In his book Visible Learning, John Hattie speaks to how the use of computers is more effective when the student, not the teacher, is in "control" of learning. He also stresses the importance of using computers in a collaborative setting, especially with a partner, to have a lasting impact on learning concepts being taught. As I visited classrooms this week I kept this research in mind and witnessed tremendous initiative by students to make sense of their learning in the digital world. Here are their stories...
Recently I was in a 6th grade language arts class and students were presenting their book review commercials. Talk about impressive! It was quite obvious that the teacher gave students the autonomy to show what they know however they wanted. Here are four web applications that students utilized to engage peers in their book review commercials...
Get Kahoot: Did you know that students can create their own review games in order to assess their peers about key concepts learned in class? It's a pretty neat concept. Take a look at Black River Middle Twitter feed to see a video of this in action...
Pear Deck changes the way teachers and students present slide decks in the classroom setting. Active participation is the key ingredient with this web tool. As students presented their book review commercials they engaged their classmates by having them answer multiple choice questions, drawing pictures, and label their comprehension of topics on diagrams to name a few. Here is a video of students using Pear Deck...
Google Slides was another option students had to persuade students into reading their book. As a group, students crowdsourced the Google Slide document and then presented to their peers. An emphasis on public speaking skills was prevalent and helped students learn how to speak in front of a crowd while using technology.
WeVideo was utilized by students to create commercials for their book reviews. Researching multimedia content and creating their very own video and then putting into all together was a monumental task. The final product was amazing helped with persuaded their peers to choose the book portrayed in the video.
As you can see there are so many ways that students can leverage the power of technology and available web applications to show what they know about the topic at hand. Provide choice and supporting risk-taking can go a long way in promoting the success of all students.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities and the newly released Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Google Certified Trainer. Brad currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Dean of Students for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is a Google Certified Trainer and speaks nationally about tech integration. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.