Are you ready to Flip?

Moving from Teacher Led to Student-Centered Learning
flipped_ideas

Flipped learning expert, Jon Bergmann recently announced the launch of the Flipped Learning Certification program. I was fortunate enough to access a pre-release version of the program and become the first ever Flipped Learning Certified Educator. In this post, I want to share some of the insights from the course and perspectives on Flipped Learning.

Why Flipped Learning?

According to Bergmann, Flipped Learning, is about making the most of class time by leveraging the flexibility afforded by technologies. Flipped learning makes the most of group and individual instruction to free up teachers to better support learners. In a nutshell, the shift happens by moving direct instruction from the group space into the individual space. In theory, teachers will have more time to support learners with more complex aspects of learning. In practice, although videos are a key element of Flipped Learning, the essence of flipped learning is re-inventing in-class time to enable students to develop and apply mastery learning.

Personally, I connected this understanding with principles of cognitive psychology and self-determination theory popularised by author Dan Pink in his book Drive where Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose are deeply connected to motivate learning and the application of skills purposefully. In this initial course, Bergmann hints at the advanced levels of Flipped Learning where purposeful mastery is developed. For those already applying a design-thinking, challenge based learning, problem based learning, or inquiry learning approach, getting hold of Flipped Learning tools and approaches promises to amplify these pedagogies. For those teaching more traditionally, this course may change your thinking about your approach, and show you how to free up time to improve student learning.

How to Flip

The course provides many examples of how to get started creating flipped resources and embracing the flexibility offered by technology. Bergmann covers a breadth of topics to enable individual teachers as well as administers get started with Flipped Learning.  Rich with examples, Bergmann, shares expertise from his own experience as a Tech Director and High School Science teacher as well as examples from other Flipped Learning practitioners.

Of particular interest to K-6 Educators is what Bergmann calls the “In Flip”.  The In Flip changes up the structure of face to face class time to include blended learning or technology enhanced learning, with a particular focus on direct instruction delivery. By providing direct instruction in the individual space (eg. on a computer or mobile device), students are able to pause, rewind and access instruction as needed. What this means for teachers is more time working with small groups and providing specialised direct instruction when and where needed. In this way, teachers spend time recording Flipped learning video resources so students tune in to direct instruction before applying the concepts learned.

Take-Aways

The Flipped Learning certification course makes the why, what, and how of Flipped Learning clear. Given the rapidly changing nature of technology and varied technological contexts between schools, educators will need to use their imagination about how to approach Flipped Learning in their contexts. For me, I could see many possibilities to add Flipped Learning into our existing rich inquiry practice to continue the shift to learner-centered learning. For example, teachers can create eBooks with video instruction for students to access when and where needed. Flipped learning principles can also be applied to fostering strong connections between home and school by flipping parent information nights and parent communication. While the initial course just scratches the surface of what is possible for learning in a digital age, the course is a useful beginner’s guide to understand the possibilities. If you aren’t yet flipping, are currently flipping and want certification, or are an administrator wanting to leverage technology more broadly to enhance learning, the Flipped Learning Certification course is worth looking into.

For Educational Leaders, Tech Integrators and Tech Directors

Whole school strategies are needed to harness technology for learning. Bergmann shares insight into technology decision-making that has broad impact on teaching and learning. I would invite school leaders to consider other organizational changes needed to provide policy, communication, infrastructure, resource provisioning, professional learning, and support systems to enable digital learning approaches, including Flipped Learning.  Flipped Learning may well be the starting point to learning in a digital age. Have a look at the Flipped Learning Global Initiative.

 

From Dependency to Enablement

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I’ve often wondered why competent and confident teachers are sometimes thrown off kilter by new technology. After all, a great teacher is by definition an excellent learner. Teachers learn new things all the time. So why does technology add an element of fear and trepidation for some? With time as the most precious commodity for teachers, I expect fear of lost time plays into these anxieties and hesitations. Working in the area of technology, I’ve never considered myself a technologist, but rather an expert learner. I like to try all the menu options and work out the functionality, all the while looking at new application opportunities.

