Help Students Find a Voice Using Just One Platform
Giving students a voice is an important part of the learning process. According to Wikipedia, “Student voice is the individual and collective perspective and actions of students within the context of learning and education.” A voice allows students to express their understanding of their learning, become self confident, and feel part of a community. They become active participants in the learning process instead of passive individuals. Students are also more likely to perform better when they share their work for others to see. It becomes meaningful and they feel a purpose for an assignment.
So how can we give students a voice?
Technology is a great way to help students find a voice. An article from edutopia titled, 4 Technologies to Help Students Find Their Voice In Your Classroom talks about using blogging, media collection, podcasting, VoiceThread, and YouTube Channels. These are all great platforms to use but this seems overwhelming to me. Teachers need simplicity and to know that students are safe. Managing multiple platforms to give my students a voice means multiple user names and passwords that my students will probably forget. It also means a lot of time learning each of these platforms and looking into the security settings. YouTube is great, don’t get me wrong, but as a teacher I do not feel comfortable having my students post their videos for the world to see.
What I do look for is something that will do all of these things. MashPlant.com is a perfect solution. The most important part is that students are safe and secure. MashPlant is TRUSTe certified. Within the platform, students are encouraged to have a voice. They blog, post articles and videos, create their own videos, comment on posts, collaborate with each other, and ultimately form a community!
So get started and give your students a VOICE!
Is Online Student Data Really Private?
We always wonder if new apps and platforms for education are safe and private, but how do you really know if a website protects your online data? It can take a long time to research these apps before using them with your students. And lets face it, this can be overwhelming.
I am concerned about internet privacy because of the recent news about Google, who is accused in class action lawsuits about privacy and providing consumer data to advertisers.
What exactly is internet privacy? Internet privacy is the privacy and security level of personal data. It involves who has access to the data and how they use it.
One tip you can do is to look out for the TRUSTe Privacy Seal on a website, app, or platform. TRUSTe is recognized globally as a high standard for privacy management. To become TRUSTe certified, a company must follow a comprehensive and proven in depth process to ensure privacy practices meet the standards.
Below are TRUSTe Seals on Mashplantstudio.com
My advice is to do your research, look for the TRUSTe seal, and don’t just accept a company saying that student data and information is private.
How to Use MashPlant for Flipped Learning
We have all heard the research behind the flipped learning experience and the benefits to students learning, but many of us think, where do I begin?
The first step is to start and the rest will follow! Using MashPlant makes it easy to upload your video lessons in a safe and secure environment. The environment we speak of is your virtual community. It is a space where your students not only watch the videos, but they can comment, post their own videos, and interact with their classmates. It is a great way to turn your students into a community of engaged learners.
To get started, you need to sign up for an account. When you fill out the required information, you will be sent an email confirmation.
When you login, you will be in the studio homepage (corkboard). This is where you can create your first studio by clicking “create a studio” I prefer to create a new studio for each unit, but you can do it however you like. I have several studios on my homepage from various projects I have done. I love it because they are very easy to find.
Once your studio is created, you can click on it and hit “upload stuff” to upload your videos. When you upload your videos, they will appear in chronological order!
Now that the studio is created, you simply click “my students” to invite them to join the studio. They will instantly get an email and can join to see all of the videos and become a part of the virtual community!
Create Customized Projects with Powtoon and MashPlant
Powtoon.com is an awesome website where you can create animated videos and presentations for free. These projects can be used by anyone. When you get to the main site, you can sign in as a student, teacher, video artist/animator, entrepreneur, start-up, marketing pro, or other.
After creating an account, you can start from scratch or pick from tons of styles in the gallery. I used Powtoon with my students after a unit on two variable relationships in math. Their task was to create an example problem, write the equation, create a table, create a graph, and explain what the relationship between the two variables. They were able to to this by inserting their own images along with the ones provides within Powtoon. My students love to show what they know! They really enjoyed being able to create a presentation that was animated and I Ioved that they could add voice and explain their thinking process.
