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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

There has been a lot of conversation and debate in multiple forums, both online and face-to-face, about schools adopting or already working in a 1:1 environment. While many of these conversations revert back to replacing teachers and what device is best, the real conversation begins with providing our students with the best learning environment possible.

At Burlington High School in Burlington, MA, we are entering our eighth month of a 1:1 iPad initiative that began in September 2011. Don't get me wrong, we think the iPad is a great device for learning and gives each of our students a dynamic learning tool that can be used across the content areas and to accomplish a variety of tasks. Many of the critics claim that we are backing our students into a corner by giving them one brand and one skill set to learn exclusively on one device. This is not the case at Burlington. Furthermore, I have support.

Our teachers have been compiling exemplary work and engaging our students in a diverse manner. These results are not because of the iPad, but because we, and not just at Burlington, but also around the country, have given our expert teachers the opportunity to incorporate a device into their rich curriculum.

Our teachers are not teaching to the iPad, nor are they teaching apps. They are teaching skills and assessing student learning in a more dynamic way. Many of our classrooms are flipped; project-based learning and assessments are being integrated more prevalently; and students are engaged in relevant, purposeful learning experiences.

Here are a few examples of what a few of our teachers have put together.

1) French IV by Madame Price (@TwinsBless on Twitter)

We are in the middle of reading a Canadian detective novel, L'Affaire Québécoise. It has 20 chapters. I had each student select a scene from a favorite chapter and make a video. They sent in the text via the writing application VidEditor, which is a free app. When the students finish with their video, they can instantly upload to our class YouTube account.

FRENCH IV
L'Affaire Québécoise / un projet de video avec VidEditor Free App
RESPONSABILITES:

  1. Vous allez travailler en groupe de trois élèves.
  2. Vous choisirez un thème.
  3. Il faut soumettre UN (1) video par groupe.
  4. Vous devez soumettre aussi le texte attaché dans un App pour écrire pour votre video.
  5. Il est important d'avoir la musique au fond de votre video.
  6. Il est nécessaire de parler avec un bon accent. Vous êtes acteurs / actrices à une émission de programme à la télé en France.

2) French V by Madame Price

My French V students just finished reading the classic Le Petit Prince. We have the English version in our iBooks and the French version on a PDF that we accessed through Noterize. This is rich novel filled with many philosophical themes. I had the students select just ten of their most memorable themes and illustrate them with videos. In addition to describing in the target language why they selected these themes, they also had to illustrate how these themes related to their own lives. They, too, sent in their text on a familiar Noterize. As was evident while viewing these videos, there was substantial student-directed activity, engagement in the learning process and a familiarity with technology which, in my estimation, enhances learning.

FRENCH V
LPP / PROJECT FINAL POUR: Le Petit Prince
Vous allez utiliser VidEditor Free et un autre App pour écrire. (Noterize)
RESPONSABILITES:

  1. Choisissez dix (10) thèmes en Le Petit Prince.
  2. Ecrivez les dix thèmes SUR UN APP POUR ECRIRE.
  3. Illustrez-les avec des vrais objets. N'UTILISEZ PAS DE PHOTOS OU D'IMAGES DE GOOGLE, PAS DE CLIP ART, ETC. IL FAUT UTILISER VidEditor Free de PRENDRE DES VRAIS PHOTOS!!!

    • a. LA PARTIE ORALE: Parlez de l'importance de cet objet dans le roman et du thème.
    • b. Parlez-moi de l'importance de l'importance de ce thème en votre vie.
  4. LA PARTIE ECRITE: Ecrivez ce dont vous avez parlé dans un App pour écrire.
  5. Soumettez votre video à YouTube
  6. Envoyez vos phrases (SmartNote, Noterize, Paper Port Notes, etc.) à price@bpsk12.org.

NE COPIEZ PAS DU ROMAN NI UTILISEZ DE TRADUCTEUR!! ECRIVEZ VOS PROPRES PHRASES!!!

STUDENT WORK VIDEO LINKS

3) Calculus by Brighid Boyle

Recently, Ms. Boyle's calculus students were given an end of semester project that prompted them to teach a calculus lesson through the medium of a music video. The students filmed the videos on their iPads and then edited through iMovie. Each group had two weeks to create a script and storyboard, and then film, edit and present the lesson. The results were not only engaging, but also informative. Consider it the musical version of Khan Academy. The results are displayed below. Enjoy, share and learn!

STUDENT WORK VIDEO LINKS

4) Trigonometry by Dan Calore

For this lesson, I wanted to change the way that students did standard lab reports in math. I felt that the standard lab was not teaching the students to explain and fully understand what it was they were working on. I created a lab in which the report was either a YouTube video or a video using the show-me application to describe in detail the problem they were solving and how they solved it. I tried this on the grounds that in business you often have to present a problem or solution to coworkers, and with video conferencing and email output I felt this would allow the students a chance to work on their presentation skills as well.

Trig Lab 1: Using Right Triangle Trig in For Real Applications

1. You are going to use right triangle trigonometry to determine either the height of an object or the speed at which an object is moving.

EXAMPLES: Determine the height of the flagpole using the length of the shadow cast and angle of elevation to the sun; or determine the speed that someone is running by finding the angle to the start location and the angle at the end of the run, and then time the runner.

Assignment: Due at the end of class on Thursday December 8, 2011
Either create a video that shows you finding the measurements to your problem and then explaining how you solve for your missing parts; or use the show-me application to teach how to solve the problem, from getting the information to finding the final answer. The goal of the write-up is to explain your work so that anyone can duplicate it and get the same results. Answer in detail each of the following questions and discuss units used, methodology used to gather the data, trig functions used, and any assumptions that you made.