As we implement new technologies in schools, teachers cry out for more technical support. I’m of mixed mind about this and question the right balance of enabling support versus what I call rescuing support. Enabling support is proactive and includes self-help, coaching and growing a community of learners who perpetuate this cycle. Rescuing help fixes the immediate problem, but keeps teachers coming back for more. Rescuing help could never be staffed fully as new problems arise and the old ones perpetuate. Teachers want their technical problems to be fixed, but to a large extent in my experience, still feel helpless to solve the problems themselves and want someone else to “just FIX it”. When systems and technology is error prone, this attitude is understandable. However, when systems are singing and the technology “just works” most of the problems are of an educational nature. Parents too are challenged by the rapid growth of take-home technology in use in schools. So.. what strategies can help people to help themselves and their children? Here are some I’ve tried over the past year for technical support, learning teams, students and parents.

Tips for the Techies

  1. Think like a teacher. Make sure it works the first time and proactively provide clear instructions
  2. Show children how to solve their technical problems and have them show you back. Teach them to teach their classmates.
  3. Provide Self-Help strategies for common problems that can be accessed again and again via an iTunes U course, eBooks or FAQs in the Help Desk
  4. Post clear instructions on all AV equipment. Keep things consistent and simple so teachers can help each other.

For Teachers 

  1. invest in lead learners and share within teams and professional learning communities
  2. provide a weekly SnipITS sharing session at staff meetings
  3. run TeachMeets at school where sharing is the norm
  4. feed great tools and resources to lead learners to share within their teams
  5. provide staff induction resources in an iTunes U course that can be revisited and used with new staff through the year

For Students

  1. Provide self-help books on their devices for common problems (adding printers, what to do if you can’t print, about content filtering…)
  2. Have self-help posters in the junior years and keep referring back to them
  3. Create student experts (App Captains, Techies, …) to help each other (and the teachers)

For Parents

  1. Create an iTunes U course for Digital Citizenship (help parents understand risks and responsibilities in a digital age)
  2. Run parent workshops at your school or refer parents to workshops at the local Apple Store or equivalent
  3. Create tasks that involve parents with student technology (eg interview your parents, record feedback, or have them take pictures of students taking action on their learning)

Some may seem rather simple, but all are geared toward building confidence and enabling others with technology.  What strategies do you use to enable learning in your context?

Teachers, open up your classrooms!

Collaborative Communities: Developing Children as Global Citizens

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela 1994

Global Perspective  (a free Creative Commons image)

Global Perspective flickr photo by www.liveoncelivewild.com  shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Global interdependence requires our citizens to competently participate in local, national and global communities.  Significant research in the higher-education arena, including innovative graduate and postgraduate programs aligning universities and their students across the globe under the tenants of social learning theory,  emphasise the importance of participation in membership communities enabled by technology to foster global competence amongst graduates (Nerad, 2010). Both pedagogy and technology use are changing as agile student-initiated media, in which learning is co-created and self-directed, is increasingly favoured by universities over teacher-created learning spaces delivered through traditional Learning Management Systems. Technology is progressively viewed as an enabler to enhance students’ ability to learn about global issues and participate in global communities.

Global connectivity and participation is now accessible to elementary schools and not just academics (Vega and Terada, 2013). Where elementary schools have long practiced participating in and learning with and about local communities, some are now bringing the local to the global by using technological resources to investigate the world, recognise perspectives, communicate ideas and take action (Mansilla and Jackson, 2011).  With increased access to technology (Nagy, 2002), awareness of digital citizenship safety and responsibility requirements are heightened. More than just etiquette and safe practice, Global citizenship, require authentic participation in technology enhanced learning communities. While today’s students are asking for variety, flexibility and agility as well as opportunities to communicate, connect and collaborate with peers teachers and experts (Project Tomorrow, 2014), students’ learning experiences at home and school are not always on a level playing field.

