “traditional” classroom and yet was full of big ideas, information, tools and learning, and of course, with full guidance from a variety of educators.  There would be a mix of exploration, hands-on learning and inquiry, but with a ‘bistro’ or ‘coffee shop’ feeling. We would end each day with a cup of tea and a group circle to ensure that every single student would be seen, heard and valued. Community would be vital to making this work.

 

This space would be where students or adults could sit around and table talk, listen and create ideas together – to be active learners and leaders.  In this space, students wouldn’t be judged and wouldn’t place judgement on others, but instead, would welcome differences and offer support, skills and talent whenever needed. This space, in some way, would speak to every single student and would welcome all abilities.

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SCIENCEIMG_5233We would respect the quiet learners but would also encourage team and cooperative learning in variety of ways, including game-based learning, through the ARTs and infused with technology and design.

 localbig questionAbove all, we would centre our program around Social Justice and local/global issues. This  learning environment would match our beliefs and values about how students learn best and would reflect the changing nature of learning (and teaching).

 

 

In the room, there would be strong emphasis on Critical Literacy. Inquiry questions and Big Ideas would provide focus for exploration of Millenium Goals (United Nations) and for both guided and self-directed learning. A writing and podcast centre would  provide resources such as Livescribe Pens, Journals (for co-written topics) and a variety of choices for students to write, draw and share at their level and interest.

alternative spaces

The room design would  recognizes the need for quiet and individuality when learning, and so, we would design a small and separate space for “chilling” – one that resembles a most cozy living room (lamp, curtains, carpet, couch and books).  It would be a goal to ensure that even the most “anxious” learner could find a place where he/she felt comfortable to engage in inquiry.

 

 

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Our space would speak to our strong belief, that Health and Fitness are what “Matters Most”. We would plant a small herb garden, healing plants, and provide literature dedicated to healthy living, including fitness, balance, and mental health. We would practise and model an environmentalist approach to living through recycling and composting. Maintaining a worm composting system teaches students how to create fertile soil and to learn what it means to be self-sustaining.

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The entrance of the room would demonstrate that the ARTS would define our space, not technology. We would use the giant wall space to create a Green Screen for video productions and storytelling  and we would reserve a large section of the space for Visual Arts. We would ensure that music was available for listening or playing. We envisioned students gathering around a shared space to compose, play and create.

 

We would reserve one side of the room for group laptops, ipads and an apple TV for sharing. Close by would be the 3D Makerbot printer along with tablets and computers allocated specifically for design and engineering.  We would use creative programs like Minecraft, Tinkercad, Lego NXT Sketchpad, Spore and Portal2 (to name a few) to engage students in design concepts as well as provide opportunity for them to co-create.

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It would be incredible to create a space for our students to tinker, take things apart and build. If space allowed, we would dedicate an area for lego and whatever building materials we could get our hands on. We hope to teach “maker skills” like cooking, and knitting.

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ART

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We would combine our Science and Math spaces which allowed for personalized exploration. We would set up manipulatives, both physical and virtual to help engage students in real world problems, including city planning. The interactive Smartboard would be used solely for student led activities and would always have Google Earth and current news sites up in the background. We would infuse other technology with the interactive smartboard including a Ladybug Document Camera so our students could examine the world around them – in detail.

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We would recognize the need for clarity in voice and listening and would use a classroom amplification system. Students and teachers could share, speak and be heard – effortlessly.

 

 

 

Our physical space would be blended with an online space. Students would have access to online learning (E-Learning). We could post information, offer feedback and provide opportunity for rich discussions, even when students were not present. We could use collaborative tools like Office 365, Google Documents, Mindomo and Voice Thread (to name a few)  to share work and allow for natural and engaging extensions.  We would further use or connectivity to reach out to leaders, learners and experts around the world, to network, share and make connections.


 

We were truly given the opportunity of a lifetime – to create a universally designed learning space that modeled changing teaching and learning practices.

