If You Build It, They Will Learn
The innovative learning experiences that take place at Black River Middle School are truly special. This week alone, I observed students review for an upcoming math test in collaborative groups using interactive whiteboards, Chromebooks, dry-erase boards, and interacting with a graph that was drawn out on the hallway floor.
In art class students created amazing clay animation video using their iPads. You can watch the video below.
Students in STEM class were building solar powered cars and houses. To see students collaborating, creating, thinking critically, and Check out those images below.
Other students took it upon themselves on their own time to create a YouTube channel in order to review the iPhone6. It's one of the most incredible clips I have ever seen from a teenager. Check out the video below.
Our entire 8th grade class shot a video for one of their classmates who is currently battling cancer. You can watch it below.
There is no doubt that our students at Black River Middle School are able to thrive and show what they know due to the support structure at home and at school. If you build an innovative learning environment, students will learn.
Twitter is A Risk Worth Taking
Twitter is a risk worth taking. Why? It puts educators in touch with other educators on a global scale. They are able to share best practices which in turn helps promote the success of all students. From a classroom perspective teachers can tell their classroom's story and assess students in real time. At the building level, Twitter can help inform stakeholders of school happenings and promote student and staff achievements. Lastly, Twitter can transform the way district's move the educational conversation forward with stakeholders. Sharing stories and providing transparency will help support future initiatives.
On the flip side, Twitter can be very bad or so some people think. Every tweet and resource shared potentially could be under scrutiny. There are those who do not believe in social media for the simple fact that it's not secure and strangers can follow your every move. Other people will claim they do not have time to check out tweets or push out content. And then there are those who just plain out don't see the point. Finally, what if they mistakenly tweet out something that is inappropriate? What are the ramifications? Or worse yet, what if a spam bot gets a hold of my Twitter handle?
All in all, Twitter is a risk worth taking. It makes you a better educator and provides schools with an opportunity to get the message out. People in the year 2015 want real time information, because we live in a real time world. The fact remains that you could potentially take anything and show how it could be used in a negative way. Take for example, the pencil. Students use this technology to figure out math problems and write sentences. It can also be used to stab people in the arm. Obviously the positives outweigh the negatives which is why schools all around the world use millions of pencils each year. That is why Twitter, in a weird type of pencil way, is a game-changer in education. When used appropriately, like a pencil is most of the time, it helps connect, assess, inform, and promote with a few taps on the screen.
From a personal standpoint Twittr has impacted my life in following ways:
As a salute to Connected Educators and the Deptartment of Education/Alliance for Excellent Education #FutureReady initiative I encourage educators to give Twitter a chance. It will change your professional life and the impact on student success for the better.
Relationship building is critical in the school setting. Whether its teachers with their students or administrators with their staff, all options must be exhausted in order to strengthen relationships that exist in schools. Strong real life connections coupled with the integration of virtual tools can be a game-changer when connecting with school stakeholders. In this latest episode of EdPerspectives, Starr Sackstein and I discuss the importance of relationship building.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Bammy Award Finalist. He currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Middle School Vice Principal for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.