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Webspiration Wednesday

Last week, I instituted Webspiration Wednesday at CHC.  To find out what exactly Webspiration Wednesday is, check out my original post here. Today we gathered over a TED Talk by Tim Brown on Creativity and Play. Tim reminded me of something very important, there comes a point in schooling where we begin discouraging play.  We ask students to sit in their seats, to fill in the circles completely with a number two pencil, and to stay on task.  There is very little time in schools for play.  I think that by making schools void of play, we harm our students.  There is a lot of important learning that happens during play and discovery. In the video, Tim shows some pictures inside some major design firms (Pixar and Google).  At the beginning of the year, I asked students to describe what their dream school would look like.  I was very sad to learn that most of them couldn’t conceive of a school that looked different.  In our first brainstorming session, most of them talked about having more recess or a longer lunch and that was the extent of their wishes.  I really tried to impress on them that their school could look and be structured any way they wanted.  I was met with blank stares and confused looks.  The problem in the first brainstorming session was that students were doing what they do all day long in school.  They were trying to guess what I was thinking.  They wanted to give me the right answer.  But in this instance, there wasn’t a right answer, every answer was right.  I showed my students pictures of Googleplex and Pixar and explained that there was a lot of work and creativity that came out of both companies.  What they saw was a playland.  Nearly all of my students declared that they would work at Google or Pixar when they got out of school.  One of my students asked if I would help her write a resume so that Google would have it on file when she was ready to work there (she is 9).  We brainstormed a dream school again.  This time the students understood that there wasn’t a right answer, that the sky was the limit.  Few of them included desks in their dream school, nearly all of them included animals of some kind, and most of them wanted slides and piano stairs to get from one floor to another.  We collaborated on Wallwisher and dreamed together.  At the beginning of the project, I told the kids the school could look like, and operate, any way that they wanted, but there were two restrictions: 1. it had to be a place of learning, and 2. they had to justify why they included everything in their school.  Most of them cited an increase in creativity and innovation (we learned that word as we looked at pictures of Googleplex).   One of my students wanted  a huge cylinder tropical fish tank in the lobby with clear pipes branching out and winding around the school and through the classroom.  She thought the fish would be interesting to study and an inspiration for learning.  Another student wished for swing chairs hanging from the ceiling so that they could move while they learned.  Several kids wanted dogs in the school that they could read to because, “dogs won’t make fun of you when you make a mistake reading out loud.”  Once the students felt comfortable with not having one right answer, they let their imaginations run wild and came up with excellent ideas and suggestions. We need to help kids understand that there usually isn’t only one right answer.  They have been so primed to believe that every problem has one correct answer because we overload them with tests and worksheets that tell them that it is so.  We squash creativity.  Pretty soon they become adults who don’t know how to play and as a result, aren’t creative.  How do you encourage creativity and outside the box thinking in your classroom?

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Animoto for Education

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive book, Internet Safety, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 07-08-2008

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What it is: There are some really neat online tools that I find that live in my Google Notebook for a long time (I have upward of 800 links for educational websites yet to post to iLearn Technology…and growing daily!) Some get pushed aside for my newest cool find, and some move to the bottom of the list because, while they may have educational value, they are not intended JUST for education and may have some questionable user created content that I wouldn’t want my students to stumble on. Animoto was one of these sites for me. It is an amazing and COOL tool but wasn’t necessarily geared just toward education. I got a fun email today that Animoto now has an education only site! Animoto for education is a site where students can create compelling and impressive digital content quickly and easily. It is the perfect addition to your classroom’s digital storytelling kit. It is very intuative and easy to use, in no time students have digital videos that they created! This is also an amazing place for you, the teacher, to create a video that will bring your lessons to life. You can post or embed videos on your class site or even, are you ready for this?, download for in class presentations. Animoto for Education makes it simple to mix audio and visual for a dynamic, unique presentation in no time. It is so easy to use that students could create a complete animoto presentation in one computer class.

How to integrate Animoto for Education into the classroom: Animoto for education is a great place for you to teach from. Make any lesson come to life with audio and visual, use at the beginning of the day as a ‘teaser’ for what your students can look forward to learning each day or use to teach complex concepts in history, math, science, or character education. Students will respond to new media in the classroom. Allow your students to display knowledge of a concept using Animoto. Use Animoto for Education for a beginning of the year get to know you activity. Students can each create an Animoto showcasing who they are through pictures and music. Animoto presentations are quicker to create than traditional PowerPoint type presentations making them ideal for digital storytelling in the classroom setting. Because Animoto is completely web-based, students can create videos from school and continue working on them at home. The ability to download videos is outstanding…students could save their work for offline viewing too!

Tips: Children under 13 can’t sign up for their own account. To use Animoto for Education with your students you can register your students with dummy accounts using dummy email addresses. Animoto is private to your school. This means that other people can’t come accross student videos or contact students through the site.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Animoto for Education in your classroom.

Comments (1)

[…] 5. Animoto- The free version of Animoto lets students create 30 second videos that combine images, songs, and text. It combines them all for an impressive presentation without a lot of fuss. […]

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