Let's Talk Content

Sure, there is a lot of buzz around the 4 Cs and incorporating these into your curriculum; critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. We see some opportunities for students to communicate what they know or learned about the content at the end of the unit through oral presentations. When we communicate, or “talk the talk,” as a part of the learning we are forced to discuss our ideas and internalize our understanding. Let’s start having more conversations during the learning process so students are gaining a deeper learning of the content. There are many digital tools that will provide meaningful and relevant opportunities for the students. Here is a synopsis of each with a couple of examples of how to use it in your classroom.

VoiceThread is a website to create multimedia presentations and add in the conversations for each slide. Students have an option to add text, voice or video comments about the content, can provide/receive feedback in regards to their presentation. Teachers may use it as a formative assessment to see each student’s level of understanding on the content.  Completed VoiceThreads can easily be shared to parents, on a website, or even to students in another class period.
You can also locate this app in Google Play or iTunes and download the app for other various devices.  

SeeSaw - This has been an incredible website for the younger students to “talk” content and demonstrate their mastery. Students can talk and show what they know using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. Similar to journaling or portfolios, each student has a page the saves their work allowing teachers and parents to see the growth throughout the school year.  If you don’t teach younger students, it’s also great for the older students to have a non threatening environment to discuss their ideas since it is a private link. I think this website stands out more to me as mom because I can see what the child is learning each time they upload their work. Does this happen to you?: you pick up your child after school and ask them how their day was, “Good”. You then proceed to ask them “What did you learn today”. The normal response is “Oh, I don’t know, stuff.” As a mom of a child on SeeSaw, I can log in listen to him explain how he worked out a math problem or a drawing he created for the water cycle. An added bonus is the ability to make a comment to my child about that piece of work. AMAZING! That’s a lot of communication going on. Though it is a website, there are options to download the app from iTunes or Google Play for those other devices.

Let’s Recap - Recap is a simple to use website that allows for a person to respond to a prompt via video or text, then continue the dialogue to explore ideas and go deeper into the content. Once the students are used to the format of a having conversations on this platform, add some more context by creating a journey. A journey allows the teacher use supporting resources providing more depth of the content. Recap also summarizes video responses into a “reel” to allow for quick and easy sharing of all student responses in a fun format.   Joining a conversation is easy, one can invite participants through a pin number or an email/password.  

Vialogue - A vialogue uses video to provide opportunities for deeper dialogue in relation to the content. Rather than having the students just watch the video, students are engaged in the video by adding in questions or comments. Other participants can reply to each other’s posts, adding to the conversations by either elaborating, clarifying or maybe questioning the person's thoughts. All posts are time-stamped, meaning participants can click on the conversation at that point of the video and watch the segment to reply to previous posts.

So, which one will you try tomorrow?

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