30hands team connects at #LearnLaunch17

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

50 seminars, 160 speakers, 1,200 attendees. The 30hands Learning team recently attended LearnLaunch’s fifth annual Across Boundaries conference at the Hynes Convention Center. Run over two days, the conference is a meeting point for EdTech startups, global companies, educators, students, and lovers of innovative learning. Our team was proud to be one of about 30 exciting pioneers exhibiting a product, with our 30hands Storyteller web app and app for iOS proving big hits across the spectrum. The conference allowed us to demonstrate our product and share the benefits of digital storytelling obtained from user feedback and from our own experience as educators. But in addition to networking, promoting our product and meeting like-minded people in general, LearnLaunch provided a magnificent opportunity to sit and listen to some fascinating lectures and partake in thought-provoking discussions. On day one, our CEO Eric Braun listened to Tom Vander Ark deliver his opening keynote speech called ‘State of the EdTech Marketplace’. In it, Tom explored changes in education that could come in the next decade.  He asked what needs to happen in the next two years for these predictions to come true, and what edtech investors can do to support the marketplace in the coming years. Eric expressed his thoughts after the keynote, saying: “One of the major takeaways from Tom’s keynote and the overall conference is that this is the year where personalized learning may take off. “30hands Storyteller is nicely positioned as an effective tool for students to easily create videos as …

Inviting Stories into the Classroom

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

What happens when we invite students to share stories inside the classroom? It can be a nerve-wracking task and understandably so – the idea of sharing personal (or non-personal) experiences with teachers and friends. It can be a challenge as for some it opens up a form of communication that is entirely new. But it can also challenge – and by that I mean challenge the dimensions of traditional student/teacher relationships. In her 2014 TEDTalk, educator and after-school media arts teacher, Emily Bailin, talks about the power of digital storytelling. In it she says that inviting teachers and pupils to share stories challenges the notion that it is the adults who are the only people with knowledge outside the classroom. She said bringing stories into the classroom bridges stronger connections from lived experiences outside schools with the content being delivered in school. This type of exchange of information is just as important as learning from a textbook, and it creates a sense of empathy between the teachers and students. Research, both old and more recent, seems to suggest this is true for learners of all ages. Anne Dyson (1987) found in her study of children’s collaborative storytelling that the most elaborate stories were told through talk and not through text. She also found that this form of verbal learning took considerable time off the task, meaning children completed their tasks quicker. In a similar study of first-graders,it was discovered that stories told during storytelling time were often the same as what they wrote about …

Learning to Learn – A Metacognitive Attitude

Moia Rowsome Blog

Fostering independence and autonomy in our learners can be a difficult task to master. How do we get them to learn effectively on their own? How do they become self-sufficient and motivated enough to do work without someone else holding their hand? And to know what measures to take if they don’t understand something? Well, it ultimately comes down to the student themselves and their approach to developing skills for independent learning. However, first the teacher must cultivate some learning strategies over time which will lead to the student being able to learn more effectively on their own. A Metacognitive Attitude An effective way to develop this sense of  learner autonomy in others is to encourage them to be observers of their own learning process. This sense of self-awareness is what is known as a metacognitive attitude. Metacognition means being aware of our own thought process as we carry out a task. A metacognitive attitude is one whereby the learner purposely thinks about and reflects on what they are learning. It also develops learner autonomy by enabling the student to gain more control over what they are doing. If a learner can develop this attitude over time, they will know how to approach future learning tasks and thus become more successful in these endeavors. How do we do this? – A Plan of Action According to Dylan Wiliam of the University of London, it has always been clear that the best students act metacognitively. It involves planning, thinking about their learning process, …

Olive’s Cat Tip – Moving, Resizing and Deleting Multiple Objects

Moia Rowsome Blog

This week, Olive tells us about how you can move, resize and delete multiple objects using the drawing tool in 30hands Web and 30hands Pro. Using our the improvements to our ‘hand tool’ feature within the drawing tool, you can box select multiple or all items on your slide for resizing them, moving them around and deleting them. A nice functionality to create more sophisticated slides in 30hands. Click HERE to watch the short 3 minute video!    

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 …