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We would honour this goal: to open our space for all learners – of all ages and abilities, to respect difference and to recognize that learning and teaching are in a constant state of flux. Here, we will create a classroom environment that would be used as a demonstration for others  that are also seeking ways to enrich their own program through inquiry and project based learning spaces.

 

Do we facilitate 21st Century means of Acquiring Knowledge?

Student using Minecraft to create representations of learning

Student using Minecraft to create representations of learning

I asked my students this question.  How do you acquire knowledge?   95% said – Books and Youtube/Internet (the other way around, actually).   About 5 % said Teachers. Ouch.  As I write this post, my son sits across the table watching a video/story about Minecraft World. He tells me that this is how he “learns how to craft”. My other son reads Reddit threads to learn/improve his skills on Java.

 

 

 

 

Matt Henderson asked me to think about and share my opinions of the following question:

How do people acquire knowledge and how can teachers facilitate this process effectively?

My quick answer- books.

I can’t help but think about the Printing Press of the 1400’s and forward. I am quite certain that when books and newspapers were made readily available to more people, the ability to learn and acquire knowledge must have grown exponentially.  No doubt, the Printing Press changed the world.

Then we added an audio medium  (although I know it was audio way before that, when people just told stories), when the radio (early 1900’s) was invented and the audience got even bigger. Not to mention, those who couldn’t read for whatever reason, suddenly had an opportunity – a freeing opportunity – to listen and learn.  Again, a fine example of extending knowledge and information to a broader context. There is no doubt, the radio changed the world.

Then, a few decades later came the Television. There are still people alive today that can talk about how both, the TV and Radio changed their lives.  With all these methods of information delivery (books, text, audio, video), the message was still based on a certain perspective, value or point of view. This, we know, can (and did) cause enormous suffrage.

How we acquire and interact with information changed yet again, introducing another medium. Along with the internet, we have portable ‘vehicles’ or ‘vessels’ that can share information, not just in print, but now, in combination with audio, video and text. And to take it further, we can change, edit, create and re-create the information in pairs, teams, groups, classrooms and communities regardless of our space or location.

With this said, I change my previous answer. How I acquire information and “knowledge”  is no longer dependent on a single source or text, but on my ability to gather a variety of ideas, opinions, and research that are ever changing and then employ collaborative and ongoing change. It also depends on a burning question or an inquiry that I simply MUST know. Quite honestly, it is inspiring and empowering to find my own answers and exciting to know that my answers lead to more ideas, more information and more knowledge.

Admittedly, I am slightly frustrated that so many our school systems continue to teach students based on the model invented by Printed Press. Or, that we continue to drive information and knowledge that is based on a single point of view (picked by a publisher). Our textbooks, content standards and even our standardized tests are often outsourced regardless of the fact that communication technologies can bring in access to information…to people…to communities all over the world.

As teachers, we need to embrace the idea of blended learning and the use of a variety of technologies and mediums.  Online, there are communities and resources where students can engage in rich discussions, problem based tasks, authentic inquires – but with a variety of supports and mediums. While in-class, students and teachers can share meaningful discussions and can use their understanding of the entire person (voice, body language, eye-contact, physical /mental health) to guide needs and next steps.  Teachers can coach students through thoughtful and provoking questions and as a way to get them to think more deeply about the topic, to want to learn and find more.

Again, Matt asks me to reflect on how I personally acquire knowledge and foster acquisition in my learning environment.

I can look up and learn in any format that I need and self-evaluate until I am certain that I fully understand the skill or drill. I am no longer at the mercy of that single, all knowing, knowledge possessing teacher/leader. My resource pool has grown from the single textbook or course article to many many many sources and people, primary and secondary – including my students!  I have become more critical of information and resources which has led me to think more deeply and reflect more authentically.

I recently wrote an article that discusses the dichotomies of Assessment in Education and I think this relates well to this topic, probably because in education we are consistently finding ways to Assess if and how our students have acquired knowledge and yet, the dichotomy of how students are acquiring knowledge in their “real” lives is quite different then their experiences at school with learning.