My students worked on these in groups of two and it was so easy to use MashPlant as a way for them to collaborate. They posted the link into MashPlant and were able to work on it as a draft until they were ready to submit. My favorite part of using MashPlant for student projects is its security and ability to keep everything in one place. My kids loved being able to watch each others videos, rate them, and provide feedback to each other.
Check out a sample video here.
7 Tips for Managing Technology Use in the Classroom
How do we keep kids on task when using electronic devices in class? With the internet, kids have the world at their fingertips and we should take advantage of that. Use these quick tips to manage students while using technology in your classroom.
- Always have a back-up lesson prepared in case the technology fails.
- Post directions for frequently used computer operations near the tech center for kids to refer to.
- Make sure laptops, monitors, and iPad screens are turned off when giving directions.
- Assign a few students to be the classroom technology managers. You can also assign students to be technology specialists. Specialists can help others on a particular task such as animation, text, audio, powerpoint, uploading videos, etc.
- Plan a class meeting to talk about acceptable uses. In the meeting, students can create a list of expectations when using technology. Kids love taking ownership and might think of ideas that you did not think of.
- Help students recognize that technology in the classroom is for learning.
- Arrange classroom seating so that it is easy for you to move around the room, see students screens, and get to them quickly.
There are numerous management strategies to add to this list, but here is a start. This is your opportunity to teach students to become independent and trustworthy. They need guidance in the beginning, but soon your students will take action and become engaged, self-motivated learners.
Global Collaboration in the Classroom
Online learning is powerful. Students in traditional classrooms have been limited by the four walls of their classroom and a textbook, however, classrooms today have far more opportunities to connect outside of the classroom.
Students are able to communicate, collaborate, and share with students their own age from any classroom across the globe using MashPlant. They are able to gain real world experiences that are new and exciting to them in a safe and secure environment. Students are motivated to learn through experience and teachers can add a global project to any subject that they teach.
A high school teacher in Colorado Springs used MashPlant to connect her students globally. She said, “I use MathPlant as a platform for my students to upload their videos securely. In this way, they were able to connect with a French speaking school in Belgium and use this as a virtual pen pal experience. MashPlant became a central place for my students to upload and download their videos as well as for the Belgium students to be able to share their videos. This way we didn’t have to wait weeks to receive pen pal letters and communication with each other became almost instant. My students love being able to comment on them, to rate them and it felt like using the French language for a real goal in their life rather than just as a class subject.”
So…how can YOU get started collaborating with international classrooms?
To start, find a partner school to connect with. If you wish to work with multiple schools, go ahead and dive in. There are tons of international schools all over the world where English is the primary language spoken in the school. In other schools, the primary language is the country’s native language.
The link below will take you to a network of international schools.
After you have a school to connect with, collaborate together on project ideas.
Some project ideas to collaborate on
- Action projects - Collaborating with your partner school to make a difference in the world
- Learning a language - Learning through a real experience using the target language
- Cultural Awareness - Exchanging different areas of culture with you partner school. Student debates.
- Social Awareness - Being aware of problems that the community of your partner school faces
The great thing about using MashPlant as a place to share and collaborate is that teachers can create a studio that students in both classes can access. This allows kids to create videos that teach others a new language, post blogs about their culture, etc. Introducing kids to the world will get them excited and inspired to learn with peers far beyond the four walls of the classroom!
Building Classroom Community Through Technology
Building Classroom Community is Essential
A strong community is an essential part of the classroom. There are many things teachers do from day one of the school year to build classroom community. Teachers go out of their way to get to know their students and think of community building activities. Students and their teacher work together to set expectations and goals for the year. The students need to feel that they all part of the community and have a voice in the events that occur in the classroom. How can we go beyond what has already been done?
How Can We Build Classroom Community Through Technology?
The use and availability of technology makes it easy for teachers to use technology as an avenue to build classroom community.
MashPlant Studio can improve overall classroom community which in turn will increase student motivation. How can MashPlant do this?