Real issues to global collaboration in online communities include a very growing Digital Divide between those with privileged resources and those in the least connected countries (Nagy, 2002). In addition to challenges with language, motivation and timetabling (Samra, 2007), some educators are hindered by the lack of a deep desire to innovate, a distrust of difference and the lack of means to assess new interdisciplinary and collaborative ways of thinking (Mansilla and Jackson, 2011). Perhaps the greatest barrier exists within individuals with self-imposed limits created by their own inexperience in global contexts (Nerad, 2010).

While professional and government bodies advocate for increased child safety (ACCE 2014), elementary schools rapidly embrace resources like Common Sense Media (US), Australian Communication and Media Authority’s Cybersmart  (Australia) and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (UK), but how relevant are these resources in web-filtered, walled garden scenarios at school if students don’t make the link to home and to the greater world?

We can no longer prepare our students for a world of the past. Educators need to first recognise the importance of their own role in global education and choose professional learning strategies that involve themselves in global communities to gain first hand experience, perspectives and relationships in this global education economy.  As life long, self-directed learners modelling their practice, educators can then apply heutagogy into scaffolded classroom pedagogy to expand student horizons through dynamic, collaborative participation in a complex and interconnected world as global citizens themselves. We need to educate our teachers to use technology effectively to collaborate both within and beyond classrooms.  In the elementary contexts this could include participating in global projects and developing sustained relationships with classes from other parts of the world to collaborate through a plethora of tools both synchronously and asynchronously. Internationalisation is not a subject in and of itself in the primary classroom, but  a perspective to be integrated into the everyday practice of teaching and learning as in the International Baccalaureate program (Vega and Terada, 2013) where “international-mindedness” is fostered through transdisciplinary themes of local and global significance. Models like Puentedura’s SAMR provide a framework for using technology to truly transform learning (Puentedua 2014). In the case of community building, technology has the power to transform learning through  access to and participation within purposeful, authentic global communities.  Teachers, open up your classrooms! There is a world waiting to be explored.

Image: CC by Keoni Cabral

References

Cochrane, T., Buchem, I., Camacho, M., Cronin, C., Gordon, A. and Keegan, H. (2013). Building global learning communities. Research in Learning Technology, [online] 21(0). Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.21955 [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Department of Education & Training, (2005). Research on Learning: Implications for Teaching, edited and abridged extracts. Research eLert. Melbourne: Department of Education and Training State of Victoria.

Higgins, H., Xiao, Z. and Katsipataki, M. (2012). The Impact of Digital Technology on Learning: A Summary for the Education Endowment Foundation. Durham: School of Education, Durham University, pp.1-6.

International Telecommunication Union, (2013). Measuring the Information Society 2013. Geneva: International Telecommunication Union.

Lin, S. (2012). Publisher’s Note: The Correct ISSN 2227-7102 for Education Sciences. Education Sciences, 2(4), p.254.

Mansilla, V. and Jackson, A. (2011). Educating for global competence. New York, N.Y.: Asia Society.

Maresca, P., Guercio, A., Stanganelli, L. and Arndt, T. (2014). Experiences in Collaborative Learning. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 10(3).

Moyle, K. (2014). Technologies, Democracy and Digital Citizenship: Examining Australian Policy Intersections and the Implications for School Leadership. Education Sciences, [online] 4(1), pp.36-51. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/educsci4010036 [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Nagy, G. (2002). Measuring the Activity of the Information Society Creating regional, county and town level information indexes (in the case of Hungary). Katedra Gospodarki Przestrzennej i Planowania Przestrzennego.

Nerad, M. (2010). Globalization and the Internationaliza- tion of Graduate Education: A Macro and Micro View. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, [online] 40(1), pp.1-12, Keynote address. Available at: http://depts.washington.edu/cirgeweb/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Nerad-2010.-Globalization-and-Internationalization-of-Graduate-Education.-A-macro-and-micro-view..pdf [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Project Tomorrow, (2014). The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations. Speak Up National Research Project. Irvine: Project Tomorrow.

Puentedura, R. (2014). Ruben R. Puentedura’s Weblog: SAMR for Leadership: Beyond the Basics. [online] Hippasus.com. Available at: http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/000133.html [Accessed 1 Nov. 2014].