The Assessment Barrier – http://www.cea-ace.ca/blog/zoe-branigan-pipe/2013/10/5/assessment-barrier

“There is no reason that students today need to feel isolated or trapped by assessment. Learners can access facts and information in a variety of ways – if we let them.

Teachers can provide assessment and feedback in multiple of ways. Students can apply their learning to creative and real world situations – if we trust them. They can show their learning in audio and visual formats – if we show them. They can use online tools to review and master new skills and can collaborate or discuss ideas anytime and from anywhere – if we encourage them.

Educators today, can access professional development, current information, networks of learners and online tools in ways that didn’t exist even a decade ago. The assessment barrier is only a reality – if we let it be.

My Working Memory Deficit (and why I plead to educators to find other ways)

IMG_0136It is logical to conclude that many educators and leaders lead and teach like they were once led and taught. Why not? They were  good at it. They are the one’s that succeeded – the ones that were just fine learning through rigid assessments, text based assignments, memory driven tasks, criterion based and teacher directed/controlled learning with siloed subjects and curriculum. It is perhaps why we continue to hold on, so dearly, to these methods and pedagogies, even in a world where information and knowledge resources are at an abundance and in a variety of mediums.

 

In 2007, I read a post by Scott Mcleod called “What do students need to Memorize”. What resonated me the most was his observation (and perhaps prediction) that the kinds of skills that employers are looking for in years to come, might not be those that were once seen as essential in the industrial age . In fact, Scott’s post gave me a strong sense of solace because I always struggled with the methods and pedagogies used during my own education, as he puts it, “those needed by workers in the industrial age factory line economy”. In many ways, I was forced to adapt to a method of learning that was counter to my learning needs and as a result I became really good at finding accommodations, alternatives and tricks that would one day not only put me ahead, but to help me truly understand those learners that do not ‘fit’ within the confines of academia.

Working memory and processing deficits were barriers for me as a learner, and sometimes they still are. I remember, like it was yesterday, spending hours trying to memorize vocabulary tests only to get half the words correct – every time. Math wasn’t as much of a problem, until I was forced to memorize formulas. That hurt. I never understood why they wouldn’t just give me the formula and let me apply it to something useful. It is why I struggled to read at the same level and pace as my peers, or why I audio recorded every one of the lectures during my post secondary education and graduate studies. To pass my psychology courses, I used to pin “fact sheets” to the walls in every room of our house until the names of certain functions or theories were embedded in my brain. And during my grad studies, it is why I read my text books and journal articles to both my children when they were just infants. It is why I struggled to complete memory fill-in-the-blank type tests and why I hated history, but loved Geography. It is why, as a teacher, I advocated so strongly for a more liberal ‘hand-held’ device policy back in 2002, when my place of employment banned them from all classrooms – my palm pilot offered a dictionary and thesaurus at my finger tips and I learned how to search for facts, words, information on a whim.

No matter how many tests or quizzes I got, no teacher in the world could “cure” or “teach” me to have a better working memory. Think of it as wearing glasses. No matter how many strategies or lectures or videos or lessons you got without the glasses, you still cannot see clearly unless the glasses are on, right? Interestingly, other than at school, I cannot think of a single day that I was discouraged to use any of my self-made accommodations that helped me with memory and spelling. In fact, I learned to think quickly, find information fast, problem solve, and work with others – these were the essential skills that I needed to survive. According to Scott, I might seem quite prepared for the 21st Century! And my lack of quick recall and need for accommodation did not put me at a disadvantage in the real world – only at school.

Now, almost 2014, we continue to have debates around the usefulness of spelling tests or open book math tests. We continue to test kids on their understanding of our courses and place a certain ‘blame’ on them when their grades don’t meet our standard. We continue to teach students in an unnatural environment – that we ourselves could not succeed in given the same circumstances: No internet, no computer/tech devices and constant evaluation. We continue to see classroom technology as “assistive” rather than universal. We continue to confuse memorization with knowledge and knowledge with intelligence.

I implore you to travel back to 2007 and re-read Scott’s post about Memorization. Ask yourself why, 7 years later, we continue to argue this point.  Even better, take a look at the comments and discussion that ensued. Are we ready to accept some of these ideas and thoughts? Are we ready to separate the concepts memory and understanding?

