Maybe because I’m a bit nuts, I have always challenged myself to use a new tool for the Summary of Learning projects I’ve done for my grad classes with Alec. This go-around was no exception. I narrowed my choices down to two: Genial.ly and Sutori. Ultimately I chose Sutori because it had the least amount of options for creation! Both can be used as presentation tools… but Genial.ly has WAY more capabilities than just a presentation tool and I did not want to fall into a rabbit hole. Check it out for yourself!
Because I knew I wanted a way to include links to some of the content but still needed a way to share my learning in a “watchable” format for class, I “presented” my Summary of Learning on Sutori and captured it using Screencastify. The link to the presentation on Sutori is here –SUMMARY OF LEARNING PRESENTATION. When you view it as a presentation, you will notice the arrow beside some text. Click on the arrow and it will open a hyperlinked site for you.
The one link that I think everyone needs to explore is Top Tools for Learning 2019. We have talked about or used a variety of these within our class this semester, but some of them are new to me and I am looking forward to exploring them.
As mentioned in my Summary and on Twitter, I curated a Wakelet of some of the Ed Tech we used this semester in class – check it out HERE. I’d love to have more contributors – shoot me a message! (and yes, I know I have a grammar error in my Tweet. Ugh.)
As I mentioned, I used Screencastify to capture the entire presentation as well as to record a Star Wars Intro Crawler I created using part of our course syllabus. Unfortunately this got cut from the presentation because my video became too long! So, for your viewing pleasure, here you go!
A couple more tools:
I used Bitmoji for the cute little avatar likenesses – Bitmoji Kyla is way more put together than Real Life Kyla this last week, that’s for sure!
and I used Canva to create two of the images in the presentation:
Those are the highlights! I hope you enjoy my summary of learning as much as I enjoyed my time in class this semester!
KYLA’S TOP TAKEAWAY from class: Wakelet. It has changed how I organize information in all aspects of my life. Seriously.
I humbly present my Summary of Learning for EC&I 831.
Disclaimer: I have a terrible cold and my nose is red and runny… hence, no webcam views of me. You’re welcome.
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock
Isn’t this the case with learning? We need community and connection with others to enhance our skills, passion, and depth. When we do this, similar to a symphony, something beautiful is created. How can we do that in the classroom? Through Open Educational Practices. Although you may question what this is, my guess is that you’ve probably used it without knowing, just as I did.
According to Catherine Cronin and Iain MacLaren, Open Educational Practices (OEP) are the “collaborative, pedagogical practices employing social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners.”
In other words, in a primary classroom setting, OEP looks like giving students the opportunity to co-create their questions and end goals, take charge of their learning through online sources and platforms, and share their knowledge and experiences beyond the classroom to inspire others. In the words of Loreli Thibault, the intention of OEP “is to broaden learning from a focus on access to knowledge, to a focus on access to knowledgecreation.”
There are many elements that make up this type of pedagogy in a K-12 Learning Environment, and Dr. Verena Roberts lays out the steps that can take you there through the Open Learning Design Intervention. I am confident that at one point or another, you have taken part in and facilitated some of these key elements of Open Educational Pedagogy.
Stage 1:Building Relationships Before starting any project in the classroom, a safe space needs to be established for students to feel like they belong and their voice is heard. This step is all about setting the stage and reassuring students that learning means making mistakes and growing from them. As educators, this should be our top priority in the classroom. Our students voices matter and building connection within our own community is key. Reminding kids that, throughout this whole learning process, they matter – a message that remains on my classroom door everyday.
Stage 2:Co-Designing Learning Pathways This is where students can take part in co-creating their learning and sharing their desires for the learning process. Criteria is discussed, questions are posed, goals are set, choices are given, digital citizenship is instilled, and motivation begins. I really like how Dr. Verena states that this is where the deep learning occurs, which is sustainable, rather than limited and surface level. BC Campus says that “instead of using disposable assignments that offer no value to the student or the instructors, your students, under your direction and supervision, can build a resource designed to improve the learning space.” When students are asked to come up with their own questions and are given the responsibility to do their own inquiry, they show up and engage deeper.
