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 …

Molding a Musician: 30hands Tips from a Music Teacher

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

“Lots of my shy students have started to become emboldened to sing louder and with more confidence as they’ve had chances to hear what they sound like.” These are the words of Kerrie French, a music teacher at Conant School in Acton, MA. Kerrie has credited technology and 30hands with bringing out the best in her students and strengthening their confidence, be it in performance or academically. She said: “With the older students, the more academic-oriented projects have allowed those who struggle with singing or other musical skills to find other ways to contribute and shine in my classroom. It has also motivated some of the older students to be more active participants in group-work because they all want to use the iPads to create the slides. “It can sometimes leads to arguments,” she chuckled, “but learning how to work well in a group is a very important and life-long skill.” Project-based learning is something the 30hands team encourages and sees great benefit in. Kerrie first heard about 30hands from her district’s educational technology specialist, Peggy Harvey, who taught a professional development class on digital storytelling. She played around with it and noted it was a quick and easy way for her students to record themselves singing. As a music teacher, she says, it can be hard to share what goes on in her classroom with families outside of performances. Kerrie saw 30hands as a great opportunity to share her students’ voices with their families and the school community. “I teach approximately 450 students each …

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 …

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 …

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, …

Class Activity: English or Drama

Gaby Charmont Blog

Have your students practice scriptwriting and storyboarding while creating their very own scene to a play. Through acting out their lines and recording the scene, they will be able to perfect their drama skills while learning intonation styles and proper word pronunciations. The Activity: Aimed at English or Drama classes, this activity will pair seamlessly with reading and learning Shakespeare or while working on other plays and learning drama skills. The activity is for students to work together in small groups to write their own scene to a play. This could be reworking an existing segment, for instance changing the ending scene of a play, or even imagining an entirely new story and creating the play and scenes themselves. The Level: This activity can be modified to be geared towards younger learners but is aimed at students who are learning more complicated plays, such as the works of Shakespeare. This will get students to understand the way plays are written and have them be able to create their own scenes and play through scriptwriting and storyboarding, while expanding their skills in acting and drama while performing and recording the scene on video. For younger learners, this activity can center around fables or simpler plays that the students could imagine alternate scenes to and be able to write and act it out. The Procedure: Students will begin by writing a script to a scene which they have imagined or are taking some inspiration from. Try to divide the class into smaller groups where …

From Failure to Fantastic

Gaby Charmont Blog

Have you ever gotten a poor grade on an assignment when you think it truly deserved better? Did you take an honest look and were able to admit you did everything you could to make it great? I bet there is reasoning behind those grades received, and often a quick read through of a student’s work can confirm the amount of revisions that were done before submitting, that number usually being none. Here’s the thing, we’re not perfect and neither is anything we do on the first try. This is why iterative creativity is so important, especially in the classroom, and far beyond. This iterative process works as a cycle where you design your project, build it, test it, and then repeat. You can get an idea for a project, build the presentation, have your peers make edits and suggestions on your work, and then repeat with consideration given to creatively improving the parts others pointed out. While this cycle might need to be repeated a few times, I promise your project will be much closer to perfect than it was on your first attempt. Although it was a hard lesson to learn, I eventually discovered the power a do-over has to add value to a project. I was discouraged throughout grade school when I would turn in my work, thinking it was comparable to that of a creative genius, and would receive suggestions for improvement. This made me feel like I would never be as creative as my peers. In reality though, …