 

 

 

 

World of Sand Challenge – Problem Solving, Inquiry – and fun.

“Salt and water combine to form salt water, which sinks below pure water. Heating up salt water causes it to split back into salt water and steam. Steam rises and condenses, eventually forming water droplets. Plants drink water and grow, but die if exposed to salt water. And that’s just three of the nineteen materials available for you to draw.” – World of Sand

What I’ve discovered most about my students in this Gifted program, is that they want challenge. Not just any challenge, but a challenge that doesn’t have just one answer, but a myriad of possibilities. They want a challenge that can be done, and re-done over and over, with different results or possibilities. They want to create the challenge, to ask the questions, and to discover solutions. The epitome of inquiry?

Today, one of the students finally got to implement HIS challenge. Details posted on his blog post – “World of Sand Challenge” (A comment on his post would result in a  smile).

Using the REFLECTION app on the SMARTBOARD along with the iPad app World of Sand, he demonstrated how to combine the elements, tools and chemicals to create reactions. Once the students had a chance to practice, he set specific guidelines: Acid, Liquid Fire and Acid to be set as “automatic” – in that order. The problem? Combine the other elements so that these elements/chemicals do not touch bottom of screen.

 

Here is one student explaining their result. I feel humbled to be part of their learning journey.

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

“What?, you’ve been banned from 8 different servers?” I shrieked at my 11 year old son.  

“It’s part of the game – to build trust, act normal, get more responsibility from the server owner and then, destroy” he explained.

I gasped.

 

“In many servers, the point is to build and protect. If you are in a server shared by others, you always take the risk of having your things stolen and your creations destroyed…but for some players, hacking into a server and destroying is the main point”.

I gasped. “But it’s not nice…..”
So he explains, “most teachers and adults aren’t even aware of what is going on in the background of the server and chats”. He grins and asks me, “Do you know that most of us can get the brute force server hosting password?”  “Do you know how many servers don’t use ‘world guard or world bucket’ plugins to protect the word, protect the players?”
Minecraft is Boring.  The real fun and thrill comes from the design, the programming and the challenge. What we do in schools is just the “Basics”. Boring.

I gasped. “Where do you learn all this stuff then?”

“Online. Together.  Youtube”  Never school.

I gasped. “What about Ethics? Character? Kindness?”, I wonder. I continue to wonder (now with my TEACHER LENS),  “I’ve never heard of a school based PD about Minecraft servers, or world bucket”. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard of a mandatory in-service, PD session about any social gaming , or media tool or strategy. 

Step Up Districts and Schools. Parents can’t do this alone.   Make Social Media and Blended Learning Strategies as much a priority as traditional literacies. Be accountable and insist that all teachers have a solid understanding of the tools, strategies, and pedagogies so that we can help kids navigate in these online social environments. I want my children and my students to be safe online to understand online risks, and to have a chance to practice good online citizenship under the direction, coaching and support of a knowledgeable teacher. Help our children understand the hard and soft skills associated with these environments – help their parents understand how to coach, monitor, guide.

When it comes to the use of social media, gaming, multimedia and multi-modal learning strategies, I wonder, how many educators are encouraged to teach with it, without fully understanding the tool itself, or grasping the research behind its use, or acknowledging the implications of its use (including safety). How many educators are encouraged to teach with it without being provided the tools (computer, systems)  and aren’t given in-school time to practice and learn?

It isn’t about updating our skills (like other literacies) it is about learning the skill.

The problem is that with other literacies (like reading and writing) we already knew them before entering the profession – we don’t have to learn them. We have a solid grasp about grammar rules, reading strategies, sentence structure, writing process. But with new literacies, especially the use of online tools, we are having to spend more time and resources to learn them. I’m not sure if our resources  (people, infrastructure, knowledge) fully support this reality.

With this, I ask – where does the responsibility lay on education organizations to guide kids in an environment (even facebook, youtube, twitter, gaming)where they are spending so much time? Why are we OK with them teaching each other?