Samra, M. (2007). Creating Global Citizens? The Case of ‘Connecting Classrooms’. 1st ed. [ebook] London: Media@lse, pp.1-66. Available at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/mediaWorkingPapers/ElectronicMScDissertationSeries.aspx [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Vega, V. and Terada, Y. (2013). Research Supports Global Curriculum. [online] Edutopia. Available at: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-global-competence-research [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Inspiring Action

Leadership expert, and author of “Start with Why”,  Simon Sinek, conceptualises the strategy of communicating from the “Why” within a simple, but powerful illustration he calls “The Golden Circle”. The Golden Circle codifies the Why, How and What of communication.

  • What you do:  everyone knows thisGolden Circle
  • How you do it:  some know this
  • Why you do what you do:  “very few people or organisations know why they do what they do or why they even exist!”

Sinek claims inspired leaders and organisations all “think, act and communicate” from their purpose – or the inner circle “of why”.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Sinek aptly exemplifies his point through great leadership examples from Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers; all leaders who clearly understood and could articulate their purpose to inspire action.

Sinek sees innovators as those who are clear on what they believe and take action early on. He moves us beyond the marketing strategies of features and benefits to the conceptualisation of why they would want your product or service.

In my current profession as an educational technology leader, I draw on my initial career in business to gain strategies and insights into how to more effectively lead by influence rather than authority.  Although not speaking directly to educational leaders, Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” provides a conceptual view of communicating from the why to inspire and motivate with purpose. Although communicating from the “why” isn’t exactly a new idea, Sinek’s illustrations make it crystal clear why this method works.

What does this mean for education?

From a learners perspective, we need to keep learning purposeful and from a conceptual level so we tap into personal motivation and relevancy. Motivation, according to Daniel Pink’sDrive” tells us that intrinsic motivation is based on purpose. It is this purpose that is tied closely to our beliefs. Pink believes to maintain our “drive” we need three components of mastery, autonomy and purpose. Mastery comes from practice and refinements guided by reflection, autonomy from choice and empowerment and purpose that is tied to intrinsic motivation. To develop life-long, self-directed learners we need to enable learners who can manage, monitor and motivate their own learning.

From a school perspective,  leaders need to be clear on their purposes and apply strategies that can be conceptualised and carried out to steer the organisation.  This purpose needs to emanate through all parent communication, marketing strategies and policies. The purpose needs to be understood, believed and practiced. The same is true for educational bodies on a grander scale.

In my years in education, I have seen many programs, plans and strategies come and go. True purpose is unshakeable.  As individuals, we must tap into something deep inside us that aligns us to the organisations we choose to serve, particularly in education where the motivation for exceptional educators is much more than monetary.

As Sinek says:

 “Those who lead inspire us. We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to”.

What motivates you to follow the leaders you are following? What makes your heart sing?

Connected Learning – BOOK REVIEW

"Open your classroom to the world"

Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades would have to be the most practical book

Kathy Cassidy’s guide for developing a connected classroom.

I’ve come across in the past year. A year 1 teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, from remote Moose Jaw, SK, Canada, Kathy Cassidy inspires teachers to step outside their comfort zones and become global learners with their students. Targeted to teachers in the primary years (junior primary to Australians), Cassidy’s book is full of interactive resources and stories of her journey developing a connected classroom. With her “If I can do it , so can you” attitude, Cassidy shares with us why she uses Twitter, Skype, Blogs, Videos and Digital Portfolios to connect young students with the world. Connected from the Start generously shares the stories and practicalities of implementing technology from a classroom teachers perspective. This is not a technology manual, but a guide for teachers wanting to expand the boundaries of their classrooms, build resources, relationships and global perspectives. Full of practical advice for parent nights, privacy, moderation and set-up, this eBook provides practical tips for teachers that only a classroom practitioner could offer.

Connected from the Start is a guide, can be read, clicked, linked and annotated cover to cover, or used as a reference for teachers wanting to dive straight into a particular aspect of global connection.