1) Students feel connected to their classmates and the teacher in each studio
2) Students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas in the virtual space
3) It increases student confidence when posting work they are proud of
4) Student work can be collaborative (collaborative learning encourages positive and fulfilling relationships with others)
5) Comments can be controlled by the teacher to prevent bullying online
6) Students receive immediate feedback on their work
7) The use of posting work, sharing, and commenting increases student motivation
The Importance of Digital Portfolios in the Classroom
What are digital portfolios?
Digital portfolios are collections of student work that focus on a student’s efforts, progress, and performance over time. Students show pieces of work and reflect on them. The reflection part allows students to think about their learning and self assess. The reflections also help the teacher understand each student’s learning process.
Why are they important?
Education is ever evolving because of advances in technology. The power of digital portfolios can change the way students learn and teach them to be reflective of their own learning. They can encourage independence and responsibility. Students love to look back on work they have done and be proud of it.
How can I use MashPlant Studio to create student portfolios?
MashPlant has a built in portfolio for students. As a teacher, every studio you post in MashPlant that students turn in becomes a digital potfolio for students. When a student logs in, they see all of the work they have submitted and can look back and reflect on their learning over time.
5 Reasons To Use Digital Portfolios In Your Classroom
1) Digital portfolios allow students to use technology available to them. They can use pictures, videos, and audio recordings along with typical writing pieces in paper portfolios
2) Struggling students are given alternative ways to express themselves and show their understanding.
3) Parents can see student portfolios anywhere and anytime. They are able to learn what is going on in class in real time.
4) Students develop strong oral and written communication skills.
5) Digital portfolios stay with the student over time which allows them to look back at their growth.
5 Great Websites for Student Learning
Kids go home after school and want to be on the computer. Take the opportunity to assign homework that can be done online. MashPlant Studio allows you to post an assignment and ask for feedback. The websites below are great for kids to practice concepts as homework. Ask students to answer a specific question, write down something they learned, or ask a question that they had in the comments section of your posted assignment.
- Sumdog.com for Math and ELA Practice (K-6) aligned to Common Core State Standards. These fun games are linked to the CCSS. Teachers can create an account and assign certain standards for individual students to practice..… Perfect for differentiation.
- Quizlet.com (Perfect for any subject) Create your own vocabulary games in a fun and interactive way. Kids love to manipulate the words and practice them with games on Quizlet.
- Learnzillion.com This site provides excellent videos created by the “Dream Team“ teachers covering each of the ELA and Math standards for K-12.
- Starfall.com This is a great site for little ones learning how to read. There are four categories to choose from: let´s get ready to read, learn to read, its fun to read, and I´m reading. The best part is that the directions and new words are read aloud for students!
- Sheppardsoftware.com (Perfect for any subject) This site offers fun games for elementary and middle school students. Games range from learning about the life cycle….to nouns….to integers. What is not to love about ONE website that has tons of great resources?
Check it Out!
How to Increase Student Engagement with Glogster and Mashplant
Teachers know that organization it KEY. MashPlant is the perfect place to create assignments and manage all of your student projects. As an added bonus, the collaboration and social sharing aspect keep my kids engaged.
My students used Glogster EDU to create their last project. Glogster EDU is the tech way of creating a poster. The website is edu.glogster.com. I recently used Glogster for a Systems of Equations project. My goal was for students to be able to share their projects with each other and comment on them. I decided to have my students take a screen shot of their Glog and upload it to our MashPlant studio called Systems Glog. I use MashPlant so my students so they can see each others Glogs and interact with them! Using MashPlant allows me to keep everything organized and interactive.
This objective of this project was for the students to understand the connection between the real world and the math they were learning in class. Each student had the opportunity create their own problem and solve it three different ways. Each project I received was very different and I got to see the creative side of my students. Glogster is fun and it inspired curiosity in my students. They were very excited to be working on this project. An outline and example of the project are below.
Systems of Equations Project Outline and Student Example:
Identify the variables you use to solve your problem.
Clearly set up the two equations to solve your problem.
Solve your system of equations using either the substitution method or elimination method.
Clearly label your answers.