Connecting Globally at MassCue 2016

Moia Rowsome Blog

The theme this year at the MassCue Conference was Global Connections & Digital Learning. As I am Irish but currently living in Boston,  this theme resonated deeply with me. I believe that making connections with others, near and far, has become an essential part of making progress in the world of education. These connections are not just for teachers to make. We should involve students, principals, parents, superintendents, vendors, tech specialists, speakers and researchers in the process.  For me, MassCue was a perfect example of how to connect everyone. People from all corners of education were in attendance and ready to connect and learn. I was very excited to take part both as a vendor with 30hands Learning and as a presenter talking about digital storytelling and Ancient History. And, as I have a background in High School teaching, I felt right at home with all of the like-minded educators and EdTech enthusiasts. What a place! The venue itself is a sight to behold. MassCue is held in the New England Patriot’s home the Gillette Stadium. Not that I’m a huge sports fan if I’m honest, but I could certainly appreciate what a spectacular place this was. This was the view I had for my 30hands Learning presentation on Engaging Students in Ancient History through Digital Storytelling! So the setting alone got people pumped for the 2 days of connecting and learning. Who was there? In attendance was a wide range of EdTechie types. From hundreds of vendors eager to share …

Introducing 30hands Storyteller Web

Eric Braun Blog

If you are using Chromebooks or laptops in your schools, you can now explore the power of Digital Storytelling with the new 30hands Storyteller Web app. As your students advance from an iPad to a device with a keyboard, the way they explore content, learn a topic and create projects changes. We have taken advantage of some of the great features of a larger screen and a keyboard to make the learning experience better. It’s just as quick and easy to create a digital story or presentation in the browser as it is on the iPad, but there are more possibilities, like Narration Notes, Private Viewer Notes and Thumbnail Navigation. When iPads came out several years ago, schools saw great value in how students could use them in schools, and the number of apps that came out to support great learning grew exponentially. In 2013, we introduced the 30hands mobile app as a way to get students of all ages to show what they know through a multimedia digital story. As we  work with teachers, we continue to improve the app to make it an even better fit for learning through hands-on creation and presenting. Now, after a year of exploring design concepts and a busy summer beta-testing with a group of teachers from across the country, we have released our digital storytelling app as a browser app. This means that 30hands Storyteller Web will run within the browser instead of downloading it to your device. The app is currently …

Models of Experiential Learning: Entrepreneurship

Eric Braun Blog

When I decided to dive into the world of education several years ago, I spent a lot of time exploring models of great learning. My exploration came through reading articles on pedagogy and research, talking to educators and learners and thinking about my own experiences. Although I had been a very good student in the traditional sense, I realized that what had made the most impact on me was hands-on and experiential learning. Recently, I experienced a few events and activities that I found to be great models of experiential learning. Let’s take a look at one event on Entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurial Journey Entrepreneurship is all the rage nowadays, but what does it mean at the core? What does it take to be an entrepreneur? What’s the impact if  you happen to be female? These are questions that Nora Poggi sought to uncover as she created her film “She Started It“. The film takes the viewer through the journey of 2 young women starting companies, with some side trips along the way to highlight a few others. In a little over an hour, the viewer gets a good sense of the joy of success and the agony of defeat. We see the hard work, the fear, outside influences, luck and constant change. Having been in this world myself for over 20 years, I am impressed at how much of the journey comes out in one short film. Kudos to Nora and her team! Why is this relevant to the future of education? It …

Video Lessons Made Easy

Moia Rowsome Blog

Since the rise of the smartphone and faster Internet speeds, people have changed the way they access and consume content. More and more, we are drawn to videos and multimedia. Why is this? One reason may be that “Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text.” (Psychology Today). That’s a phenomenal number! It’s enough to make you want to go out and create a video. As educators, there are so many ways video can be used with students both in and out of the classroom. But isn’t it too difficult to create videos? Doesn’t it take too much work? Read on to see some tips on how to make the process relatively quick and easy. Where to Use Video with Students Introducing a Topic: Video lessons can be a great way to introduce a topic in the classroom. It takes the students’ attention away from the teacher and focuses them on something new and fresh to kickstart the new topic. Illustrating a Concept: To illustrate a concept or perhaps experiment that you cannot do in class time, a video lesson can be very effective. Let’s say you are studying photosynthesis. It can be difficult to illustrate this immediately as it is a process that occurs over a period of time. So in order for your students to really visualize what happens, you could create an animated video with diagrams and labels and even pictures of the plant growing over time to illustrate the process. This approach to …

Digital Storytelling Covers Multiple Concepts & Standards in 1 Activity

Eric Braun Blog

Just the mention of the Common Core Standards can be enough to cause the hairs on the back of one’s neck to bristle up, either from hatred of the standards or from fear of criticism of standards by parents and the community. Whether we call them standards, learning goals or something else, there are valid skills and concepts we need to teach our kids. When you put them all together, there’s a whole lot of detail and complexity to the learning puzzle. Finding activities that map to multiple standards, skills or learning goals can make the learning and teaching process much easier. Digital Storytelling is one of those activities. A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the value of the Digital Storytelling process. In this post, we’ll look at how a Digital Storytelling activity can be mapped to a selection of Standards from a few different sources, including the Common Core and ISTE. Now, that’s great value! For this activity, let’s look at the book Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, which could be used for a 6th grade classroom. Here are a few themes from Walk Two Moons: Empathy as a source of understanding Nature as a source of comfort and strength The symbolism of the journey Discovering one’s identity Grief and how people deal with it The roles of women The impact of culture on people As a student, I might select “The symbolism of the journey” for my theme. I could perform research on the journey in other …

