Curiosity to Explore

In the midst of nippy wet weather, January ushers in celebratory possibilities.  Renewed energy, new beginnings and perhaps that spark of anticipation leads one to hopefulness and curiosity.  Here are a few ideas to explore (connected to literacies, collaboration and connectedness).  The image below hides interactive layers of communication. (Click to reveal.)

Created using Picmonkey.com and Thinglink.com

I can imagine sharing research, story, and experiences. Perhaps a scavenger hunt to teach a content area. There is no limit to possibilities. How are you engaging in new forms of communication? I would love to hear any of your stories.

Who’s Telling Your Story If You’re Not?

storytellStorytelling is as important today as years past – perhaps even more so. There are many competing forces and it is challenging to capture audience’s attention.  Questions to consider might be “What is your story? How are you telling it? Is it getting to the audience you wish? Why bother?” Answers will differ depending on who you ask – teachers, students, administrators, community.

Social media is an easy way to get the word out. These include blogs, wikis, Twitter or even various online magazines. Even QR Codes placed on class windows and bulletin boards lend to a sharing of story. (It becomes easy for parents to use their smartphones to capture and take home little snapshots of information.)

Using multiple platforms can be challenging. A blog is a good starting point— it offers many ways to bring out your creative genius as well as a place to share what is happening in the school or class. The platform allows for inclusion of images, audio, video and text (something for everyone). Posts can be short or long, ‘newsletter-ish’, or just capture the ‘moment-ish’. It offers students a chance to flex their voice and create a positive digital footprint. Especially when the commenting function is being used to go beyond superficial communication, to ‘lift and clarify’ thoughts.

Why bother? Your voice, your story much like your students need to be heard. You may think that there are only little things but they may be huge in the life of someone else. You’ll never know until you share and celebrate the great learnings that are happening in your class or school.

So how is your story being told?

Dialogue With A Twist

google_storybuilderlogoHow would you create opportunities for students to practice dialogue? Perhaps it’s talk between two people or two characters in a book or a conversation between you and yourself? MMhh…now that would be interesting. A bit of reflective action produced in video format. And practicing a host of literacy elements to boot.

The tool you ask? It’s Google Story Builder —just hot off the presses in April. Check out this online tool to create dialogue, monologue…the possibilities are endless.

google_storybuilder

Type in the names of characters; enter in dialogue. Add some music in the background and capture the weblink to share your conversation online.  I’ve created one on Questions (yes my favourite topic). Here’s the link:  http://goo.gl/mB5bXf

Sometimes you just have to have a conversation with yourself and sometimes it’s just about plain fun. Imagine if this was used as a documentation reflection piece in the classroom?
I would love to hear how you’re using this new tool?

App #10 of “10 Apps to Countdown Season”

App #10: Partner a beautiful image that you’ve drawn or photographed with interactivity and you’ve got Thinglink. These rich interactives provide another way to curate and organize information. I’ve written about this before using the SAMR Model as an example (developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D) and also here where I was participating in CLMOOC.

Thinglink offers interaction tools that tag photos or images with a a whole group of content, adding a layering effect. The system is built on the use of tags to add more information like audio, other images, web links, video, text information and anything else you might think you wish. Images can be from multiple sources and even a collage of images built through a program like Picmonkey (see App #8) or Pic Collage (app on ipad).  That leads me to think, why not use this as an infographic to visually showcase statistics. Swap PowerPoint with Thinglink and see where it takes you. Use Thinglink to connect all your flipped videos on your blog.  Or have students explain their science experience  or self assessment through sequenced captions. Teacher-Librarians – have you considered this as a tool to teach research skills or how to vet the mountains of information found? 

Simple tips: Sign up for a teacher account. Search inside the site and you’ll find other interactives giving you more ideas. thinglink_xmas

Click on the image to see a message for the holiday season.