At Wissahickon Middle School, we have been using Sway in a variety of ways for demostrations of learning, teacher presentations, and communication, collaboration and project-based learning. Another great way that our teachers and students are using Sway is through reading portfolios. Read on to find out how Language Arts teacher Chad Towarnicki and his students have used Sway to not only keep track of the books they have read, but to use stunning graphics, videos, and text to highlight their “big reads”.
During the third marking period our eighth grade students conduct a large scale Reading Workshop/Genre Study. This year, with Office 365 available to each student, we were able to use Sway as a singular portfolio housing for the variety of assignments that the students produce over a period of ten weeks. From the standpoint of the educator, students were able to generate several formal written assessments of varying length, multi-media formatted creative projects, and a formal log of book reviews all in one spot. From the student perspective, it was a single large-scale project where they could infuse whatever theme format they chose, creatively displaying their work while flexing their tech-savvy muscles.
The beauty of Sway was that formatting options work in sets of three, so students have enough wiggle room to manipulate the visuals when loading in different assignments, but there aren’t so many options that they get overwhelmed. In the end the students remained invested in the reading workshop for the long-term, due in part to the visually appealing one-stop-presentation of Sway.
On February 21-24, 2016, I attended the PETE & C Conference for the first time since 2010! As usual, I put my best self forward and presented four sessions on Microsoft in Education. Check out my presentations and resources hosted in a collection on Docs.com.
On Wednesday, September 30th, from 3-6 pm, the Montgomery County Association of Teachers of Foreign Languages (MCAFTL) held its fall conference at Wissahickon Middle School. I was asked about 6 months ago if I would be the presenter for this conference as they wanted to once again focus their fall conference on technology. As a former French teacher and member of MCAFTL, I jumped at the chance to share my love of instructional technology with my world language colleagues once again. When writing the conference presentation blurb in the spring, I came up with the following:
World Languages 3.0: Technology Tools for Engaging World Language Learners
Come on out to learn about the latest and greatest web-based tools for creating engaging and interactive activities, projects and lessons for your World Language learners. In this fast-paced, hands-on workshop, participants will be exposed to a variety of tools and resources that can be used for communication, collaboration, creativity, formative assessment, and the blended/flipped learning environment. Time will also be allotted for participant sharing, so be sure to come ready to share your favorite web-based technology! Be sure to bring your own device (laptop or tablet) to get the most out of this session.
However, I didn’t really know at that time what tools I would be presenting. As I really only had about 2 hours of instructional time, and I wanted to be sure to allow the participants some hands-on time with the tools I present, it was difficult to choose not only the best tools for world language learners, but also tools that would be free, web-based, and device agnostic, as we have a variety of platforms, devices, and student access in our county.
So, without further ado, I present “Ten Tools for Engaging (World Language) Learners“. I put World Language in parenthesis because in no way are any of these tools solely for language class. Each and every one of the tools below can, and should, be used by teachers from every discipline in every grade level.
What tools would you have chosen? Please leave your favorite free, web-based tools, in the comments!
Along with the preparation of bulletin boards, seating charts, classroom procedures and syllabi, it is also important for teachers to consider the go-to digital tools and resources they will rely upon as they head into the school year. The five tools and resources outlined below can be utilized by teachers and students in many different classroom settings, grade levels and subject areas for creation, communication, collaboration, and so much more.
Tool #1 – OneNote & OneNote Class Notebook
To maximize efficiency and rise to the top of the class in organization, consider using OneNote (free to download for any device) and the OneNote Class Notebook as the backbone of your digital life. Teachers can deliver engaging and interactive content easily and efficiently to their students and students can complete work by typing, annotating text, inserting images, linking notes, drawing with digital ink, etc. With Class Notebook through Office 365, teachers have immediate access to all student work and can provide on-going, detailed and specific feedback to each student privately, through text, ink, audio or video recording. Class Notebooks also have a Collaboration Space through which all students and teachers with access to that notebook can collaborate, communicate and create together. OneNote really IS the ultimate classroom tool!
It is easy to flip, blend, individualize and differentiate instruction with Office Mix. Although Office Mix is an excellent tool for any classroom, many educators believe it is THE ANSWER for the flipped or blended learning environment. This free add-in to PowerPoint allows teachers and students to enhance and amplify their presentations by adding interactivity and engagement through voice and screen recording, digital ink annotation, embedding videos and polling. Content creation and delivery is not only easy and efficient, but highly motivating to the end users – the students! Also remember, it’s not just for teachers! Students too can get “in the mix” to demonstrate their learning or teach a new concept to their classmates – and ask questions of them to see if they were listening! To get Office Mix visit http://mix.office.com and to learn more about using it in your classroom visit http://mixforteachers.com.
Office Mix Toolbar
Check out this great video for an introduction and step-by-step guide on how to create your first Office Mix.
Tool #3 – Sway
Are you ready to Sway? In just minutes, teachers and students can create stunning visual presentations with a unique web URL that can be easily shared for viewing or collaboration. By adding interactive content such as photos, videos, audio files, Twitter feeds, charts, documents and maps, students can easily demonstrate their learning and present their thoughts and ideas without having to spend a lot of time on design. As each Sway has its own unique web address, it can be used for a variety of items in the teaching and learning environment including delivery of content, demonstration of learning, but also for communication such as blogging, parent newsletters, student publications, faculty updates, etc.
How have you connected your classroom with the world? With Skype and Skype in the Classroom, it is easier than ever to connect your students with other teachers, classrooms, experts and projects to help break down the walls of your classroom to bring the world in. Not sure where to start? Play Mystery Skype with another classroom from somewhere around the world. It is a fun and easy way to get started with Skype and providing global opportunities for your students.