We have some new students joining us in the Elementary School, along with some students finishing up at ISB, so now is the time when teachers will need to update their Reading A-Z (RAZ) class rosters. It is quite simple to do, here is a brief run through in case you’re unsure:
“The immersive nature of virtual reality brings depth to educational content by engaging the senses and allowing exploration to a degree that would be difficult to duplicate within the confines of a classroom, making it an ideal catalyst for curiosity and true learning.” (Ashley McCann, TeachThought) So what is VR and how does it work?
On Thursday 16th of November, I ran a TTT on virtual and augmented reality. We started by engaging teachers in a Google Expedition of the Great Barrier Reef. Google Expeditions is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space! There are currently over 700 expeditions available free for use. I have since found this incredible resource which documents details of all currently available expeditions. It is updated regularly and includes links to lesson plans created by teachers around the world. For those of you interested in running an Expedition in your class, browse this resource and then touch base with me about the expedition you are looking to run. Alternatively, provide me with a brief outline of your unit and I’ll do the research for you. We have 20 VR headsets for use – students will need to use their own phone with Google Expeditions app installed.
Last week I assisted Brian Germain in running two expeditions in his High School Psychology class. The theme was the nervous system so we began with a VR tour of the brain stem, limbic system, cerebrum and cerebellum, a neutron and synaptic transmission. What I enjoyed most, was the second expedition, to Everest, where Brian asked students a series of thought provoking questions, which has them thinking about the science they’d just explored. e.g. standing in the cold at base camp, what part of the brain is responsible for…? What a great way to make content meaningful.
During the TTT we also spent some time looking at augmented reality (AR). AR is the layering of virtual information over the physical world, or reality, using software and devices. Take a look at this Ikea Concept Kitchen to see AR in action!
One of the most impressive educational apps I came across when looking for AR content was Quiver Education. Essentially, students are provided with one of the colouring in sheets and then, using the app, bring their work to life. The Quiver app is free, however, the Quiver Education app (which is now available on the MS/HS Library iPads) does cost. Quiver Education provides the same magical augmented reality coloring experience, but with a greater focus on educational content than the awesome Quiver App. During the TTT, teachers attempted an AR quiz using a plant cell, explored the habitat of the Kiwi bird though sound and watched as a volcano erupted in front of their eyes!
If you are interested in introducing some AR or VR material into your classroom, don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the Ed Tech team!
Today, Bec and Sam hosted a workshop for parents to experience the features of Seesaw and practise effective feedback on their child’s posts. Included in this post are the slides and resources from the workshop, as well as some additional information about how Seesaw works, feedback guidelines and the importance of family engagement in education.
What is Seesaw?
This video offers an overview of how Seesaw works. The first few slides in our presentation below run offer some examples of what this currently looks like at ISB.
We know ISB families value engagement in their children’s education and thanks to Seesaw, we can now see what some of this engagement can look like. By regularly checking, commenting and discussing your child’s learning activities through seesaw and fact to face, you are:
Showing your child you value the process of learning as well as their effort and achievement
Enhancing your child’s accountability for their learning
Providing opportunities for feedback that moves learning forward
Seesaw has the ability to translate content for our EAL students and international families. Watch the video below for a full demonstration.
Seesaw Feedback Guidelines
For a long time we have understood the importance of feedback in education and thanks to the work of John Hattie and Dylan Wiliam there is a lot of supporting data about the efficacy of effective feedback in learning. Effective feedback, however, takes practice, and for this reason we encourage you to observe the following guidelines in order to ensure that we always provide feedback thatmoves learning forward.
If this is the first time you are logging in to Seesaw, you will need to select “I am a teacher” and log in with your ISB email address and password
Click on the large green “+” symbol
Select “Send Announcement” > Send To: All Students and Families (if some parents aren’t connected yet they will receive instructions on Monday afternoon)
Type your welcome message to your students and families
Upload your class photo(s) from your camera roll
When you have completed your message, click the large green tick button and it will appear in student & parent feeds.
Please note, as new parents will not yet be connected, this welcome post will be made in the student announcements for all users to see. In the future (when all parents are connected) teachers will be asked to use “Family Announcements” to ensure student journals don’t contain parent communications.
