One of the benefits of having this blog is that it allows me to connect with teachers outside of my assigned campuses. Last year I had the privilege of working with 2 teachers from Bush Middle School on an Edublogs project. It was my first experience with secondary students, and I was hooked. Not just hooked on the student’s level of enthusiasm and creativity, but also on the 2 teachers I worked with (@ and @). So, I was thrilled when Mrs. Harris replied to my Facebook post last November. Greg Kulowiec wrote a guest blog post on Richard Byrne’s site, Free Technology for Teachers. It described a project utilizing Google Slides, Thinglink and Snagit. We both fell in love with this idea, and she decided to try it out as a Genius Hour project. Here is a description of her learning objectives:
“In our efforts to involve students in ownership of their learning, we introduced the concept of Genius Hour. Our main learning objective was teaching students how to research and then react to their research. We wanted them to understand that they were not “just 8th graders.” The ideas that they come up with today can change our tomorrow. Students were asked to come up with an idea to make the world a better place through an invention of their own, acquiring a new skill to share with the world, or a way to volunteer to help others. I am in awe of the wonderful things that the students came up with. We had everything from students building crucibles to melt aluminum to cast ant hills to students volunteering at Elf Louise to promote awareness of the program.”
Mrs. Harris created a Padlet wall to collect all of the student assignments. As I was clicking through to view the incredible student work, I realized I never would have had the insight into their projects if it weren’t for their screencastings explaining their Thinglinks. I found myself wishing they would have included some of the information from the screencast in their Thinglinks. This was a powerful moment for me. Screencasting can be an incredibly important part of the creation process. Students and teachers can use a screencast to revise and edit a project. When students hear themselves explaining their thinking, they can go back and elaborate on the components that need further explanation. Below is the Padlet wall Mrs. Harris shared with me. I hope you find inspiration for your next technology project.