Stage 3: Building and Sharing Knowledge Evidence of learning is displayed more formally in this stage. Throughout this whole process, students are expected to connect with outside resources, topic experts, and use Open Educational Resources online. The learners are able to engage with outside learning environments to gain valuable skills, knowledge, and experience, and then can represent their learning process in creative ways. When I asked Twitter for some examples of Open Educational Practices, one of the suggestions was a Gamified Classroom. Dean Vendramin does a great job of incorporating game-based learning in his classroom to increase engagement and life-long learning. Online tools and experiences, like this one, are a great way for students to show their learning processes and discoveries during this stage. Social media, blogs, podcasts, infographics, or digital storytelling tools are just a number of online options that enrich the learning experience.
Stage 4: Building Personal Learning Networks How can we take our learning one step further? By allowing students to connect with others to build Personal Learning Networks, which expands their learning experiences beyond the classroom. This stage allows the students to share their voices with other students and outside sources. It brings the stages full circle, because it’s now building the relationships and trust outside of the classroom. They are able to reflect on their learning and use their voices and shared experiences for activism, connection, and empowerment. Kristen Wideen, an educator and author, went on a journey with her students called “Kids Can Create Change”. It allowed them to build Personal Learning Networks in order to promote “innovation, empowerment, risk taking, commitment, and skilled problem solving”. Through Twitter, they invited other classrooms to “identify a need in your school, community or in the world that you want to make better.” They created a global collaborative document on Book Creator app on how #kidscancreatechange so that other classrooms could share their experiences and ideas online. They wanted everyone to know that “even though they are young, they can create a huge impact.” This is an engaging yet simple way that students can develop empathy while empowering others around the globe.
OEP in the Primary Classroom When I think of the type of learning that takes place in Open Educational Practices, I can recall some examples from my own experiences in my grade three classroom:
Skype Guess Who A game that connects classrooms in a fun and engaging way, similar to an experience like Mystery Skype, “an education game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype.“
Twitter Challenges I have taken part in city-wide Twitter challenges, like the #yqreggdrop and #rbedropzone, which allowed students to use inquiry learning in order to connect and share experiences with other classrooms online.
Connecting with Experts With the internet, we have endless access to go beyond the four walls of our classroom. Instead of only reading information in textbooks, we are able to learn valuable information from the source themselves! My classroom connected with Barbara Reid, an author and clay illustrator, through Twitter. She responded to our learning process and gave us valuable information and feedback. She became a part of our journey, even though she wasn’t physically with us.
By accessing the Open Educational Resources of her website and Youtube videos, we created our own plasticine artwork based off of the type of illustrations she makes in her books. We completed the Saskatchewan Curriculum Outcome CP3.8: “Create art works using a variety of visual art concepts, forms and media and use “three-dimensional materials such as clay to create real textures.” When we completed our projects, we took pictures and displayed our learning on Twitter for others to see.
Even though I’ve taken part in Open Educational Practices in my primary classroom and have used pieces of the OEP stages, I have not yet completed the whole process of this type of learning. Sometimes it feels daunting to use OEP in an elementary classroom, and sometimes even impossible, but I believe that with dedication and an open mind, it is possible! I want to show you an example of how to apply it with your younger learners so that instead of it feeling intimidating, it feels motivating. By no means am I an expert with the concept, but it is something that I want to become more familiar with and encourage others to become familiar with as well.
Since I was close to hitting the target of OEP by connecting with the author and artist Barbara Reid, but didn’t quite use it to it’s full potential, I am going to show you how I would use this experience, or another art project experience, again using the stages of the Open Learning Design Intervention according to Dr. Verena.
Stage 1: Building Relationships
Before introducing the Visual Art Saskatchewan Curriculum Outcomes, set the stage for your students to understand that this learning experience is a process of sharing their voices and having their voices heard. Start with an informal, one-period, introduction lesson to build community in your class. Just as Barbara Reid tells stories through artwork, students should have the opportunity to share their own story before beginning their project.
Display various art media for students to choose from, such as clay, pastels, water colours, paint, crayon, etc. Give them the choice of using the art medium that they connect with and enjoy using the most.
They will create a visual representation with their art medium to tell a story about them, such as who they are or what they love to do, that they will later share with their classroom community.
Once they have created their artwork, they will have a chance to share with their community. The class can gather in a circle and share their artwork and stories while they receive encouragement and support from one another.