On Monday, Tina, Angela and I will distribute printed QR codes and instructions to all homeroom teachers, for families to connect to their child’s Seesaw journal. Families will need to follow the instructions to download the Seesaw Family app and scan the code in order to see any Family Announcements or student posts.
Throughout Monday, we will prioritize our time to support any teachers who require help with Seesaw. We’ll be available for 1:1 help all day including after school. Please be in touch or stop by the ES Library office if you need any help.
What is Seesaw?
Seesaw is a student-driven portfolio platform that is used across the ES to empower students to document, share and reflect upon their learning journey throughout the academic year and across their years in the elementary school.
As part of our Seesaw Common Agreements, there are certain tasks and setup procedures that each teacher should do once their class has been created. There are also some introductory lessons/ideas that can help you get started using Seesaw in your class.
You can use this checklist to guide you.
Setting Up Seesaw
Ensure preferred names are correct in your class list
Invite all specialist teachers as “co-teachers” to your class (except Chinese as they have their own Seesaw classes)
Manage settings: student likes & comments, post moderation, parent comments (as appropriate to your age and class group)
Create color-coded folders for portfolios (L21) and content areas:
Innovation & Creativity (Purple)
Communication & Collaboration (Yellow)
Inquiry, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (Blue)
Leadership & Responsibility (Green)
Global Thinking (Red)
As well as folders for Math, ELA, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, PE, Science, Social Studies
Create any additional folders as required
Print out your class account QR code so students can join your class
Seesaw is like many applications in that it uses icons to create a visual fluency to help learners navigate the different features and tools available to its users. Many of these icons are consistent with so many other iOS apps and it makes sense for us to scaffold our learners in how these tools can be explicitly applied in the process of learning.
Recently, Pana Asavavatana shared a series of useful posters designed to assist Pre K – 3 students in their deliberate use of processes and features in Seesaw. She wanted her students to move beyond simply checking off everything they post and think more deeply about what they were doing in Seesaw and why. Each poster links one of the Seesaw tool icons with a student statement that encourages students to make a conscious decision about what they are doing and why.
The posters are available in English and Mandarin and are free for you to download and use (thanks to @PanaAsavavatana). As always, let myself or Bec know anytime you would like any Seesaw resources or support for you and your students.
The ES are doing great things in Seesaw, including lots of student, teacher and parent activity. There are a range of different settings you can explore to find ways to customise the Seesaw experience to your class or grade level. In the following video, I’ll show you how to:
Add specialist and co-teachers to class journals
Edit students’ preferred names & icons
Add parents & allow parent access
Add/edit folders & skills
Allow student comments & “likes”
We will continue to add Seesaw resources to the Ed Tech blog. In the meantime, please let Bec and myself know anytime you have a question or celebration around Seesaw or if there is another resource you think would benefit the school.
At ISB we are lucky to have access to a wealth of tools and systems facilitate teaching, learning, and collaboration in our classroom and in our school. Unfortunately, all of these systems can sometimes get confusing: which one is best at which time?
To help our new (and returning!) teachers in the Elementary School, Sam, Bec and I shared a quick 45 minute presentation that helps to clarify three of our main tools for collaboration: Outlook (specifically accessing Groups and making calendar bookings), Office 365 (Groups v. OneDrive, sharing and collaborating on documents), and OneNote.
As you know, the EdTech Facilitators have moved into the libraries to work more closely with the librarians and to make way for the beautiful new ES Design Lab. So, all the equipment has also moved as well and is ready for check out!
We are now using Destiny Quest to check out tech equipment, just like library books, so come on down to the MS/HS EdTech HUB in the library to(short-term) checkout a great device to help you with your next project.
You will see a variety of items below. We also have two green screens, and one frame. The 3D printer is not to borrow, but we have three in the library. They are for use by teachers and students with permission from teachers (for school work). We also have a plethora of iPads for short term use.
If you want to check something out, come on by or contact Jonathan Song: email@example.com
Small Gorilla Pod
Desktop iPad/iPhone Holder (Great for birds-eye view stop motion)