Yesterday afternoon, I had a great conversation with Kory Graham, tech-savvy and student-engaging Kindergarten teacher from Triton Elementary School in Dodge Center, Minnesota. Kory represents so much of what is great in teaching today. First of all, you are struck by her infectious smile and upbeat attitude. Even through Google Hangouts, I could see wheels of creativity spinning in her head.
Kory has only 1 iPad in her classroom and does not make that an obstacle. She uses it collaboratively with her students and with the 30hands Storyteller app for class projects and trips. During a project, she takes pictures of the students and their work, then has them narrate over the pictures to explain what’s going on, what they have created and what they have learned. Sometimes, she includes digital drawings and short video clips within the multimedia story. The final video that 30hands creates is then shared with parents to show them what is happening in the classroom.
Kory notes that the students love to see the stories and hear themselves talk. Since the app is so easy to use, the students can even use it without her and learn to work independently on a project. Kory said, “Students who are a little too shy to stand up and speak in front of the class are often very comfortable explaining what they know when narrating on the iPad.” This is where technology can help differentiate learning.
Some of the projects Kory has worked on include:
- An end-of-year video where Kory talks about each child as a celebration of the school year. Last year, the incoming Kindergartners watched the video in August to prepare them for the upcoming year.
- Gingerbread. Around Christmas, they did a gingerbread project and created a 30hands video to explain it. A link to the final video was emailed to schools across the country to share what the students were doing in Minnesota.
- Egg-Drop Project. This video is hot off the production line! The students learned through experimentation and discovery how to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from the roof of the school. All is documented in their 30hands video.
- Flat Stanley. Someone sent in a Flat Stanley. The class took pictures of him around the school, narrated a story and then sent it back to the person who sent it. This was lots of fun!
Not one to sit still, Kory is thinking about some more interactive projects to do with her students for the next school year. Remember, these are Kindergarten students, and they are already being exposed to learning projects that use technology, nature, science, reading, public speaking and so many other important skills.
This is just one story of some of the great teaching going on throughout the United States in this global society.
Share this Post