Ask yourself, in your school, or organization – Do teachers , leaders and parents know how to properly moderate a student blog?  How about protect gaming server? or properly cite resources?  or manage content privately while also being transparent and open? or create effective comments on a blog?  or understand ‘public audience’? or how to have a conversation in an online chat?

In going back to my own children’s online behaviour, the story I started with – I as a parent can’t do it alone. I need support from the school system to guide and support my child’s learning in these online environments.

New Knowledge in the Digital Age

IMG_0643I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Knowledge is changing in the digital age.  With all the amazing resources, tools, connections, community information, mediums, people -it really all comes down to access, information and data. The World Wide Web has allowed us to access people, places and community – and how we are handling the abundant sources of information and data – which is changing how we are thinking and learning. I wonder how this is changing how we are learning literacy itself? Information is constantly being reconstructed and reshaped – in real time through combinations of mediums and perspectives and links and ideas. Our knowledge is being accessed, shared, given by anyone – adults to children and children to adults.

I was given a book to read by my thesis supervisor a couple of months ago and to be honest, I left it sitting on my desk because I wasn’t sure how relevant the information would be with a publishing date of 2003. But, I couldn’t resist to read a few chapters and ultimately got pulled all the way in.

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2003). New literacies: changing knowledge and classroom learning. Buckingham [England: Open University Press.

While these authors discuss a variety of perspectives, (historically and culturally) about the development of literacy in education, what resonated most for me is their discussion that “schools (today) operate on the belief that knowing, thinking, believing are located within the individual, and that knowledge is seen in the final analysis as a private possession and is examined, and accredited accordingly”. Here they ask, “Have schools operated to regulate scarcity of credentialed achievement – including allocations of literacy, ‘success’?”. It was this idea that began their critical reflection and journey of what literacy really is today. Does the demonstration of individual knowledge, on the spot, tell our true level of literacy for each individual? Is literacy for an individual carrying out on something that already exists? Today, knowledge and information are accessed, shared, discussed, reshaped, redesigned, edited, re-edited, co-edited and so on, in public spaces -in collaborative spaces – spaces where questions and inquiry are encouraged. Yet, even so, these authors remind us that “knowledge is seen in the final analysis as private”, based on a mindset that was developed long ago.

Eight years ago, even before Facebook and Twitter, these authors were questioning how we define knowledge and literacy in the digital age and how we are constructing and organizing our schools as a result.

I am left uneasy with the thought that still, even with all the research, books, articles, blogs, and discussions that tell us our society is now depending on a problem-solver generation that can work collaboratively and seek out ideas globally -is evaluated on individual performance and often without access to tools such as networks and people. Unless it is individually demonstrated, is it cheating? It really is in the mindset. When will the mindset change I wonder.
Thoughts?

What is the Ultimate Learning Space?

Learning Spaces
A couple of years ago, I landed an incredible job at a brand new school. The school was equipped with a Smartboard in every room, a Front Row amplification system in every learning space, wireless Internet throughout the school and mini computer pods attached to groups of rooms. I could hardly wait to start teaching that year. At first glance, it seemed like a perfect teaching and learning space for the 21st Century.
Today, I would argue the opposite.
It first started with a conversation I had with my students, who, in a podcast, describe their “ideal” secondary school. They didn’t mention technology as being essential (although for them, that is a given). They mentioned collaborative spaces, comfortable learning areas, choice and freedom. From that point, I not only began to look at my own learning spaces differently but I also began to explore this topic on a variety of levels.
In January 2011, Rodd Lucier and I presented, “Learning Spaces of Tomorrow” where educators and leaders from across North America joined together in groups to literally design learning spaces using Livescribe Pens (in person) and Scribblar (online). The major themes presented by all groups was that learning spaces should be collaborative in nature, flexible in design, differentiated, comfortable and engaging (almost verbatim what my 12 year old students described). Again, technology infrastructure was a given.
In my post, “Ultimate Learning Spaces” I describe the look and feel of the new Hamilton Public Library, which, interestingly, was designed using the major themes mentioned above – flexible, comfortable, collaborative and differentiated. Continue reading

Digital Storytelling – Not new, but new for some.

