Taking the Baton

I don’t know how or why things all seem to converge almost to the breaking point, but it did.  I meant to post about my class’ experience with EdTechBaton three weeks ago…my how time flies.

I came across EdTechBaton while doing a search on Instagram for teachers and classes to follow.  The idea of “taking the baton” for the day and sharing what my students were doing on the iPads was too good to pass up.

It was easy to sign up (http://edtechbaton.com) and even easier to get started.  My students, after all, were plenty used to my taking pictures of them…but this time we upped the ante.  My students were not going to be featured just on our class website (behind a locked page), but rather on the Internet for a global audience.

It was fun to take pictures of them working.  Using technology in the classroom always requires a lot of planning and forethought, but once the ball gets rolling, I’m really just roaming around the room.  The learning process is definitely student-centered in my classroom.  And the pictures that I posed to EdTechBaton definitely show-cased that.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my students and their enthusiasm for learning.  It’s not just the iPads…because the novelty will eventually wear off…but the enthusiasm remains if the teacher plans authentic learning opportunities.  Students need to find meaning in what they are doing.  They need to be given choices in the learning process.  All of which I try to keep in the forefront of the planning process.  I’m all about switching things up, making them current, making them relevant to my students…and perhaps just a bit more importantly…entertaining for me to watch.  =)

Late to the Party

I don’t know what took me so long, but all of the stars finally aligned last week to show me the way of documenting the learning journey of my students using Instagram.  For many years, photos of my students were featured on my class website…but it was so inclusive and isolated.

I noticed on my personal Instagram account that other educators were using Instagram to feature their student work and projects…and I figured, why not?  Why not!  I took to Instagram and though it was not as easy as I thought, I managed to find several classrooms to follow.  Discovering a couple of hashtags that connect educators together on Instagram was also a nice find (#teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram).

I had the account, the hashtags, and my students were already immune to my taking pictures of them…nothing was holding me back.

Time to move forward.

My students have been working feverishly on a variety of projects for our Feudal Europe Unit (#lifeinfeudaleurope).  I only have them for two more weeks before a new batch of 7th graders walk through my door.  So I’m trying to squeeze every last bit of their technical knowledge and creative prowess out of them.  I will be featuring their projects at #CUE15 and at the 7th Annual GATE Webinar Series for UCI Extension.  I tell you, I am just the facilitator of this journey…my students are the ones who are doing the labor.  And I’m documenting every minute!