The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Eleanor Kennedy Blog, Special Ed

A student may know her 12 times tables, be perfect at reciting the alphabet of a second language, or have full knowledge of a river’s features, but one of the most important lessons a student can benefit from in the classroom is her social-emotional learning (SEL). Social and emotional learning is the process of developing and using the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that help youth and adults to identify and regulate emotions. In turn, the knowledge gained from SEL could help young people to develop positive relationships and make responsible decisions. This message was presented recently at the annual MassCUE conference at Gillette Stadium. Research clearly shows that integrating SEL into school life is good for both students and teachers. In fact, it is estimated that SEL improves student achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, while also increasing prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improving student attitudes toward school, and reducing depression and stress among students. This is something that is key to many educators’ teaching, including Dr Ruha Benjamin of Princeton University. Dr Benjamin, who is  professor of African American studies and author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier, delivered the key note at the 2017 MassCUE Fall Conference which was attended by the 30hands team. She spoke passionately about the importance of social and emotional awareness among students, in particular with regard to people’s cultural backgrounds. One particular point Dr Benjamin regularly pushes is the idea that race is socially constructed while asking how …

If At First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try Again

Eleanor Kennedy Blog, Iterative Creativity

It’s a proverb made popular in the 1800s, one that can be applied to many of life’s disciplines. But, it has to be noted how fitting it is that the famous saying, which acts as a piece of advice to those facing adversity, was made famous by an educational writer (William Edward Hickson). Iteration is a huge part of a student’s learning experience. It’s foolish to think skills can be perfected and knowledge obtained at first deliverance. Yes, the speed at which knowledge is retained depends on the person. One student might have to recite their multiplication tables twice before they are memorized, while another student recites them five times. But what is important to remember is that each time you make a mistake, you’re a step closer to getting it right. One would suggest this is a startup culture, and perhaps it is. According to Edutopia, many educators that seek to incorporate design thinking and collaborative processes into teaching and learning are looking to the unique culture exemplified by startup companies. They say that by embracing these business models for learning, teachers somewhat become entrepreneurs themselves as they take on a DIY spirit and transform the process of constructing meaning and searching for knowledge. By choosing this startup culture, these educators and their schools are essentially placing a renewed focus on the role of the learner by enabling them to search for solutions to their problems through design activities and iteration. At 30hands, this is preached daily. Failure is a …

Back to School Teacher Tips with 30hands

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but time seems to go so fast these days. The summer has come and gone. Teachers are getting their lesson plans ready, students are getting their supplies, and both are preparing to surpass a number of important milestones over the next academic year. It’s an exciting time, when possibilities seem to be infinite and goals unlimited. Over the next 9 months or so, teachers will bond with their students and create a permanent impression on not only their learning, but their lives. If you’re a teacher preparing to head back into the classroom, or perhaps your district’s school year is already underway, we’ve  decided to give you a few tips to make this year the most rewarding yet. Happy teaching, and learning! Set clear objectives. This will not only be useful for you as a teacher, but your students too. With each grade a student enters, their knowledge and capabilities are expected to grow. Set some objectives on your first day back in the classroom to keep both you and your students motivated.  Learn from your colleagues. Often times, the best way to develop professionally is to talk to your colleagues. Each teacher has his or her own ways of engaging students and delivering content. Whether your colleague has 20+ years experience in the classroom or is just starting out, it can be hugely beneficial to pick their brains for teaching methods, and also share your own ideas! One way …

30hands Team Showcases at New LearnLaunch Workspace

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

The 30hands Learning team recently attended LearnLaunch’s Summer Showcase event at their workspace in Boston, MA. It was a wonderful event which offered some of the most exciting EdTech up-and-comers the opportunity to exhibit their products and ideas, as well as a chance to connect with those of like-minded interests, interests which mainly revolved around a passion to better education and make tech resources available for more learners. As part of the showcase, exhibitors were given the opportunity to pitch their business in 60 seconds or less, a difficult but fun task for all involved. The 30hands pitch focused on our fast and easy video creation tools which put the power of learning back in the hands of students and ensure they better retain knowledge. 30hands Learning CEO and co-founder, Eric Braun, said: “We make it really easy for learners to create videos, whether it’s to tell a story, to train employees or customers, or to flip a classroom. In the fall, millions of students are going to say ‘wow! I can’t believe I passed that test. I didn’t study enough.’ The teachers are going to say, ‘I don’t really know if they understand the material or not.’ If they create a video to explain a concept, they dig deeper and they will be able to prove through the video that they really learned the content. “At the same time if you’re training employees, customers or students, you’re going to get your message across more powerfully through video. We make …