Although Cassidy has crafted her book with teachers of very young students in mind, her stories and encouragement will help teachers of student of all ages and stages along their journey using technology to expand horizons. The eBook is available as a PDF with hyperlinks and embedded video from the PLPNetwork.

The book isn’t just something to sit on your eReader, rather it opens up a professional relationship and dialogue with a real teacher. I initially met Kathy Cassidy on Twitter (@KathyCassidy), and so can you! In fact she encourages you to interact, share your ideas and provide feedback. Cassidy readily shared her own blog Mrs Cassidy’s Classroom Blog as well as Edubloggers’ Class Blog List with me after a brief 140 character at a time dialogue across the world. She exemplifies connected education in both her book and her practice as a connected educator.

Connected from the Start doesn’t stop at why teachers should create connected classrooms, but examines in depth the journey of teacher and her class of 6 and 7 year olds with blogs, digital portfolios, Google Docs, Twitter, Skype and other technologies sharing the why, what and how of connecting around the globe. These real stories are backed by links to people, sites and resources to get started, encouraging teachers to “open your classroom to the world” and have a flexible mindset toward new opportunities while modelling yourself as a learner.

Who should read this book?

  • Primary/Elementary Teachers to get practical tips for developing a connected classroom. You can do it!
  • ICT Coaches and Integrators to see clearly through the eyes of a classroom teacher. Ask yourself: How can you enable teachers like Kathy Cassidy who aren’t sure how to take the next step using technology purposefully?
  • Principals and School Leaders to better understand what it means to be a global citizen in today’s classroom. Ask yourself: “Am I a connected educational leader? How can I leverage these same tools on a broader scale”?
  • Education Authorities to ask: “What policies, systems and strategies are need to enable our students to operate as fully functional global citizens?”

As an ICT Coordinator, I empathise with many of the challenges Cassidy faced and strive in my role to think through and avoid some of the possible barriers through developing whole school approaches that make things easier for teachers. Student account management and interfaces, policy development, infrastructure enablement, parent communication methods and tool selection can be time consuming jobs. In my opinion, technology needs to enable education and educational needs must drive technology requirements. Encouraging teachers isn’t enough if the site is blocked, the internet too slow or the technology doesn’t work. An agile, coordinated approach to technology is required at school level.

New privacy laws introduced in Australia also bring about a few more hoops to jump through. It is concerning that some Australian jurisdictions are placing restrictions on “cloud computing” at the same time our increased access to technology holds more potential than ever. Students need access to tools, and to people around the globe with varying expertise and cultural perspectives.

Connecting with the world can no longer be an optional part of a teachers’ role if we want authentic global resources, relationships and experiences for our students. Global projects like Flat Connections, Global Classroom’s Edmodo Pen Pal and the annual Global Education Conference offer online opportunities to “learn about the world with the world” (Flat Connections Project motto) and give teachers the freedom to pursue their passions. So as Cassidy asks:

What’s  your next step?”

Coaching Teachers as Lead Learners

I came across the term “Lead Learner” at a Google Workshop run by CUE in California. With this simple title, our workshop leaders positioned themselves along side the participants and were prepared to learn together. They offered insight and direction, but all the while modelled their learning strategies. I found this greatly empowering and have used the term ever since.

If we aim to build a culture of enablement rather than dependency, we need to find ways to increase our internal capacity. Coaching builds school capacity by empowering teachers.

Drafting works because, right in front of you is proof that you can go faster.” Seth Godin

Models of coaching enable teachers to work along side peers in a non-threatening model to enable, support and grow as teachers.

Coaches, like teachers, are people builders.

To equip teachers for success we need to have the policies and support structures to enable learners with and through technology. The way we craft policies and support structures has a great influence on teacher confidence and attitude toward technology use.

Factors influencing technology use in schools.

Factors influencing technology use in schools.

Consider how you are handling these kinds of policies. Do they exist, are they empowering, are they documented, communicated and understood? Policies can boost confidence and certainty (but only if they are empowering!)

