Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Tech Lesson Inspired By Student Voice

This post is great for any content that wants to fully engage students in discovery and application of process for understanding. Bookmark this post, click on the hyperlinks, dig into some ideas and get ready for high levels of student engagement!

At the end of class I announced our next lesson would use hashtags. Class ended with a buzz as students wondered what in the world I would be doing with my own hashtag.  One girl stayed after class and said, "Hey Mrs. Stephens, I have to show you this website called Tagboard.  I just used it for a church event and we posted pictures to it from any social media site using a specific hashtag.  Tagboard will collect all posts across the social media sites and put them in one spot."

She looked up at me beaming with excitement that she could share this knowledge with a teacher.  I looked back at her giving her the same beaming smile she was giving me and I said, "That is absolutely awesome and I'm going to use it!"

So here is a look at what transpired...

Pique Student Interest with Technology
If you thought class ended with a buzz the day before, this will certainly fan the flame for your lesson.

Embed Prior Skills with Current Skills to discover New Skills
Have a rockin' lesson ready to go! This activity encouraged students to:
  • Examine and re-create prior process/skill set using cell phones to snap pictures of work.
  • Examine and re-create current process/skill set using cell phones to snap pictures of work.
  • Discover and attempt a new process related to prior knowledge using cell phones again.

The second students saw the images of cameras on their worksheet they forgot they were looking at a worksheet!

Any content that teaches process/skill set can create something similar to the lesson above (math, science, FACS, foreign languages, Industrial Arts, Fine Arts, Visual Arts...and the list goes on!)

Responsible Release of Learning
Every time you have a lesson which integrates technology is a perfect time for a mini-lesson on digital citizenship.  Talk with students about only posting pictures that relate to the hashtag emphasizing the importance of self-representation within a professional educational platform.

Bring awareness to students as to how you will capture what they post.  I suggest using a different hashtag for each hour (#spflipped4u1 = hour 1, #spflipped4u4 = hour 2 and so on).  Also, use Tweetdeck to create custom timelines to save posts via Twitter (just in case you want to Storify later). Don't forget, Tagboard will collect ALL postings to any social media site using your custom hashtags.  In short, what they post will be seen AND documented which is why it is imperative you take the time to make digital citizenship a part of your tech lessons.  

Foster Cooperative Learning, Bear Witness & Capture It
Cooperative learning groups will allow students to analyze, synthesize, discover and show off what they know and can do with the learning target(s).  It is your job to be the fly on the wall! Walk around, watch, listen! When needed provide some probing questions for groups that find they are stuck with the process, but for heavens sakes don't give them the answers! Carefully crafted questions will cause students to dig deeper and discover the answers on their own.

Finally, remember to capture it! Project the Tagboard the entire hour for students to see their work in progress.  This also allows them to see the work of others to either help them with process and/or allows them to help others with process.  You can later embed your hashtags from Tagboard in your class website for quick anticipatory sets, think-pair-share discussions and so on.

Capture it with your own camera/cell and take pictures from every hour! Trust me you are going to want pictures of these awesome learning moments!

Capture it with paper/pencil because you are going to want to write down what you hear! In the words of a student, "High five Mrs. Stephens, this was an awesome lesson!" Yes, indeed these words were uttered for learning direct, indirect, and double object pronouns!

All of this greatness started with a student who said, "Mrs. Stephens, I have to show you this website..." 

I can't wait to show her this post to show her what an impact she has made on educators!  It is truly amazing how student voice can positively transform they way we teach.

This lesson is a strong reminder that...

While this is a post to share a fun lesson, it is more importantly a post to emphasize the value of student voice in your classroom.  Involve them in your lesson planning! Tap their brains for ideas! Let them guide you! Choose to grow as a teacher because of the feedback they give you!

If you decide to use this idea for one of your lessons please share in the comments below! Each time you share a positive comment, I will share it with the student who fanned the flame.