Stay in the question(s): Reflections from the Apple Leadership Conference2010 (Part 4/6)
The first half of Saturday consisted of 7 Apple Talks, along the lines of TED Talks. Two of those were from ISPrague staff members and listening to them left me more excited to be joining a school where I would have colleagues of this caliber.
Links and quotes:
- ACOT Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow Today - moving from instruction to construction
- SAMR, Ruben Puentedura, Technology use continuum, Transformation not substitution
- Need to teach collaborative writing to prepare students for working in the future
- Visit the Alamo in Second Life
- Quest to Learn School in NYC – games based learning aligned to standards. Merging traditional and new illiteracies
- Students learning empathy and financial skills through KIVA fundraising accounts management- giving students the opportunity to learn economics as well as experience empathy and make human connections
- Student films- don’t always have to produce skilled filmmaking, but the story needs to be from the heart
- Cyber Security- keep the conversation with students open and on-going, circulate relevant books to staff, parents, students to promote conversation
- Full Sail University Online
Tags: Collaboration, games, Global Collaboration, Professional Development, Project-based Learning, QuestAtlantis, Shift, virtualworlds
I’m new to virtual worlds. I’ve been curious about Second Life but never ventured in, even though there are many educator-based groups I could benefit from participating in. I recently listened to a Seedlings podcast featuring Bronwyn Stuckey, the teacher trainer for Quest Atlantis. QA is a virtual world for students where they can collaborate, learn and solve reality-based world problems together. (Thank you again Bob, Cheryl and Alice!) QA also incorporates literacy, mathematics and content area studies. I see it as a possible school of the future. I have just missed the European teacher training, but was accepted to participate in the US/Canada 4 week training- which means middle of the night sessions for 4 weeks.
I’ve completed the first training and have progressed enough on my own to allow my avatar to change from the all-white newbie outfit to my individually chosen clothes and physical characteristics. I know it sounds as if that’s been the highlight for me, but I have actually accomplished much more. For example I have learned to navigate and move my avatar, to understand my pod and how to reenter and continue my current mission. I have yet to engage with another participant socially but I know that will come with continued training sessions.
Most impressive is the QA framework and how easy the training is for someone on her first trek into a virtual world. We began with the basics where I had to travel from place to place to learn the back story of QA and also meet some of the main characters. I submitted my first Quest- choosing a writing task over science or mathematics tasks. It was the first poem I’ve written in many years and very poor I’m sure! I then learned the 7 Social Commitments that are the foundation of QA and am currently learning how to review a quest. Reviewing student quests is based on a balance of feedback in 4 areas: content focus + narrative quality + supportive comments + informative comments. Today when I logon I will complete my first quest review.
Quest Atlantis has all the qualities that relevant, engaging learning requires: an engaging, challenging and supportive environment, quality assessment and feedback, plus integrated content and life-skills at the core of all learning opportunities. One of my colleagues is willing to learn QA and we plan to implement it with her 5th grade students. Our after-school activities have started this semester, but I plan to hold a QA group for the second semester. I know I have just stepped onto the tip of the QA iceberg and am excited to continue and discover what I’ll learn as a teacher and an individual.
Tags: after-school, Animation, elementary, Games-based learning, Programming, Scratch
I am using Scratch for my second semester elementary After-School Activity. Scratch is a free, simple programming software that allows children and other programming beginners to easily create original digital animations and games. My group consists of 13 boys and girls, ages 7-10 and we meet twice a week for an hour. The “motto” for Scratch is: Imagine, Program, Share. Now in our 7th week, I am taking time to reflect on how the group and individual student skills and creativity have grown to move the group forward a bit and to plan for a celebration of the upcoming Scratch Day on May 16th.
Beginning in early Feb, I introduced Scratch with the videos and sample animations and games on the site and modeled the absolute basics as well as provided the Scratch cards. Folders were set up on the school server where students can save projects to individual folders in a group folder. Then I stepped back. At first, the students who wanted guidance would ask me for help and I would ask guiding questions to help him/her explore and discover how to accomplish what they wanted. We also used the cards for guidance and would put out a question to the group, although when asking the group would preface the question with, “if you’re not in the middle of something, can you show us how to…?” It wasn’t long before they discovered individual’s strengths and knowledge and who to ask for help.
Individuals now fall into one of three groups that have evolved: the game creators, the animation creators, the game players. The game designers are the most in-depth users and have the longest attention span and take pride in what they do. These students are the most willing to share and are frequently asked for help by others. The animators generally create an environment where a series of simple actions take place and they create one or two per after-school session. The game players want to search the online gallery and play the games and animations- they are less interested in creating their own and dabble in creating game actions.
To move all of us forward, I am currently reading in the Scratch Educators site and CR2.0′s Scratch pages for inspiration. The game designers don’t need my help, they challenge themselves and work on their creations at home as well. To move the animators ahead, they might create a story or environment that would provide a foundation and focus. For the game players, opening up their individual folders to view game segments may help them find a single game from the various actions. Working with a partner may help this type of programmer move towards completion of a game as well.
Scratch Day provides us with a purpose to reflect and work on a showcase project. These projects will also be presented at our school ASA assembly at the end of May. Imagine, Program, Share.