  • Responsible Use
  • Essential Agreements
  • Loan Agreements
  • Privacy Policy
  • Student Account handling
  • Teacher Code of Conduct

I see Coaching as a four step process: COACH.008

 

  1. Equip: Prepare for success
  2. Aim: Set targets and strategies
  3. Activate: Take action with coaching support
  4. Extend: Share within and beyond the school community

Equip

In my role as a technology coach and integrator, I’ve found that much of what I do that enables learning with technology happens long before I enter the classroom.  Equipping teachers for success includes

  • Defining enabling structures (help-desk systems, IT support, time to co-plan, release to observe, opportunities to share and celebrate)
  • Selecting tools and consolidated approaches that work within the school context – finding and removing barriers before the tech gets to the classroom
  • Preparing technologies to minimise setup and disruption (eg. upload all accounts based on a convention for a campus wide cloud solution)
  • Curating resources and access to resources
  • Demonstrating new possibilities
  • Crafting and testing policies

Aim

Draw on available resources to determine growth points and plan learning engagements. Use the growth points to plan intended learning for the teacher. Identify self-learning, professional learning and coaching assistance needed.  Here are some resources to consider:

Activate

This is where the action happens both planned and ad-hoc. Lead Learners (teachers) are coached as they act on their plans, support their peers and take action in the learning environment.

Extend

  • Share within and beyond the school community
  • Reflect and incorporate new learning for future practice

Presentation resources from SchoolsTechOZ “Coaching teachers as lead learners”

Coaching Teachers as Lead Learners

 

Schools are organisms

The people are the ‘school’. Schools are living organisms with interplaying dynamics. Sir Ken Robinson encourages us to to “Think of institutions as organisms. Schools are a living place full of people with hopes and aspirations.” Our job is to encourage growth.  He emphasises that the point of education is to help people grow from the inside out. “The real result is quality of life, a future we’d all like to live in” says Sugata Mitra

Be encouraged by this story of imagination and life changing innovation.

Building Learning Communities

Connecting to LearnBuilding Communities

Here are the resources I’ll be sharing in the Building Learning Communities talk for CEGSA 2013.  Please feel free to comment about your own experiences building your Professional Learning Network, Learning Communities in your educational context, creating a Connected Culture in your learning environment and tapping into or initiating purposeful Communities of Practice.

We need each other! People connect with like-minded professionals in purposeful ways. With modern technology, there are more ways than ever to connect in the “in-between” times of face to face gatherings. New opportunities to connect with people around the globe broaden our networks for our own learning, our students and for specific purposes and causes.

My Version of Alvin Toffler’s famous quote

“The literate of the 21st century will be able to learn, unlearn, relearn and co-learn.” C. Haynes

A Must Watch Video

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrgieoTvDE8]
Adam Bellow, ISTE Young Educator of the Year and Keynote Speaker,  EduTecher,  EduClipper  @adambellow

Ways to Connect 

Worth Reading

Essential for ICT School Leaders

Parent Community Examples

Email Lists and Newsletters

Professional Learning – Face to Face

    • ISTE: become a member and join your PLN at ISTE in Atlanta, GA June 2014.
    • EduTech: Exciting new Australian conference. Over 3000 delegates + a new library conference.
    • ACEC2014: National conference in Adelaide October 2014.

Other Tips:

Twitter. Follow conference keynotes and other leaders. See who they follow and connect with them. See the results in Storify of our Mini Twitter Chat conducted during the session.

ShowBie – The iPad Workflow Solution?

When our Year 1 and 2 teachers embarked on our 1:1 Mobile Learning program last term, they immediately saw the challenges of workflow. While embracing the multimodal capabilities of the iPad, we quickly realised the obstacles with our traditional thinking about the processes of handing up and giving feedback on new media including eBooks, video and the multitude of creations possible on the iPad.

We then asked:

    • Do teachers need to review every video during classtime?
    • What about large file sizes and email?
    • How can we give timely feedback?
    • How can we keep up with all that students are doing?
    • What needs to have peer feedback or be shared with the class via AirPlay?

Collecting, organising and giving feedback on digital media produced by students is a challenge! Until now.

