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Three Interesting, Maybe Conflicting Ideas from Boston’s SXSWedu Meetup

WBUR’s Peter Balono-Rosen covers a SXSWedu Boston Community Meetup — which boasted over 30 participants, each with big ideas for education’s future they hope to share on stage at March 2015’s SXSWedu event in Austin, Texas. Read full article here: http://learninglab.wbur.org/2014/07/11/three-interesting-maybe-conflicting-ideas-from-bostons-sxswedu-meetup/

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Teaching Teachers to Code

Twenty junior kindergarten – 5th grade students from the Kennedy-Longfellow School (KLO) took on the challenge to teach teachers, and other community members, how to code at this year’s Lesley University Community of Scholar’s Day. The KLO/Lesley Technology Partnership team are in their third year teaching Scratch and other programming tools to students at the KLO Community Schools Afterschool Program.

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Using Tablets to Teach–Not Distract–In the Classroom

Industry analysts predict that schools will purchase 3.5 million tablets by year’s end. How is this changing the classroom? WGBH’s innovation reporter Cristina Quinn takes a look at a digital platform that is helping teachers gauge student learning on the fly. View article at: http://wgbhnews.org/post/using-tablets-teach-not-distract-classroom.

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Full STEAM Ahead: Creative Scientific Thinking on the iPad Platform

Jacy Edelman
Lesley University

STEAM 2014 Connectivity Conference
A Virtual Conference for Arts Integration and STEAM

This video presentation will introduce educators to a suite of digital tools on the iPad and a Google Drive workflow that support STEAM integration across content areas. Classroom exemplars will show the use of the iPad to support projects from beginning to end: from research, to scientific documentation, to dissemination, to assessment.

Links to apps & resources referenced in the video: http://edu.symbaloo.com/mix/ipadsandsteam

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The Confidence to Create

Yodamael St. Rose isn’t your typical 4th grader. In the past year she has directed her own movie, programmed interactive games in Scratch, and created a tutorial for other students on how to connect and use the school’s Raspberry Pi (the “3P K-LO”) computer packs at home. We asked Yoda to share what kind of tools and projects give her the confidence to create and here is what she shared with us:

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Transformative Partnership

The Lesley University Graduate School of Education is in its third year of a close partnership with the Kennedy-Longfellow School, an elementary school in Cambridge, to explore the transformational uses of educational technology in an urban public school setting. View article at: http://www.lesley.edu/kennedy-longfellow-partnership/?terms=transformative%20partnership

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3-2-1, Action!

When asked how they would like to present their informational texts on habitats, a group of third grade students unanimously chimed, “the green screen!” The project began with each student identifying a habitat they wanted to study. Research started in the classroom and school library, where students read habitat-specific books and narrowed in on an animal of choice. The group recorded notes in their science journals, distilling their reading into informational bits related to each animal’s environment, prey, and physical characteristics. We then discussed the idea of an essential question to build a deeper focus on one aspect of their animal. It was agreed across the board that everyone was interested in finding out how each animal survives in their respective habitat, but students felt they needed to do more research to explore this question, so we moved onto the iPads where they could access Newsela.com, KidRex, and Kids InfoBits. Newsela.com is a website that produces Lexile-leveled articles on current events neatly organized into categories such as: science, kids, money, law, etc. KidRex is a free, online search tool that screens only appropriate web content for children of all ages. Students also accessed Kids InfoBits, which is a student friendly database that houses a wealth of text, images and videos. (See student tutorial below.)

Together with the teachers, students chose articles closely related to their animal/environment and set about close readings of the text to hone in on the main themes. After another group check in, it was then determined that all of the students were intrigued by the idea of how climate change was affecting their chosen animal, and essential questions were altered to address this specific interest. It was also agreed that they would like to share their research with their peers by creating public service announcement (PSA) videos using the Makerspace green screen, with one student choosing to make a stop-motion animation using the iPad app myCreate. Once students felt their research was complete, we watched examples of PSAs online to get a sense of how they are crafted to share a strong message with the audience. Inspired by the possibilities, they eagerly jumped into storyboarding, which included writing a script, with specific dialogue for each scene. Students conferenced with a teacher one-on-one to choose corresponding images, music and/or sound effects for each scene. We made sure to use only images and music that were free under public domain.

Students took turns filming their scenes in front of the green screen (simply a large green cloth backdrop!), reading their script off of the SmartBoard projection. The one student doing the stop motion created a backdrop and characters out of felt, and using myCreate on her iPad, took a still image of each different movement of her characters that were automatically combined into one timeline video. Lastly, the green screen and myCreate footage were brought into iMovie, where students worked with teachers to add in images, music, or narration to their video. The final products shared out with third grade students and families to much applause.

Student videos:

Student tutorial on safe research sites:

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Junior K uses Augmented Reality to Search for Gingerbread Men! (JK)

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Junior Kindergarten (JK) students at Kennedy-Longfellow school solved the mystery of the missing gingerbread cookies with some help from an augmented reality iPad app called Layar. JK teacher Siobhan Patterson developed the interactive scavenger hunt, based on the Gingerbread Man book, which included gingerbread cookie paper cut outs placed with different staff throughout the school. Audio clues were prerecorded on the computer using Garageband and pitched up to mask the teacher’s voice, as well as sound more “gingerbready.” The recorded clues were cued by holding the iPad in front of each gingerbread cut out with the Layar app interface open. When the Layar app recognized the image, it triggered an overlay of an audio recording (it could be video, image — or whatever you want) and the students pressed the play button to hear the clue.

Once the group solved each of the clue “riddles” they were excitedly off to the next location! Ms. Patterson found that it helped to hold up the iPad as close as possible as well as make sure there was enough light for the Layar app to recognize the trigger images. Teachers at KLO are excited about the possibilities with Layar, especially experimenting with using it to support language acquisition.