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24 Feb 2015
Comments: 1

App-Smashed Benjamin Franklin Biography

I guess this is what happens when your mom is both an educator and an Ed Tech…

My second grader recently brought home a bottle biography project. We finished the written portion a few weeks ago knowing that we still had the craft module to complete. Now before I continue with my story, I want to clarify a few points:

  • By no means am I saying that all student projects should be digital.
  • By no means do I believe that projects shouldn’t be sent home.
  • By no means do I think projects shouldn’t involve crafts.
  • By no means do I think the whole assigned project lacked merit or purpose.

Purposeful Crafts

Please know that I definitely enjoy doing projects with my son and I think it is great bonding time… I just believe that craft assignments should be purposeful in nature. No matter how many projects like this we get assigned, I find that the “craft” module of the project falls mostly on the parent to select and purchase the supplies and even assemble them. Now don’t get me wrong, my son helped locate rocks to fill the bottle to stabilize it and did assist with some of the assembly and design but ultimately most of the bottle project ended up in my lap. I then have to ask myself, “what did he ultimately learn from this craft?” So, this got me thinking… what could we do with this bottle craft project to elevate and extend the learning and utilize and incorporate the craft project?

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Research and Extensions

I will say that we gleaned a lot through reading the biographies together and completing the provided biography inventory. Because I felt like my son had learned more about Benjamin Franklin than he displayed in both the bottle and the handout, I decided to add a few more guidelines to the project (based on the 2nd grade standards). Many of these extended the written, visual, and oral requirements for the project:

  • MindMap of 5 Adjectives: This included a hand-drawn image from my son as well as component of typing and allowed him to display his research visually. (used Popplet Lite app)
  • Locating Origins and Birth Places: This was simple but addressed a geography component and the ability to locate places of significance. (used Google Earth app)
  • PostCard to Benjamin Franklin: This creative writing assignment  focused on expository text standards as well as addressing important contributions of historical figures. (used Bill Atkinson PhotoCard app)
  • App-Smashed Assembly: As Toontastic is now free (since it was acquired by Google), and it had a Benjamin Franklin toon within its suite, we decided this would be the perfect tool for app-smashing the aforementioned content. Not only was this a great tool to assemble all of the digital media, it also addressed the standard of creating visual displays to convey research results and touched on the component of expressing ideas orally as well. (used Toontastic app)

Within the App-Smashed Assembly, we included a few more elements:

  • Reflection on Process: I am a huge proponent of reflecting on the process – not just the final product so I made sure that my son included how Bottle Ben came to be with pics of the final product and a delineation of the materials.
  • Citations and Multiple Sources: While I am currently stationed at a HS, I have to tell you that I had my stint in elementary as well and have a special place in my heart for children’s literature. As some of the books that my son self-selected from the library proved to be above his reading level, I picked up a few from Amazon. In doing so, these books reiterated the content that we had read from his initial research and provided a diverse landscape for his learning.
  • Publishing: Publishing and Sharing writing is a a big component of the standards and I can’t tell you how excited and proud my son gets when he finds out that other schools in the district (and schools across the nation) want to share his project with their students. In fact just this morning he smiled and said, “just say ‘yes’ to anyone that asks you.”  😉

Ben Franklin copy

Final Project

So here is the final App Smashed project… One of my favorite parts is that the analog creations (e.g. Ben biography bottle and hand-drawn images) provide a introspective and unique landscape to the digital creation that could not be achieved through digital elements alone.

I have to say that had we to do this over again… I would make a few tweaks to the project:

  • Include all Original Artwork: I would have had him design a setting for Benjamin Franklin (hand-drawn) rather than using the Toontastic stock background.
  • Assemble a Timeline: I might also have suggested a timeline of major contributions or events created with Popplet Lite or RWT Timeline.
  • Dramatize a Scene: I would also have him recreate an actual scene to meet dramatization standards.

Authentic Audience

Nothing warms my heart more than to know that my son’s work is well received and that he has an authentic audience for his learning.

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Invest in Knowledge and Involve Me…

So I fortuitously happed upon this bottle of wine at Walgreen’s and in doing so learned that Benjamin Franklin had a repertoire of wine quotes as well. As none of these quotes were particularly app-licable or app-ropriate, I decided to share one of my favorite Benji (yes, we are now on a first nickname basis now) quotes about learning:

Benji Quotes.001 copy

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11 Dec 2014
Comments: 4

Visual Portfolios: The Blending of Analog and Digital

As I mentioned in my most recent post, The Role of an Ed Tech within the Project Planning Cycle of a 1:1 iPad Classroom, my job entails working with students just as much as teachers. A few months ago I was asked to speak to the Senior Mentorship classes about online resumes, portfolios, social media, and digital footprints. A collection of the resources I shared is available here. Each year students in these classes present a final presentation summarizing their experience throughout the semester of their professional mentorship. In addition to showcasing the resources mentioned above, I highlighted the tool bulb as a way for students to create an online visual portfolio of their work and final products.

