Celebrating creativity in the classroom — from gettingsmart.com

Excerpt:

Additionally, we want to challenge you (and ourselves, too) to find time to be more creative. What do you want to learn more about? What art project have you been thinking about but haven’t made time to make a reality? Make it happen this month! Stay tuned, as throughout November we’ll be sharing:

  • Real-life examples of Design Thinking in the classroom
  • How creativity and critical thinking can go hand-in-hand
  • How makerspaces can become a core component of your work on creativity
  • A cool new city-wide effort to integrate art into different subject areas from a large urban district
  • How you can engage your classroom with music and games
  • How project-based learning can unleash student creativity
  • How one school encouraged creativity and project-based learning through a school-wide peace prize

 

 

 

Getting students ready for the gig economy — from gettingsmart.com by Emily Liebtag

Excerpt:

1) Finding a Passion and Making an Impact
Exploring passions, interests and causes that matter should be a part of every student’s education. Projects or several short-term gigs are a great way to help students reveal (or discover) their personal passions and to facilitate their interest explorations (all while still covering core content and standards). There are many students who already have opportunities to explore their passions during the regular school day through projects and are thriving as a result.

We’ve seen students at High Tech High create business plans and sell self-designed t-shirts, students at Thrive Public Schools engage in projects around kindness and empathy in their communities, and students at One Stone work with clients on advertising and marketing gigs, exploring their passions one project at a time.

Need ideas? Engage students in projects around the Sustainable Development Goals, snag an idea from the the PBL Q & A blog or simply ask students what they are curious about exploring in their community.

 

 

From DSC and Adobe — for faculty members and teachers out there:

Do your students an enormous favor by assigning them a digital communications project. Such a project could include images, infographics, illustrations, animations, videos, websites, blogs (with RSS feeds), podcasts, videocasts, mobile apps and more. Such outlets offer powerful means of communicating and demonstrating knowledge of a particular topic.

As Adobe mentions, when you teach your students how to create these types of media projects, you prepare them to be flexible and effective digital communicators.  I would also add that these new forms and tools can be highly engaging, while at the same time, they can foster students’ creativity. Building new media literacy skills will pay off big time for your students. It will land them jobs. It will help them communicate to a global audience. Students can build upon these skills to powerfully communicate numerous kinds of messages in the future. They can be their own radio station. They can be their own TV station.

For more information, see this page out at Adobe.com.

 

 

From DSC:
This is where we may need more team-based approaches…because one person may not be able to create and grade/assess such assignments.

 

 

For makerspaces out there, check out the Shaper Origin product! — with thanks to Mr. Joe Byerwalter for this excellent resource/find!

Excerpt:

We fuse computers with handheld tools to simplify the process of making. Shaper Origin is the world’s first smart handheld cutting tool. From intricate design work to dining room tables, Origin tackles projects of every size and complexity.

 

ShaperOrigin-August2016

 

 

 

From DSC:
How much longer before the functionalities that are found in tools like Bluescape & Mural are available via tvOS-based devices? Entrepreneurs and VCs out there, take note. Given:

  • the growth of freelancing and people working from home and/or out on the road
  • the need for people to collaborate over a distance
  • the growth of online learning
  • the growth of active/collaborative learning spaces in K-12 and higher ed
  • the need for lifelong learning

…this could be a lucrative market. Also, it would be meaningful work…knowing that you are helping people learn and earn.

 


 

Mural-Aug-2016

 

 

Bluescape-Aug2016

 

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 
 

Now you can build your own Amazon Echo at home—and Amazon couldn’t be happier — from qz.com by Michael Coren

Excerpt:

Amazon’s $180 Echo and the new Google Home (due out later this year) promise voice-activated assistants that order groceries, check calendars and perform sundry tasks of your everyday life. Now, with a little initiative and some online instructions, you can build the devices yourself for a fraction of the cost. And that’s just fine with the tech giants.

