Tuesday, August 18, 2015

10 Ways Students Can Show Off Their Learning Beyond the Classroom...and PowerPoint is not one of them

Using The Cube to broadcast Geometry presentations
Two newer posts that provide updates to the items below:

This year my mantra is going to be Show off the learning!

When teachers and students show off the best things they learned, perceptions change and the culture changes. I want to make sure my district is known as a place where important learning happens every day.

I'm a big fan of that final essential stage of project-based learning: Put the final product in front of a larger audience. 

A lot of teachers in my district like hands-on, physical projects and they've struggled ideas for making them public. (How many art exhibits and science fairs can you do a year?) 

I compiled this list so now they have options for even those paintings done with real paint and the science experiment made of food.

Because I made this for the teachers I work with, please keep in mind:
  • It is a tool for awareness, not a how-to guide. Teachers in my district would contact me for more help. I included examples and some links to tutorials or tips below, but all the tools will require further exploration beyond this post.
  • Most classrooms in my district use laptops or Chromebooks. I didn't include options for tablets with most of the ideas.

I've listed these options roughly in order of how much tech is involved on the part of the students.

1) Live broadcasts of student presentations - Use The Cube
  • You can broadcast to the internet easily with an iPhone or iPad. 
  • Someone from your school will have to sign up and create an admin account at the site.
  • Share the link to your broadcast with parents or to the community beforehand so anyone can watch live. 
  • The recording can be left online, so people can watch it later if you want.
  • When using live video, be sure you have parent permission to post online and remember not to identify students by first and last name.

2) Websites and Blogs - A simple site or blog (created by you or the students themselves) is the starting point for sharing all the other types of project presentations listed below.

3) A PDF ebook - Within seconds anything students make in Google Docs or Slides can be turned into a PDF. From there it can be posted on any blog or website so anyone can open or download it like an ebook.

  • With the file open, go to the File menu and select the option to Download as PDF.
  • Once the PDF is downloaded, upload it to Drive again and share it as needed.

4) InfoPics - If he didn’t invent this simple concept, Tony Vincent is the one who named it and he sings its praises. This really is just a process of adding notes or other text to pictures that are related to a topic. 

  • Here's Tony’s blog post about it (with examples).
  • It would be very easy for students to make these and share the images on a website or blog.The pictures could also be shared by a teacher or a parent on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or any other social network.
  • The device you like to use will dictate the tools, but I’d suggest Google Drawings for computers or Chromebooks. Pixlr.com is a good tool on many devices if you want to add more effects to your pictures.

5) Infographics
- Students can create infographic images to show facts in a concise, visually appealing way.

  • Finished graphics can be posted on social media or websites and blogs.
  • Piktochart is a great tool for this.
  • Users can log in on Piktochart with their Google accounts.
  • Here’s a good article from Matt Smith with ideas for Piktochart in many subjects.

6) Audio Recordings (podcasts) - Students can create audio recordings and share them online in a variety of ways. These can be completed much faster than a video project. Here are a few details.

7) Virtual books on Flipsnack - This site is a great tool that turns any PDF into a fun virtual book. 
  • Important Note: I found out if students sign in using a Google Apps for Education account it uses the first and last name in the URLs. This is not a good practice. Be sure students go to their account page at Flipsnack to change their username when they first log in. It only takes a minute.
  • I usually create the PDF in Google Slides or Google Docs first, then upload to Flipsnack.
  • Here’s an example I use for a comic assignment.
  • Users can sign into Flipsnack with their Google accounts.
  • Free Flipsnack accounts are limited to three virtual books at a time.

8) Screen Recordings - Think of these as somewhat informal recordings of something the students show on the screen. 
  • These are great for tutorials or presentations.
  • Here’s an example from a teacher who has his students use this method a lot.
  • They’re informal because editing is usually not part of the process. Students need to practice before recording!
  • On a computer with a mic, use Screencast-o-Matic.
  • On a Chromebook you can use the SnagIt app.
  • Final results can be uploaded to Google Drive or YouTube for sharing as necessary.

9) Digital slideshows - These are a series of pictures combined into a video by using an editing program.
  • These are a step up from screen recordings because you can (and should) edit them.
  • Students can add audio. It might be just background music or they can narrate the slideshow.
  • With narration, these become presentations that present themselves.
  • They make a good introduction to video production, but don’t require as much time.
  • I present on a method for making these with any laptop or Chromebook. Here is the resource site include my examples and the process using Google Slides and WeVideo.

10) Videos - Producing a good video is the pinnacle of technology integration in most classes.
  • Good videos require several technology skills and a deep understanding of class content. 
  • There is a huge range of possibilities for complexity. Don’t just tell students they can “make a video”! Know the options and set guidelines that are appropriate for your students.
  • Here are my tips for teachers and students for any video project.

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