Through this opportunity, students are able to listen to their community member’s stories, share their voices, build empathy and understanding, and create connections with one another.
Stage 2: Co-Designing LearningPathways
In this stage, students will be introduced to the outcome, but instead of giving them all the same task, they will have choice in how they get there. They will have a chance to choose which artist they want to study and what type of art they want to model after. Not only does this apply to the original planned Saskatchewan Curriculum Outcome CP3.8, but it now applies to Saskatchewan Curriuclum Outcome CP3.7, which encourage students to “generate questions that arise from the investigation of a topic or area of interest to initiate inquiry” and “use guided Internet searches to investigate how artists use different art forms and media to express their ideas.”
Create a virtual art gallery with an online tool like Book Creator app, or use a website like Bear Claw Gallery. Students will browse the artists and their style of art.
As students are observing the art , they will decide which piece stands out to them or which artist they connect with the most.
Once they have chosen the artist they want to study and the art they want to learn how to make, they will start asking questions.
In the past, I have created “Wonder Walls” for students to pose questions, but in this project, I would use an online tool like Padlet to create questions on an online board so that teachers and other learners can be a part of the inquiry process. They will create questions they want to ask the artist and questions about the specific type of art the artist creates.
Stage 3: Building and Sharing Knowledge
Once students have their questions created, they will start building their knowledge in more explorative ways.
Connect with artists (experts) online through Twitter, Skype, Blogging, or email. Skype in the Classroom is a great way for kids to meet the artists they are learning about, especially since there is a whole program dedicated to Guest Speakers. Since this is an art project, they will also use sources like YouTube to figure out how to create the specific style of art they are learning about. If the artist is not living anymore, they can reach out to other artists who use the same type of style or medium to teach the student about the process.
2. Primary students need more guidance when it comes to asking questions and finding answers, so using Guided Inquiry is a beneficial way to support younger learners. Read Write Think has a helpful Inquiry Chart template that “enables students to gather information about a topic from several sources.” Ross Todd and Lyn Hay also developed a Guided Inquiry Template that gives guidance to the learning outcomes and questions. You can also create an online guided inquiry template, like a journal, for your students through Google Docs or Seesaw.
3. After the questions have been researched and explored, it’s time for students to display their learning. Like I said earlier, students can use things like Social media, blogs, podcasts, infographics, or digital storytelling tools to display their learning. Instead of using closed platforms like Seesaw, try to use something that can go further than the classroom.
Stage 4: Building Personal Learning Networks
Now is the time to extend the learning beyond the classroom. Students will use their inquiry process and the knowledge that they built to teach students around the globe through the internet. They are now to take on the role of the teacher so that other students can learn from them in their own classroom.
Use the tools of Time Lapse or Stop Motion to share their projects and to make artwork tutorial videos. Lori Thibault does a good job of using the feature of Fast Forward to share her learning and teach others about Unicorn Art. Once students create their tutorial video, they can share it on Youtube for other classrooms to watch and learn from.
Students can also step foot into other classrooms virtually with a tool like Skype or Zoom. They can be the teachers in real-time and give a step-by-step art lesson. This connection now builds Personal Learning Networks for the students to take part in.
This is just one example of how to use the stages of Open Educational Practices in your primary classroom, but there is always deeper learning that can be done. As I become more familiar with this concept, there are still questions that linger…
How do we go even deeper when building Personal Learning Networks amongst classrooms? Are there enough classrooms committed to this type of learning in order to have an online community for our students?
How can we facilitate a learning environment for our students where they are encouraged to think critically and responsibly?
Are there enough resources for primary students to be able to take part in OEP in a rich and meaningful way? What happens if we don’t have all of the resources or don’t have the connections to all of the experts in our learning?
These are some questions that I have thought of throughout my time of using Open Educational Practices in my classroom. There are always challenges that arise, and there will always be obstacles that come up. However, do the benefits of this type of learning outweigh the negatives? Absolutely. When you use Open Educational Practices in your classroom, “you are inviting your students to be part of the teaching process, participating in the co-creation of knowledge.” Using OEP in your classroom deepens the learning experience, the community, and the connection. Students deserve the opportunity to create networks and build knowledge that extends past the classroom, because when they take part in this OEP process, they are actually creating a beautiful symphony!