Questions to be answered:

  1. What are you trying to solve for? How are you going to solve for it?
  2. What are the known values, and how did you determine them?
  3. What did you do to solve for the unknown values?
  4. Draw an ACCURATE diagram to represent the problems.
  5. Conclusion

5) History by Michael Milton (42ThinkDeep on Twitter)

What better way to make the Enlightenment come alive than to have my World History students create Blogger sites and set up a conversation on Twitter!

In our activity, students were hired by a consulting firm to bring the ideas of the Enlightenment to a modern "tech-savvy" audience. In small groups, they assumed the identities of various philosophers (Voltaire, the Baron De Montesquieu, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Mary Wollstonecraft and Jean Jacques Rousseau) and wrote a blog post to reintroduce them to the world and to discuss how their ideas were incorporated into the United States of America. The posts were then shared under a common hashtag, and students, as the philosophers, began interacting with one another.

For the next step, I wanted students to extrapolate the ideas of their philosophers into other historical situations. For instance, a question for Rousseau might be, "What are your views on communism and how it worked in Russia during the reign of Stalin?" To answer this question, students not only have to research communism, specifically communism under Stalin, but they also have to figure out how Rousseau would view both. Now, I could have simply asked the questions myself, but I felt that my students would get more excited to do this research if they were answering to a larger audience. I shared this assignment with my colleagues and my PLN (who then shared it with their PLNs).

My students really got into the activity, particularly when they realized that they were playing for a larger audience. For 83 minutes (a long block), my students were in research and publication mode. They were engaging with those outside of the classroom, as well as with each other. I played the role of the facilitator ensuring that all students were engaged. Overall, my students were able to form a deeper understanding of the philosophers of the Enlightenment and were introduced to both Twitter and Blogger.


All of the above lessons are not iPad specific, nor do they teach to the technology. Instead teachers are synthesizing the device with a rich curriculum. If we continue to halt technology integration and access in our schools, then we'll continue to restrict our students' learning. There is not one way to change or reform education, so don't limit your school to the current trend or buzzword that happens to trickle down your twitter column or grace the front page of the latest education journal. Take a simple approach and don't overthink or over analyze this change. It's not about a technology device; rather, it's about evolving your school culture to create dynamic learning spaces that embrace a shared culture of learning. What every ratio you decide to go with and no matter what device you choose, know that you will be providing students with purposeful learning experiences that integrate relevant technologies.

6) Digital Literacy by Andy Marcinek (@AndyCinek on Twitter)

Objective: Demonstrate what you have learned throughout this class. Consider the Google Zeitgeist 2011 video we watched prior to break. It should work as a demonstration of what you learned as opposed to a retelling of applications and ideas you learned.

NOTE: I'm not looking for a PowerPoint presentation.

Requirements: Creatively show what you have learned from the course.

  • You may want to demonstrate how you will use these skills in the future.
  • You may want to highlight one application or multiple applications that appeal to you.
  • You may want to present on a specific subject such as digital health and wellness, digital identity, social media, privacy or creative commons.
  • You may want to create something entirely new using the applications and ideas you gleaned from this course.
  • You may want to create a movie trailer for this course.
  • You may want to create a documentary about this course.
  • Or, you may want to do something completely different.

Grading: You will be graded on your ability to clearly demonstrate to an audience your learning over the past few weeks. I will be looking for the following items in your final work:

  • Creativity
  • Engagement
  • Understanding
  • Proficiency
  • Presentation
  • Participation (in class)

Examples:

Presentations and demonstrations will begin on January 11th and conclude on January 13th.

STUDENT WORK LINK: http://youtu.be/FdEXijFXfD8

Comments (6)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Grant Lichtman's picture
Grant Lichtman
Chief Operating Officer, Francis Parker School, San Diego

Thanks, Andrew; have forwarded this list to our faculty technology committees to ponder and discuss. We need these great examples so people can envision alternate future.

Adele's picture
Adele
High school Social Studies teacher.

I love this. An issue we have been discussing is how to, for lack of a better word, "police" the use of 1:1. Any suggestions?

Diana AuBuchon's picture
Diana AuBuchon
Eighth grade English teacher in Santa Ana, California

I think the most important idea is that kids are learning. What device does not matter, what matters is engaging students in learning. Our kids today spend most of their time "plugged in," and your examples demonstrate how powerful this sort of learning is. THanks for sharing.

Randy Ziegenfuss's picture

I enjoyed exploring the various examples you shared and particularly appreciated the emphasis on creation of content and demonstrating learning in new and different ways - as it should be!

Our challenge is scalability (as it is with most others I think). We just finished our first year of a 1:1 laptop implementation, and while we have pockets of some really neat stuff going on, we are also working hard to transform the SYSTEM as a whole. Tall order. Our fist year was a huge success, but it was only the first year.

During your first year, did you collect any other data (surveys, focus groups, etc.) in addition to stories of learning to demonstrate an impact of the initiative on teaching and learning? Thanks for taking the time to respond. And thanks again for sharing your experiences!

Randy

Brian's picture
Brian
Math Teacher from MN

I like the examples you gave for all the different subject areas. I especially liked the examples of using iPads in math. Its nice to see those examples and be able to share ideas especially when we as teachers are learning something new about the iPads and how to use them. Thanks

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