The Journal 2020 Award Winners

THE Journal 2020 New Product Award Winners

For THE Journal’s first-ever New Product Award program, judges selected winners in 30 categories spanning all aspects of technology innovations in K–12 education, from the classroom to the server room and beyond. We are proud to honor these winners for their outstanding contributions to the institution of education, in particular at this time of upheaval in the way education is being delivered to the nation’s 50 million students.

 

From DSC:
Our oldest daughter showed me a “Bitmoji Classroom” that her mentor teacher — Emily Clay — uses as her virtual classroom. Below are some snapshots of the Google Slides that Emily developed based on the work of:

  • Kayla Young (@bitmoji.kayla)
  • MaryBeth Thomas 
  • Ms. Smith 
  • Karen Koch
  • The First Grade Creative — by C. Verddugo

My hats off to all of these folks whose work laid the foundations for this creative, fun, engaging, easy-to-follow virtual classroom for a special education preschool classroom — complete with ties to videoconferencing functionalities from Zoom. Emily’s students could click on items all over the place — they could explore, pursue their interests/curiosities/passions. So the snapshots below don’t offer the great interactivity that the real deal does.

Nice work Emily & Company! I like how you provided more choice, more control to your students — while keeping them engaged! 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

From DSC:
I also like the idea of presenting this type of slide (immediately below, and students’ names have been blurred for privacy’s sake) prior to entering a videoconferencing session where you are going to break out the students into groups. Perhaps that didn’t happen in Emily’s class…I’m not sure, but in other settings, it would make sense to share one’s screen right before sending the students to those breakout rooms and show them that type of slide (to let them know who will be in their particular breakout group).

The students in the different breakout sessions could then collaboratively work on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and you could watch their progress in real-time!

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

 

A snapshot of a Bitmoji Classroom created by Emily Clay

Also see:

 
 

Lincoln Financial CIO: How to build a learning culture – even in a pandemic — from enterprisersproject.com by Ken Solon
Lincoln Financial CIO Ken Solon shares how he’s bringing a virtual perspective to his longtime commitment to prioritizing the people behind the technology

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In the spirit of test-and-learn, we created “Lean In and Learn IT,” an interactive digital program that provides a deep dive into one key IT strategy each month. Topics include digital and architecture, agile and DevOps, cloud, big data, and cybersecurity.

Based in our virtual collaboration platform, each topic features a kick-off video followed by a drip of content and interaction, including snackable articles, video clips, quizzes, and prizes to keep the team engaged. The month wraps up with a webcast focused on a key business application of the strategy, featuring subject matter experts both from within the IT organization and our business partners.

The involvement of partners is key, as our surveys tell us that few things motivate our teams as effectively as seeing the impact of their work.

From DSC:
Love their use of “streams of content.”

 

Virtual Reality: Realizing the Power of Experience, Excursion and Immersion in the Classroom — from nytimes.com
A framework for teaching with New York Times 360 V.R. videos, plus eight lesson plans for STEM and the humanities.

A Guide for Using NYT VR With Students

  • Getting Started With V.R. in the Classroom
  • Lesson 1: A Mission to Pluto
  • Lesson 2: Meet Three Children Displaced by War and Persecution
  • Lesson 3: Four Antarctic Expeditions
  • Lesson 4: Time Travel Through Olympic History
  • Lesson 5: Decode the Secret Language of Dolphins and Whales
  • Lesson 6: Memorials and Justice
  • Lesson 7: The World’s Biggest Physics Experiment
  • Lesson 8: Journey to the Hottest Place on Earth

 

 

YouTube channels for ESL learners — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Are you looking for YouTube channels that will help your ESL learners master the English language? Well, look no further. In this article, we will profile 20 YouTube channels that will do just that.

 

From DSC:
In our future learning experiences, I wonder what taking a break might look and sound like…? That is, we’re going along learning something from/with others (virtually/digitally) and then the teacher, professor, Subject Matter Expert (SME), trainer, or whoever says to take a break. What could happen then?

In the online/digital/virtual-based realm, that could mean that you have the option to set your “break” setting to bring up Spotify, or Vimeo, or YouTube, or Pandora, some VR-based app, other. The lights in your “learning space” could dim and the music could come on. Or you reach for a VR headset and watch a sunset or position yourself by a picturesque brook. Or your favorite podcast/vodcast picks up where you left off.

Hmmm…should be some interesting innovation and affordances along these lines.

 

 

Here is a helpful app to help teachers create green screen videos — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

If you are looking for a good green screen app to use in your teaching and with your students in class, Do Ink is definitely one of the first options you should consider. Green Screen by Do Ink allows you to easily create beautiful videos and visual presentations incorporating a wide variety of multimedia materials. As a teacher, you can use it to design tutorials, step-by-step guides, explainers, visual illustrations, presentations, posters, and many more.

 

 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 
 

Richard Mayer Has Spent Decades On Educational Research. Here are His Pandemic Teaching Tips. — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

EdSurge recently reached out to Mayer, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to get his thoughts on the lessons his research reveals that can guide teachers and professors.

One finding is that students learn better if they see a video of the professor actually working out a math problem or concept on a whiteboard, than if they see a video of the same professor standing next to a whiteboard where the problem has already been worked out.

 
 
 

Fostering Student Creativity with Green-Screen Videos — from teachingprofessor.com by Jason Webb and Jeff Mangram

Excerpt:

Educators have come to realize that videos are highly effective and engaging ways to create online course content. One of the most engaging forms uses a green-screen backdrop to project images or videos behind or next to the speaker. Barbara Oakley used this technique in her famous course Learning How to Learn, where she brought in images to illustrate and amplify her message during course videos. Take a look at this example and consider the fact that Oakley shot the videos in her basement using only a couple hundred dollars’ worth of supplies. Today most colleges already have green-screen studios set up for marketing or other uses.

 
 

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