Last week, I started talking to my pre-service students about Digital Storytelling in the classroom. I was a little surprised that many of them had not heard these terms before. Teachers College is half over.
For me, digital storytelling, any storytelling actually is a KEY component in my instruction. It is the ‘Story’ that gives students the context, the imagination and the excitement. In my class, we made up stories everyday (my favourite was the time that I was to be sucked into the smartboard and visit my world-wide colleagues). Anyway, there is nothing new about telling stories in the classroom. In fact, storytelling is perhaps the earliest form of communication, before there were words, or tools to write with. Stories were always told.
But in today’s world, digital storytelling is what kids know. They play video games, watch TV (although not nearly as much as I did as a kid), create blogs, write in facebook, interact in real time adventures, collaborate in documents, share videos, pictures, music. They LOVE to create and the diversity of tools are endless. I know this because I watch my own two kids interact on World of Warcraft, and Spore and I see them create their own games using Scratch or edit pictures and mashup video using our Ipad or Itouch. I should mention, they’ve never accessed any of these tools at their school.

As new (or experienced) teachers, I encourage you to investigate and learn how to use these tools yourself. If YOU are the Movie Maker in the family, PASS THAT TORCH…teach someone else. It is such a wonderful feeling to create a digital story – It always feels like magic to me.

In digging around, I found my FIRST digital story. I was asked to REFLECT during a grad course I was taking and the professor said we can submit our reflection in “any medium”. Who knew that only a few years later I’d find my reflections here – on this blog. This video has  never been published until now (self published anyway). This was the “Zoe” before @zbpipe existed, before “Pipedreams” existed, before I knew any of you, before I had a Global learning environment, before my Mac, before my iPad, before Googledocs…when I still owned a PalmTreo. For you reading – it will be nothing special. For me, it is magic. I want my students to feel magic too.

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Do you have a resource to share? How to you use Digital Stories in the classroom? Share your thoughts.
Summary of Responses

GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR OWN DIGITAL STORIES. HERE ARE SOME RESOURCES AND GUIDES THAT MIGHT HELP!

DIGITAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOP: How much better can it get – all these FREE resources and tutorials? Amazing.
My students will create a Digital Story this week. For most of them, there will be NO context because I simply want them to experiment with the tools and create a mashup..of something.
Part One:
These are the Digital Storytelling tools (PROGRAMS) that will be used during the Digital storytelling workshop:

1) Windows Movie Maker(sorry Mac users but it is important to be familiar with Windows programs that are used in the classroom)
Printable Classroom Guide

2) http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/
(All Brock Education students have a license for Discovery Streaming)

3) MS PAINT to Edit Images
(A quick simple program that exists in ALL Windows computer)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk2sPl_Z7ZU


4)Screen shot -Take a screen shot by pressing the PrntScrn

(This might seem OBVIOUS, but I just learned this recently myself thanks to my PLN when I was in an IBM emergency!)
NOTE: The computer places a copy of what is currently displayed on your computer screen on its internal clipboard and will keep it there until it is replaced by another screen shot or until you turn off the computer.

5) Audacity:
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

Audacity in Education: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Audacity_in_Education
http://audacityined.wikispaces.com/

Part Two:

WEB 2.0 DIGITAL STORY TELLING TOOLS

(I’ve picked only a few of my favourites)

Digital Storytelling resources:

http://www.jakesonline.org/photostory.htm

Online Photo Editing:

http://www.phixr.com/

http://www.splashup.com/

http://pixenate.com/

SCREEN CAPTURE:

http://www.techsmith.com/jing/

VIDEO EDITING:

http://jaycut.com/

FIND SOUNDS:
http://www.freesound.org/

http://dig.ccmixter.org/music_for_film_and_video

VIDEO EDITING

http://jaycut.com/

http://www.youtube.com/editor

Resources:

http://www.edutopia.org/use-digital-storytelling-classroom

Examples of Digital stories