August 5, 2013

Classrooms Without Walls- Connect Your Classroom With The World.

Classrooms Without Walls- Connect Your Classroom With The World!

My last post on 10 Powerful Media Tools Every Educator Show Be Using Yesterday was all about how educators need to create a Personal Learning Network, but our students need authentic audiences too. Most of these same tools can be used to connect your classroom with the world. Our students need to   connect with other students in the classroom down the hall, down the street, across town, or even across the world! How do you do this? By introducing new concepts and activities to your students using creative measures, and by using Web 2.0 tools, such as Social Media. Social Media tools are changing how people, including our students interact with the world. This makes way for changes in the strategies and tools we use for teaching and learning.  The challenges of the new millennium require that students are 21st century thinkers and doers. The world has changed and traditional classrooms are not up to par with teaching our 21st century learners.

20 years ago the “Dog ate my homework” excuse was the top excuse for students not doing assignments, Scott McNealy  came up with the top 10 reasons why the students of today can’t turn in their homework.

10- Tech support for my PC was outsourced offshore

9- I had to delete it to make room for my iTunes

8- I’m still handwriting it. The MS Office license was too expensive

7- I emailed it- didn’t you get it?

6- I couldn’t afford the HP ink cartridge,

5- It took too long to type it on a regular keyboard. Can I text it to you instead?

4- The cut and paste keys on my keyboard are worn out (Google, cut, paste)

3- I plan on “open sourcing” from the kid next to me.

2- I had a visit from the Blue Screen of Death.

1- The dog chewed my laptop.

Well how do we do it? It just takes some creative thinking and doing. Follow me on this journey as we explore ways we can truly transform learning for our students, and at the same time transform how we teach!
So, how can you create a classroom without walls? Here are a few tips! Try setting this up before school even begins, and setting the tone on the 1st day

1. KidBlog

Create safe and controlled digital footprints, promote digital citizenship, have students blog and improve writing.  The best part is as the teacher you have full control.
Great way to teach kids about blogging

2) AudioBoo

Document your field trips using AudioBoo. (What a cute name) This free app allows you to create a channel that you can record and share audios and photos. The app is free to download, and users can access the website as well. In advance provide chaperones with information on how to download, and access to the channel. Chaperones can take pictures right from their smartphone, record students' audio talking about the picture, and upload their "boo" to your channel. It is a great way to share students individual experiences on the field trip with parents, or others who weren't able to attend.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture WITH accompanying audio narration is worth one thousand! Behold, the power of narrated photos!” Here are a few samples of how its done. more

3) Create a classroom twitter account.- 

This account is separate from your PLN. Share what you are doing with your students daily. Have your students tweet about their experiences. Get parents involved. Ask questions, have students tweet their answers with their parents for homework. Tweet about upcoming events. Twitter can also be a great way to teach students how to organize their thoughts and give specific but detailed answers. You only have 140 characters to tweet, so this is perfect way to do it.
Students can easily share and learn with others using twitter. More ways to use twitter in the classroom

4) Skype in The Classroom 

What an awesome way to connect with others. Rather it be Mystery Skype, Skyping with live authors, Professionals, or other students. Skyping is a very authentic way open your classroom walls and allow people to engage in your classroom safely. What about Read-Alouds? Invite parents, business professionals who may not have the time to leave the office and come into the classroom, but could easily connect via their computer, cellphone or ipad, and read books to your classroom.
There are even websites like Global Read Aloud and the list of Authors the Skype for Free
Here are 10 ways to get started with Skype

5) Create a classroom Youtube Channel

Upload slideshows, and videos of exciting things happening in your classroom. Parents will enjoy being able to subscribe to your channel and see. Have you even tried emailing a video to your parents? Most likely it was too big. This eliminates the need to email, and the new feature to create slide shows right within Youtube allows you to create a slideshow with your photos easily within Youtube. Another great thing is Youtube is embedded in just about every App, or website, so you should never have a problem sharing your videos from your phone, ipad, or computer. More here

Don't be afraid to open the windows of technology to your classroom, you have many things to share with the world!