Enter Showbie

Showbie is a workflow app and cloud solution to assign, collect and review “assignments”. It’s clever use of the “Open In” feature allows students to “hand-up” just about anything they create on an iPad using the Showbie app.  What’s more, its simple interface makes this a workable solution even for our 6 and 7 year olds.  From a teacher’s perspective, they can assign tasks, share resources for the tasks and easily see who has handed up their work and comment on it using annotations, audio notes or text comments.

The support team are very responsive to support requests and have made it easy to answer your own questions including useful tutorials on how to use ShowBie with dozens of apps including my favourites: iMovie, Explain Everything, BookCreator, Comic Life and anything in the Camera Roll.

Showbie address the workspace part of an ePortfolio – but does not currently serve as a “showcase” environment or collaborative space.

What’s next?

From a technical perspective, I’d like to see some risk reduction (back-up, versioning, …). I’d also love to see a way for students to communicate not just with their teacher, but with one another.  And.. I’d like to interface (easily) with a blogging platform like EduBlogs so students can publish their ideas and finished products to both gain feedback from broader audiences and maintain a collection of artfefacts of their learning journey beyond a single classroom environment.

Overall, Showbie shows much promise! I’ve just subscribed to a Pro version for our school  and our Year 2 teachers are excited about the potential.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on iPad Workflow and Showbie in particular. Why not download the free version and see for yourself?

Why Workflow is Key to Student Success with iPads

IMG_0016With a plethora of engaging educational apps and innovative ways to put the these bite-sized learning tools together its easy to get started with iPads. However, publishing student creations takes some experimentation, planning and collaboration with technical teams.

Simply the camera, a video camera and voice recorder offer tried and true ways to capture student thinking and understanding. Add on apps that can put it all together, annotate and share and we really have some new opportunities not previously possible.

But how do we share these creations and snapshots of a child’s learning? This is where many of the educators I’ve spoken to get stuck.  Of course we need to come back to the question every writer asks of “What is my purpose” and “Who is my audience”?    If the creations are temporary in nature, simply sharing with a peer may be enough. But what do you do when you want to share with a greater audience and over time?

Sharing from iPads

Our local hub group recently pondered this question and we came up with several ways we could share from an iPad, with different levels of success depending on the options enabled or disabled by the school’s IT department and whether the iPad is personal or shared:

  1. share directly on the iPad (student led conferences, peer feedback)
  2. show via AirPlay
  3. printing (with concerns we would limit ourselves to the “flat” version of print only media)
  4. Moving from the iPad to the teacher for collection (Email, connect to computer, Mover+, WebDAV, DropBox, DropCopy..) to burn to disk or post elsewhere
  5. student post to a platform that enables sharing (eg. EduBlogs, KidBlogs, ScribblePress, ShowMe, EdModo,…)

Discussions with the school IT department are needed to enable WebDAV, set email size limits, set internal only email for young students and even enable various ports or sites.

Putting it all Together

Multitouch books offer multimedia functionality and interactivity, but are not the easiest to share. Apps like Book Creator make it easy to capture student learning journeys that include photos, movies, annotations, screen captures and text, but sharing of these larger artefacts becomes even more challenging (but worthwhile!) as the ePub format is specifically designed for iOS devices and the files can be larger than email systems allow.

So how can we represent young student learning using iPads over time?  Personally, my current thinking is that we need a student blogging/ePortfolio platform where students are responsible for sharing their work as they go. Going this way means teachers have a way to comment on multimodal work and check the status, students can re-publish and capture their learning along the way.  Students can also give one another feedback on their work. If parents and the larger community are also offered access we can raise the bar through authentic purpose and audience.  Kathy Cassidy offers some great advice sharing her experiences as a year 1 teacher in Canada in her new book “Connected from the Start, Global Learning in the Primary Grades”.

I haven’t yet found a simple way for young students to share larger artefacts easily, like multitouch books.  As apps offer better integration and bandwidth improves I’m sure there will be more options. For now teachers just may need to to put together mini ‘book stores” for sharing. Here’s a great example shared with me by Sheldon Bradshaw  on the Write Now Bookstore.