Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Best Practices for Encouraging Learning 24/7: Models that Work!

These are my notes from the NECC 2009 session “Best Practices for Encouraging Learning 24/7: Models that Work!” Official program description is:

Several distinguished educators will offer actual examples of 24/7 learning approaches to educational practice. Can these technology-based, best practices inform your classroom teaching?

Presenters are: Michael Searson, Kean University with Judith Beaver, Andrew Gardner, David Gibson, Kevin Jarrett and Elaine Wrenn. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS. FOR MORE RELATED TO THIS SEE MY APRIL 2008 PODCAST, “Transformative Project Based Learning in a 1:1 Laptop Initiative: 10 Years of Lessons and Best Practices at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii”

Comments from Judy Beaver, Punahou School in Honolulu, HI

Looking a lot at language acquisition and Marzano’s strategies for our intensive summer PD
– using Garageband
– when the kids heard themselves, they raised the bar and challenged themselves to try again
– focusing on how to reach kids that are hard to reach
– using Kidspiration to record ideas/answers to questions
– using tech to capitalize on student’s natural observational skills
– outside: what do they see, hear, smell, feel
– using cameras to capture what they experience, using those photos as prompts for later writing

Research shows providing audio books for students really helps
– students who were groaning at reading time, are now groaning when it is over

After school literacy is a part of our normal year programs
– not a sustainable program year after year
– these are kids whose reading level is not up to grade level
– Using “Read Naturally” and Lexia

Now have a Robotics program that has moved from an after school program to an elective
– the teacher reports he sees very different uses for robotics programs in the during-school versus after school

Also have an “Entrepreneurs in Residence” program
– last year 2 of the entrepreneurs in residence are film directors, and together they put together a school film festival

Student travel opportunities
– also have opportunities for faculty travel that have greatly impacted our learning in classrooms
– this summer is the first time we partnered with summer lab school to offer credit for student
– working with Earth University in LeFlore, Costa Rica
– focus on observations and developing research questions, and sharing those with the University
– outfitted students with iPod Touches, GPS units, photo here is a “practice hike” in Manoa
– doing a Google Earth project prior to their trip to Costa Rica

Next comments from David Gibson

What would happen if we didn’t have a school anymore, we just had the web?
– would students work for several months in a collaborative project
– yes, thousands of kids do and have gotten involved with projects like this

Core units involve students and adults
– our goal is to reach high school students worldwide through the web, who are interested in having an experience collaborating together in global teams focusing on a single problem: solve global warming before you go to college
– many of them have very good ideas, many of which are globally scalable
– we use open ended problem solving, leverage advanced technologies, applying knowledge, designing and implementing climate change solutions

We organize activities into things that look like webquests and then organize those into tracks
– we are trying to get a key concept out of kids that they want to turn into a project and a business plan if possible

Students decide and take actions based on interests
– spread awareness: take action / design a solution
– schedules, collaborators, and products
– game and simulation-based online learning experiences
– work is evaluated by scientists and educators

this will be the largest data set on the supply side
– project was student initiated
– students can take it to the level of a global business plan
– projects being done by 14 year olds

We use a lot of games and design our own
– we have A CD coming out in July
– very interested in having more students, we have about 4000 now
– we’d like more adults aware to support student success

We have final products
– my background started in performance assessment
– critical feedback from the scientific community also at the end

Global challenge bridges informal and formal learning
– easy to implement with flexible units of study
– self-directed, open-ended, problem-based, guided inquiry
– interdisciplinary
– action-oriented, authentic, community engagement

4 ways to bring us in:
– curriculum enhancement
– elective courses
– independent studies
– productivity centered service learning

Have linked up to state and national standards

Comments on “Game Design and Social Networking: Learning Outside the Walls”
– Andrew Gardner
– works as 3rd – 5th grade technology integrator at the School at Columbia
Twitter: agardnahh

I had a university background in game design
content question: what interests students?
context: what do we provide to facilitate communication, collaboration and continued conversation away from school?

PLAY really interests students
– playing out their social situations
– so we wanted to give them something somewhat play-oriented

How are we going to let them connect outside of schools: with new media tools

Gamestar Mechanics
– Afterschool
GLS conference: Games, Learning and Society, associated with Arizona State University
– Gamestar Mechanic is a web-based game that teaches you about game design, game design principles
– social network powered by ELGG

Institute of Play in New York

At my school we have our own social network we host on our own site, our own Flickr, our own YouTube, (based in Drupal)
– all walled-garden applications we run ourselves

GameStar Mechanic: Five core design elements you have to “fix”
– rules
– core mechanics
– components
– space
– goal

We are seduced by goals, we need to have some

When you are in Gamestar Mechanic, you become aware meta-cognitively of these complex, interconnected pieces
– this is a very authentic way for getting kids thinking with a “systems approach”

Gamestar Mechanic was in beta and went down, so we went to Plan B
– deconstructed the turn-based game: Ayiti: The Cost of Life
– we deconstructed the game and physically created an alternative

New Media Server: 100% open source


Social network
– academic context not social
– accountability
– documentation
– communication

Now comments from Westley Field

Skolaborate: global project
– 40 schools from around the world
– collaborating with a variety of tools, virtual worlds, meetings
– exploring how you can engage students in learning, change your practices
– creating global curriculum

showing map of our virtual world

anyone can contribute curriculum and content, we end up creating units together

in our virtual world we have rules and structure
– kids said they didn’t want structure and rules
– so we created a “Lord of the Flies”

Kids will say they want structures from adults

future strategy: start looking at structures you have in place that are holding you back from the future you want
– need to get rid of those which are obstacles

Unexpected outcomes
– when kids are given freedom from their avatar: students are more disconnected from their Avatar
– less peer influence in the virtual world for students, they seem to share and follow their own ideas

Now comments from Kevin Jarrett
– media and journalism/newspaper club
– school struggled last year to use iWeb and publish a newspaper
– my thought was: why should kids be held back by technology
– I proposed to the education foundation that we use web 2.0 tools and

The T-Bird Times: The Northfield Middle School Newspaper / Multimedia Club!

Kevin did an animoto on the way here, just showed it:

Find more videos like this on The T-Bird Times

Kids did an interview with Bob Webb, who knows the history of their school

Find more videos like this on The T-Bird Times

Did with a Flip camera, public version of “When September Ends” in the public domain, and Windows Moviemaker

My question is: When do our kids have chances/times to learn these things and do these things?
– they do NOT during the regular school day
– this is why after-school programs like this is so important

At end of they year, student used website Wix to create websites with a Flash-based drag and drop interface

Now entire class is producing animoto videos

Tools used by Columbia for open source walled garden apps:
JetPhoto (For photo sharing)
Drupal (for YouTube, also powers school website)
– Blogs (use mostly Blogger, don’t use home grown blog much)
– also use iWeb for student blogging
Google Docs also used

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One response to “Best Practices for Encouraging Learning 24/7: Models that Work!”

  1. johnson Avatar

    Really great information and nice videos. I liked the interview with Bob Webb.