30hands at Home: Interviewing a Relative

Gaby Charmont Blog

Each person has a unique background full of different cultural influences and their own lived experiences. Our relatives hold a wealth of stories about where and how they grew up, and it is interesting to uncover your past through having conversations and listening to what others have to say. Take the time to learn from the stories and wisdom they can offer in order to grow through gaining their perspective on life.   The Activity: Have your children interview a few of their relatives and obtain their stories. They will listen to the lived history of their family members and ask questions along the way. Help your children to identify cultural influences that have shaped their past through their relatives stories.  The Level: This is a valuable activity where children can learn a great deal at any age. At all ages, kids are able to gain a new understanding from listening to their relative’s stories. Older children may find it easier to makes connections to their own lives and to better understand the perspective of that family member. The Procedure: Ideally, have your child meet with in person or call the family member that they have chosen to interview. This may not be possible though and other forms of communication, such as e-mail, could be used to obtain their relative’s stories, but are less personal. Have your children focus on the meaning of that story and the takeaways present which they could apply to their own life. Your children will make a …

30hands At Home! Nature Exploration

Nate Brown Blog

For many students, it’s hard to stay mentally active during the summer. Its important to keep exercising the muscle that is one’s brain to stay sharp! Here is a quick 30hands activity to bring some learning and fun into the summer months. Today we are going on a nature exploration! All you will need is 30hands, and internet access for research. To start the nature exploration, simply go out into your backyard or the park with 30hands Pro! Once you have found an interesting spot outside, take pictures of plants and animals that you think are cool! You can make 30hands slides out of these pictures immediately or just take pictures and organize them into slides later. Take plenty of fun pictures, displaying the wildlife of your area! Once you have had your fun outside, and have some cool pictures, head back inside and research the wildlife you found. A lot can be learned about the plants and animals you see nearly everyday. You may be surprised at some of the facts you learn! Now make 30hands slides with your pictures, and narrate over them to report the things you learned. You can also draw your own pictures of the wildlife you caught on camera. Finally, publish it to 30hands to show everyone the wildlife in your area! Here’s a quick nature exploration video I made in my own backyard!

30hands at Home – My Summer Diary

Moia Rowsome Blog

So we’ve come to the last couple of weeks of the summer break. It’s our final chance for fun and frolics in the sun. But just because your kids are out of the classroom and hanging with their friends, it doesn’t mean they have to stop learning! How about having them document their summer fun in 30hands Pro? The summer break is everyone’s favorite time of year. However, it is always a concern that our students and kids will become a bit disengaged and miss out on wonderful learning opportunities. So this is an activity especially for parents who want to keep their kids engaged in learning activities throughout the summer months, and to prepare them mentally for going back to school. And the good news is it’s very simple. Let’s say you’re taking a vacation in Florida and you have various activities planned for your week. Maybe you are spending some time on the beach. There’s a lot of nature on the beach that kids can explore and learn about. So maybe they could take some photos and videos of what they see on the beach using 30hands Pro and then narrate over their slides to tell a story of their experience! Maybe they could even interview their siblings or parents who have spent the day with them about what they learned. Or perhaps you’re not going to the beach? This activity is transferable to any vacation or outing, such as walking in the woods, fishing, or even going out for dinner in a restaurant! Perhaps you …

Edcamp Cape Cod – A True Learning Experience

Moia Rowsome Blog

Have you ever been to an Edcamp? I had my first experience when we attended Edcamp Cape Cod in August of this year. Collaborating, connecting and planning were themes that made up an exciting and motivating day. Everyone’s openness to share their ideas and what they have learned in their classroom truly inspired me. It also reminded me of the amazing work teachers and principals do every day to better their schools, their lessons and their students’ learning. I could sense everyone’s enthusiasm to listen to and learn from others. And as teachers and principals don’t always get the time to communicate sufficiently with each other, this was a great opportunity for them to do so. A bright and fun-filled atmosphere captured us as we began our day. What is an Edcamp? The philosophy behind the Edcamp is that it is an ‘unconference’. In other words, it’s not supposed to be a place where people ‘teach’ the attendees, sell their products, give keynote speeches or any of the common activities that engender the traditional educational conference. Rather, it is a place where teachers come to connect and communicate with each other. Conferences certainly have an important place in the  world of education, however the Edcamp is an opportunity solely for teachers and administrators to share their classroom and school experiences. Anyone can arrive and put up an idea to talk about on the board, which then gets input into the official seminar timetable for the day (see right). You are then set to …

How Digital Storytelling Improves Learning

Eric Braun Blog

There’s been growing talk about Digital Storytelling lately. iPads, Chromebooks and laptops are everywhere, and educators want to take full advantage of their capabilities. With the landscape the way it is, I’m sure many wonder if this trend is more about the technology or the story. Everyone would agree that tech for tech sake is not the way to go. Using computers and the Internet do teach kids how to use devices and infrastructure that have become fixtures in the world around us, but… “Is that all there is?” I hope not, and I think not! Why does a story matter? It’s all about the process. Let’s look at what it takes to create a story. We all know what a story is and that it has a slew of parts (beginning, middle, end, characters, conflict, etc.), but what happens when we create a story? What process do we go through? The truth is that it’s a highly iterative and active process. Here’s an example: Assignment: Tell a story that shows you know about the planets in our solar system. Show you know what order they are in. Show you know at least 2 facts about each planet and about the Sun. Include Pluto if you’d like. Make sure you tell a story rather than just providing the facts and information. Make it fun and memorable. Sample Process for non-digital story could be: Think of a story concept that interests you. Be creative! Think outside the box! Think about how to include the solar system, …