Here are the skills we think you can teach kindergarten students.
List developed by kindergarten teachers attending the Collaborating with the iPad workshop in Carthage, MO.
A few weeks ago I was facilitating iPad trainings and had searched for resources to support the teachers in using the iPad as a production and collaboration tool. I found a lot of demonstration videos on YouTube to show how to use different apps that we were highlighting in the sessions and I linked those resources on the training site.
As we worked through the session there were certain iPad skills I suggested and demonstrated, but then after leaving the session I realized I didn't have any resources linked for those skills that participants could refer back to. That is where Screencast-O-Matic came in. Some colleagues introduced me to the computer web 2.0 tool, Screencast-O-Matic and I knew it was just the fix for my participants need. I signed up for a free account, followed the directions on the screen, quickly created a screencast, uploaded it to YouTube (also downloaded to my laptop as an MP4), and made a link to the "how-to" video on our Weebly training site. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish which I am sure will be even quicker the next time through.
As you can see in my video below, it includes a screencast of the iPad screen (created using Reflector to mirror my iPad image on my computer), my voice, and a video of me talking (not really necessary but I was playing with all the features). I felt like the tool was very easy to figure out once I click the "Start Recording" button with on-screen directions.
The free version allows for 15 minutes of recording time, recording the screen and webcam, publishing to YouTube or downloading as MP4. One challenge in the free version to be aware of is that you can't go back and re-record but have to start all over if you make a mistake. Not a big deal if you have a script to follow and have practiced what you are demonstrating before you begin recording. This seems to be everything I need for now, but some of the options and features of the pro version includes: no watermark, unlimited recording time, editing tools, webcam only recording, the ability to publish to Google Drive/Vimeo/Box/Dropbox, and more.
In those iPad sessions, other things we discussed was how to empower learners. One way the group talked about was giving students access to resources and allowing them to decide if and when they might need them. Creating screen-casts and posting them on a teacher website or WebQuest would be a great way to offer optional scaffolding for learners to support their thinking and self-directedness. Students could even create their own screen-casts and post them to a class/school YouTube or SchoolTube account so that everyone could benefit from their expertise and knowledge.
Screencast-O-Matic isn't the only screen-casting software available, but it is simple to use and the free account offers a lot of features and options. What's your favorite screen-casting tool? How have you and your students used screen-casting software to support thinking and learning?
How to Record Your iPad w/Screencast-O-Matic
Screencast-O-Matic Help Channel
"Genius Hour" and "20% Projects" have been showing up all over my PLN in the past months...Twitter, blog posts, Pinterest, Facebook and more. As I read more about this instructional practice I was reminded of a 60 Minutes show I watched a few years back when they were at Google's home office. The show focused on highlighting the environment and working policy Google developed designed to support staff to be as creative as possible. This policy allows staff to spend 20% of their work week on the "pet project" of their choice. They believe that giving that time will encourage creativity and breed innovative ideas. It has been claimed that half of Google's innovative "products" have come from this 20% of time.
Being intrigued by the idea of integrated time for creativity, I took a bit of R&D time (maybe we should call it my "Genius Hour" or "20% Project") to dig a little deeper and found that 3M has been doing this even longer than Google, and HP even longer; possibly as far back as 1939. They can all argue they were the first but what's more important is that we have benefited with products such as Gmail, Post-It notes, and HTML, all coming from that structured/unstructured time.
What's even better, this ideas has made it into the education world. "20% Projects" and "Genius Hour" are rooted in constructivism where authentic learning is intrinsically motivating to students. Teachers implementing this instructional practice have created structured unstructured learning time. No matter what they call this time, all have constructivist beliefs at the core. All require that learning is relevant to life. Projects require students to learn concepts at deeper levels. This type of open-ended, project-based learning requires student to question and explore, and the most effective projects end with a product and require students to present and reflect on new learning. Teachers that want students to get the most from this experience become the guide on the side and support students to find direction, develop action plans, research effectively, revisit what they are learning and what they still need to do to accomplish their goal, and efficaciously present their projects and new ideas.
Kevin Brookhouser from the I Teach, I Think blog has some great strategies, management tips, and classroom practices that could help you implement your own "20% Projects". In listening to his Radical Autonomy: Giving Your Students 20% Time Google Hangout, it is obvious he has it figured out. In this presentation, he shares best practices and has defined the steps that can help projects like his to be successful beginning with prepare parents, students, and administrators, to having the student make final presentation very similar to Ted Talks. Visit his site to learn more about his implementation steps for successful "20% Project" and check out his TedX Monterrey Talk Don't Call it a Classroom which can be found on his blog. His site also includes student examples and instructional support for implementing your own "20% Projects".
"Genius Hours" and "20% Projects" seem to align perfectly with my first educational experiences in Montessori school, my educational beliefs as a teacher, and eMINTS, my job and my love. It is intriguing enough to wish I was back in the classroom so that I could try and implement such a progressive idea. Exploring this innovative idea in learning where I can help learners find their own "genius", expertise, and passion has me thinking...could this work with professional development? My wheels are turning; what about yours?
To learn more about "Genius Hours" or "20% Projects" check out these great resources and experts on the topic.
As an eMINTS Instructional Specialist, it is my goal to support teachers through coaching, collaborating, and consulting.
Comments left on this blog are solely the responsibility of the individuals who write them. The blog author bears no responsibility whatsoever and is not liable for the contents of comments left on this blog either by anonymous or identifiable bloggers or individuals. Blog administrators reserve the right to remove any and all comments deemed inappropriate.