Digital Storytelling and ISTE Standards for Students

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

Last year, we published a blog post which detailed the benefits of digital storytelling in the classroom. Digital storytelling is a fun and creative way for students of all ages to illustrate their knowledge and learn through the process. But digital storytelling also has many real world benefits. In fact, the process of creating a digital story forces learners to think analytically and visually, as well as practice their communication skills. These are traits which are also represented in ISTE’s standards for students and teachers, and with the 2017 conference just days away, we thought we would examine just how digital storytelling fits ISTE’s standards. Keep on reading! NOTE: Only ISTE standards that are representative of digital storytelling are included in this blog post. STUDENTS Standard 1: Empowered Learner Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. Digital storytelling empowers students to show what they know creatively and actively. For instance, if a learner is studying Photosynthesis in Science class, he or she can create a digital story illustrating all the steps involved. Not only does this show their competency, it helps them retain their knowledge and also provides a platform for them to go back and re-watch the lesson that they themselves created. Standard 2: Digital Citizen Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. …

Sharing Your Lesson Plans as Videos, The Newest Trend in Education?

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

Sharing lesson plans as videos with your colleagues can be a great way of both comparing ideas and obtaining new ones. Education is an incredibly time consuming gig and with much of a teacher’s time dedicated to the classroom and grading papers, it’s difficult to find the time to create new teaching materials. That’s why sharing materials is not only convenient, but educational. How do teachers benefit from this? Sharing your lessons online is a great way of expanding your knowledge and there are multiple websites which provide platforms for teachers to do so. Some of these (see Teachers Pay Teachers) have recently introduced the ability to do this through video. This is where 30hands shines in its ability to simplify, personalize and speed up the video creation process for teachers. Creating video can be a daunting task if one lacks experience in doing so, but with 30hands Storyteller, this fear quickly disappears as the app uses easy techniques which bring unique results. Unlike a lot of similar apps out there, 30hands Storyteller also makes it incredibly easy to edit your video, whether it’s to personalize it further or just to correct mistakes. There’s absolutely no need to alter your entire video just to fix one mistake! Creating 30hands videos from PowerPoints and Google Slides One of the best features of 30hands Storyteller is the ability to import your Google Slides or PowerPoint presentations and publish them as videos. This is done within a matter of seconds. If you have …

Turning students into journalists with 30hands

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

Gone are the days of newspapers being the primary source of current affairs, or families gathered around a lone neighborhood radio to receive war updates. The past two decades have seen the ways in which we receive our news change drastically. But the importance of journalists in society? Perhaps even greater than ever. This is because in today’s digital world, everybody is a journalist. You’re on a school trip to Washington DC and notice a mass protest taking place outside the White House? Tweet it. On summer vacation in Greece and notice a rubber dinghy with refugees landing ashore? Get closer to the action and live stream the action. 30hands Storyteller is a simple tool for aspiring classroom journalists. It allows students to practice their reporting skills and even boosts their confidence when it comes to presenting to camera and recording voiceovers. It also allows them to practice gathering sources, interviewing techniques, and deciding which information is important enough for inclusion. Journalists are constantly under the pressure of time or restricted word counts, so sometimes it is impossible to report every piece of information.  Creating packages with 30hands Storyteller helps students prioritize information. A first-person narrative is often better than a newsroom journalist’s explanation miles away from the scene. 30hands Storyteller is just another tool you can use to report your information, and one’s capacity to do so as a journalist has increased wonderfully thanks to our newest feature – video slides. But before we talk about 30hands capabilities for …

Script Writing in 30hands

Moia Rowsome Blog

What’s your first step in the process of creating a video presentation? At 30hands Learning, we recommend writing a script to get things going. This allows you to plan out what you are going to say in advance and it provides a structure for your content. Starting with a basic idea of what you are going to say and laying it out in this way can be really effective. And what about the time it takes? Investing a few extra minutes at the beginning of the process makes things much quicker once you go to add images and then narrate over your content. Writing the Script We recommend using Google Docs to write your script. Once you have written out your narration, divide your script up into lines. Each line should represent what you would say on one slide.  Like this: What is a Civilization? A Civilization is a complex society that is defined by many characteristics. First, you need people to live there – that’s important. There must be a concentration of population in distinct areas or cities… And so on! Make sure to press the enter key after each line. Numbering is optional but can help you organize the flow of your story. Starting with a script generally results in a better story. In addition, if you create a script like this in Google Docs,  you can import it directly into 30hands Web. Each line will come out as a slide automatically with the text on the drawing …

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 …