One student, Yasmeen Tizani, gravitated to bulb and created an exceptional portfolio of her work. Her bulb includes three collections: ArtArchitecture Mentorship, and Architecture at UT.

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I have to say it has been such an amazing experience working with Yasmeen this semester. She would pop in a few times to get my feedback on the layout and any ideas for improvement of the content.

Polishing the Portfolio

Two changes that she made based on our discussions were art work descriptions and the use of Canva to create a few of the tiled images:

  • Art Work Reflections: We discussed adding blurbs on each art piece that highlighted both the inspiration for the work as well as the process and media used to create it. 
  • Canva Creations to Customize Tiles: Rather than uploading a photo or using the default image associated with the page’s tile, Yasmeen used Canva to expertly spruce up a few of her page icons.
bulb.001

Hybrid Portfolio

The best part of this bulb is the hybrid approach that Yasmeen took. She created a mentorship portfolio that combined a unique blend of analog and digital work from scanned log sheets and journal entries, photographs of hand-drawn sketchbooks, to images of SketchUp designs and photographs of the final product.

bulb3.002

Personalizing Visual Archival

Yasmeen even included a collection of her work from the UT Architecture Program. The collection seamlessly blends photos from her presentations as well as the evolution of her final product through multiple iterations. One of the most powerful pieces of the portfolio is showcasing Yasmeen in action – I think it brings a personal touch to the portfolio that stand-alone photos of products alone could not.

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Transferring Portfolios

One of my biggest pet peeves with ePortfolios is that many students create something within the four walls of their K-12 education and then the portfolio is not transferable to the student when they leave. I advised our seniors to create their bulb accounts with their personal gmail account so that they could continue to grow and evolve with their work after they left our institution.

Many thanks to Yasmeen for letting me share her work. I hope it serves as an exemplary model to inspire you and your students to reflect, create, and publish.

ePortfolios are Awesome

Interested in getting started with ePortfolios… I have prepared a thorough Tackk on the topic in my own whimsical way 😉

See on Tackk.com
 

How Can Teachers Use Bulb?

Bulb isn’t just for students and ePortfolios. Check out how TechChef uses bulb to create a differentiated professional development resource.
 
 

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02 Dec 2014
Comments: 5

The Role of an Ed Tech within the Project Planning Cycle of a 1:1 iPad Classroom

During a conversation with my father over the Thanksgiving week, I realized that he had no idea what my job actually was. Now this may sound strange but truthfully when you hold a support role and you don’t occupy a classroom for seven periods a day, people often wonder what it is that you do. I know how busy I am during the day and those that utilize my services and plan with me also value my insight and position, but I thought the inquiry and topic might warrant a deeper reflection.

What is the Role of an Educational Technologist?

When people think about the role of Educational Technologist, they immediately consider co-planning with teachers and offering professional development… but what many don’t realize is that I work with students just as much as I do with teachers…

The Role of An Ed Tech

What Does a Life Cycle of a 1:1 iPad Project Look Like?

This blog could get quite lengthy… but I felt a Tackk was truly the best tool to highlight and illuminate the role of an Ed Tech within an actual project cycle. From that email or first point of contact with a teacher to the planning and support provided for both teacher and students throughout the life cycle of a classroom project…to the final stages of publishing and reflection. Check out this thorough reflection on the life cycle of an iPad Project.

See on Tackk.com
 

Many thanks to both Tackk (@Tackk) and Shadow Puppet (@puppet) for their social media love, kind words and app-reciation for this piece.

Appreciation

 

What is the Ed Tech Piece of the Pie?

A big shout-out to Carl Hooker for creating this epic mock iTunes U page to highlight some of the roles of an Ed Tech as well as to showcase a handful of carefully curated resources and supports that I provide:

I feel very blessed to have a job that I am so passionate about and that I wake up for each day knowing that I can make a difference. I sincerely hope that my time spent on metacognition and narration of this process is helpful and beneficial to the greater edusphere and will inspire others to reflect and share their work and insight within their own roles.

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