At this weekend’s Bay Area Maker Faire, Arduino, an open-source electronics manufacturer, announced new hardware “boards”—bundles of microprocessors, sensors, and ports—that will ship with voice and gesture capabilities, along with wifi and bluetooth connectivity. By plugging them into the free voice-recognition services offered by Google’s Cloud Speech API and Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, anyone can access world-class natural language processing power, and tap into the benefits those companies are touting. Amazon has even released its own blueprint and code repository to build a $60 version of its Echo using Raspberry Pi, another piece of open-source hardware.

 

From DSC:
Perhaps this type of endeavor could find its way into some project-based learning out there, as well as in:

  • Some Computer Science-related courses
  • Some Engineering-related courses
  • User Experience Design bootcamps
  • Makerspaces
  • Programs targeted at gifted students
  • Other…??

 

 

 

Teaching while learning: What I learned when I asked my students to make video essays — from chronicle.com by Janine Utell, Professor of English at Widener University

Excerpt:

This is not exactly a post about how to teach the video essay (or the audiovisual essay, or the essay video, or the scholarly video).  At the end I share some resources for those interested in teaching the form: the different ways we might define the form, some of the theoretical/conceptual ideas undergirding the form, how it allows us to make different kinds of arguments, and some elements of design, assignment and otherwise.

What I’m interested in here is reflecting on what this particular teaching moment has taught me.  It’s a moment still in progress/process.  These reflections might pertain to any teaching moment where you’re trying something new, where you’re learning as the students are learning, where everyone in the room is slightly uncomfortable (in a good, stretching kind of way), where failure is possible but totally okay, and where you’re able to bring in a new interest of your own and share it with the students.

Take two:  I tried this again in an upper-level narrative film course, and the suggestions made by students in the previous semester paid off.  With the additional guidance, students felt comfortable enough being challenged with the task of making the video; a number of them shared that they liked having the opportunity to learn a new skill, and that it was stimulating to have to think about new ways of making choices around what they wanted to say.  Every step of realizing their storyboard and outline required some problem-solving, and they were able to articulate the work of critical thinking in surprising ways (I think they themselves were a little surprised, too).

Some resources on the video essay/scholarly video:

 

 

From DSC:

A couple of comments that I wanted to make here include:

  1. I greatly appreciate Janine’s humility, her wonderful spirit of experimentation, and her willingness to learn something right along with her students. She expressed to her students that she had never done this before and that they all were learning together. She asked them for feedback along the way and incorporated that feedback in subsequent attempts at using this exercise. Students and faculty members need to realize/acknowledge/accept that few people know it all these days — experts are a dying breed in many fields, as the pace of change renders it thus.
    .
  2. Helping students along with their new media literacy skills is critical these days. Janine did a great job in this regard! Unfortunately, she is in an enormous minority.  I run a Digital Studio on our campus, and so often I enter the room with dismay…a bit of sorrow creeps back into me again, as too many times our students are not learning some of the skills that will serve them so well once they graduate (not to mention how much they would benefit from being able to craft multimedia-based messages and put such messages online in their studies while in college). Such skills will serve students well in whatever future vocation they go into.  Knowing some of the tools of the trade, working with digital audio and video, storyboarding, working with graphics, typography, and more — are excellent skills and knowledge to have in order to powerfully communicate one’s message.

 

 

 

 

Microsoft Surface Hub is now shipping – – from avinteractive.com

Excerpt:

Surface Hub is… “a new category of device that will transform the way companies work by delivering a new kind of productivity experience made for group collaboration. It was designed from the ground up for ink and touch, and harnesses the best collaboration and security features of Windows 10, Skype for Business, Office, OneNote and Universal Windows apps.”

 

 

Microsoft Surface Hub finally starts shipping — from informationweek.com by Nathan Eddy
Microsoft’s Surface Hub promises to revolutionize the way companies collaborate and communicate, but are businesses ready to pay a hefty price to do so? The giant, Windows 10-based device starts at $9,000.

 

 

Also see:

 

MicrosoftSurfaceHubNowShipping-3-31-16

MicrosoftSurfaceHub2-NowShipping-3-31-16

 

You can choose between 55” HD and 84” 4K options.
Start meetings on time with a tap of the screen.
End your session with an option to save & send meeting content to the group for later use.

