September 14, 2015
Nowadays students have a variety of ways to show what they know and to express themselves. Let’s take a look at sample projects and some of fantastic apps for showing, explaining, and retelling. These tools can turn students into teachers and are great for sharing their answers to a project’s driving question. Read more about project-based learning.
Audience is Key
Having a genuine audience is a key component in project based learning. A project’s driving question is its mission statement. That statement or question may already have a built-in audience. For example, “Convince the principal we should have a party in December,” clearly states who the audience is. So does “How can we teach second graders about helpful insects?” Other driving questions may require students to choose an audience. Knowing who a project’s spectators are helps students make key decisions about their end products.
Rushton Hurley makes the observation, “If students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. It you’re just sharing it with you, they just want it to be good enough.” With websites and social media, students certainly have the ability to reach a potentially global audience. Knowing they can reach people worldwide with their projects, learners will want to make those productions W.O.W. (Worthy of the World).
Publish for an Audience as a QR Code
QR codes are great for providing explanations (among many other things). Use the i-nigma app (iOS, Android, Fire) or webqr.com (Mac, Windows) or ScanQR (Chromebooks & Chrome Web Browser on Mac and Windows) to scan codes and goqr.me to create them. Read lots more about QR codes and watch Tony's video. The printer he uses to make stickers with QR codes is available on Amazon.
Publish for an Audience as a Bitlink
Bitlinks are shortened URLs. Paste a long web address into Bitly.com. Click customize to make the bitlink easier to say aloud and type.
Publish Anything in Your Google Drive as a QR Code or Bitlink
On an iPad you can record audio on an iPad using an app like Recorder HQ that can save audio to your Google Drive. Or, use the Camera app to record video that you can save to Google Drive.
You can record audio online at online-voice-recorder.com (this is also available as a Chrome app). It uses Flash, so it only works on Mac, Windows, and Chrome. Online-voice-recorder.com saves the audio as an MP3 file. You can add this MP3 file to your Google Drive and share it (beginning with Step 7 below).
Record video on Chrome, Mac, or Windows using Webcamera.io. It uses Flash, so it only works on Mac, Windows, and Chrome. Webcamera.io saves the video as an MP4 file. You can add this MP4 file to your Google Drive and share it (beginning with Step 7 below).
Steps for Making Anything Your Google Drive a QR Code:
- Go to drive.google.com on your laptop or open the Google Drive app on your iPad.
- Upload your audio or video. (You can upload other kinds of files from a laptop.)
- Find your uploaded file in the list and click to select it.
- Click the Get Link icon in the toolbar near the top left of the page.
- Click Sharing Settings.
- Click Advanced.
- Click Change next to "Anyone at [School] who has the link can view."
- Change to "Anyone with the link."
- Click Save.
- Copy the link that is displayed in the Sharing settings.
To Make a QR Code with the Copied Link:
- Open your web browser and go to goqr.me.
- Click the URL tab and paste into the box.
- Now you have a QR code you can display or download and save!
To Make a Bitlink with the Copied Link:
- Open your web browser and go to bitly.com.
- Login or create an account.
- Paste into the box.
- Choose Customize and enter a URL slug that is easy to say and type.
Samples Really Help
My students produced a lot of media, including podcasts. Before my students scripted and recorded a podcast, they would listen to several sample episodes and critique them. We would make a list of what was really good about the episode and what could be improved. I reminded students of the items on these lists periodically as they worked on their own episodes. Yes, you can tell students what makes a great production. However, having them be the ones to delineate the qualities of a great production is much better. My students really wanted to create something that was better than any of the samples they listened to. They really wanted to avoid the mistakes they heard others make.
Because students might have some harsh criticism of sample projects, I made sure those samples were not by students at our school. I didn’t want negative feedback to get back to the samples’ authors. Luckily, we can find student-created media online. I like to pick some really good ones and some not-so-good ones, so students can describe what they should and should not do/include/say in their own productions.
Some questions that help guide a discussion about sample productions:
- What did you notice?
- What did you really like?
- What could have been better?
- What is missing?
- What could have been left out?
See some sample projects at tonyv.me/samples.
“Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.” Dr. Richard Paul
View some infographics about critical thinking in this gallery.
Collaboration is working together for a common goal. The partnership for 21st Century Skills lists these specific skills:
- Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
- Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal
- Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member
"The process of having original ideas that have value." Sir Ken Robinson
- Pic Collage for Kids - Combine images and text to make a poster. Save the poster to your Camera Roll.
- Shadow Puppet Edu - Import a series of images and record a narration. Save as a video to your Camera Roll.
- Seesaw - Teachers set up a class and students can add their projects for collection, grading, and sharing. Seesaw works online and as an iPad app.
- Chatterpix Kids - Import an image, add a mouth, and make it talk for up to 30 seconds. Saves as a video to your Camera Roll.
Web Apps for Chrome
- Google Slides - Create online and collaborative slideshows that can be shared publicly.
- MoveNote - Import a Google Slideshow or series of images and record a narration. Saves as a URL on MoveNote.com.
- Pixiclip - Make a screencast by drawing on a whiteboard and recording a narration.
- Show What You Know Infographic - A graphic with many more web apps.
- EdTechTeacher App Recommendations - Apps listed by device or by learning activity.
Padlet is a free website where you can create a wall. You can open the wall up for others to post. Posts can have text and allow for uploads and links. On an iPad you can only upload photos and videos. Watch Tony's video for lots more about Padlet.
Suggested Padlet Wall Settings:
- Log into Padlet.com.
- Click the Modify Wall button.
- Under profile, give your wall a title and description.
- Under Layout, change from Freeform to Stream or Grid.
- Under Privacy, checkmark Moderate posts.
- Under Address, give your wall an easy to type web address.
- See the QR code under the Share menu.