 

 

From DSC:
Though this hardware is targeted towards the corporate space, I can’t help but think of the applications to higher education as well.  This is yet another tool that could facilitate active learning & stronger collaboration — whether that be in classrooms or in conference rooms.  Note how these solutions are often able to bring in remote learners/employees into the discussions.  In several of these kinds of solutions, the remote learners/employees can see and interact with the same content…such as in Bluescape.

 

Bluescape-3-31-16

 

 

 

 

Active Learning: In Need of Deeper Exploration — from facultyfocus.com by Maryellen Weimer

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The one proposed by Bonwell and Eison in an early (and now classic) active learning monograph is widely referenced: involving “students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.” (p. 2)

Those are fine places to start, but as interest in active learning has grown—and with its value now firmly established empirically—what gets labeled as active learning continues to expand. Carr, Palmer, and Hagel recently wrote, “Active learning is a very broad concept that covers or is associated with a wide variety of learning strategies.” (p. 173) They list some strategies now considered to be active learning. I’ve added a few more: experiential learning; learning by doing (hands-on learning); applied learning; service learning; peer teaching (in various contexts); lab work; role plays; case-based learning; group work of various kinds; technology-based strategies such as simulations, games, clickers, and various smart phone applications; and classroom interaction, with participation and discussion probably being the most widely used of all active learning approaches. Beyond strategies are theories such as constructivism that have spun off collections of student-centered approaches that promote student autonomy, self-direction, and self-regulation of learning.

 

 

“It’s Not You, It’s the Room”— Are the High-Tech, Active Learning Classrooms Worth It? [2013] – from cvm.umn.edu by Sehoya Cotner, Jessica Loper, J. D. Walker, and D. Christopher Brooks

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Several institutions have redesigned traditional learning spaces to better realize the potential of active, experiential learning. We compare student performance in traditional and active learning classrooms in a large, introductory biology course using the same syllabus, course goals, exams, and instructor. Using ACT scores as predictive, we found that students in the active learning classroom outperformed expectations, whereas those in the traditional classroom did not. By replicating initial work, our results provide empirical confirmation that new, technology-enhanced learning environments positively and independently affect student learning. Our data suggest that creating space for active learning can improve student performance in science courses. However, we recognize that such a commitment of resources is impractical for many institutions, and we offer recommendations for applying what we have learned to more traditional spaces.

We believe that the investment in ALCs at the University of Minnesota was worth it. Documented increases in student engagement and confirmed average gains of nearly 5 percentage points in final grades are improvements in the student academic experience that few educational interventions could aspire to. However, whether these improvements warrant the capital investment in ALCs is a judgment each educational institution must make for itself, drawing on local priorities and resources.

Instructors may need to think seriously and creatively about changing the manner in which they deliver their courses in spaces such as these —not only for the sake of navigating the challenges of teaching in a decentered space, but also to take advantage of the features of the room that allow us to better realize the benefits of active learning. The classroom architecture is bound to frustrate the efforts of faculty who don’t yield to the rooms’ novel demands. There is no well-identified “stage” from which to deliver a traditional lecture. Half of the students in the class may be facing away from the instructor at any given time. Teachers who view silence as engagement will need to adjust their perceptions, as one goal of decentralized classrooms is increased small-group interaction and this activity can be noisy and difficult to monitor. And, in the case of the ALCs at our institution, there is a learning curve with respect to the technological capabilities of the rooms.

 

 

Excerpt from the University of Minnesota’s Active Learning Classrooms web page:

What Is an Active Learning Classroom (ALC)?
ALC is the term often used to describe the student-centered, technology-rich learning environments at the University of Minnesota. U of M ALCs feature large round tables with places for nine students. Each table supports three laptops, with switching technology that connects them to a fixed flat-panel display projection system, and three microphones. There is a centered teaching station which allows the instructor to select and display table-specific information. Multiple white boards or glass-surface marker boards are distributed around the perimeter of the classrooms.

 

 

 

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