Monday, March 6, 2017

Engaging Students in Digital Learning-TeacherCast

When you get the call to chat with Jeff Bradbury, you take the call. 

I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Sarah Richards of SMART Technologies, Shane Jordan from Spark, and Jeff Bradbury of TeacherCast to talk about the digital learning my students are doing in the Duckpond. 

Needless to say, I was honored. Like many educators, I am a subscriber and listen faithfully to TeacherCast. This was going to be...

As a SMART Exemplary Educator, I had the opportunity to see and use SMART amp before the masses. To tell you the truth, I didn't get it. I DIDN'T GET IT! I saw SMARTamp for the math classroom, the science classroom as they are more "hands-on" with problems, experiments, and solutions; these subjects simply lent themselves to easy collaboration. English is more conversation, more written word etc. 
Additionally, there are FREE products and webtools that students could use to collaborate on (ahem, Google), so I didn't quite get jus how SMARTamp would be better. 
While at a SMART Summit, I had the chance to work with fellow English teachers to create a SMARTamp workspace. Being ELA teachers, the only thing we could come up with was a collaborative writing piece. Once the ideas began to flow, we could see the power in SMARTamp. 

SMARTamp was MADE for education. It was made for the ease of use for students. This wasn't about the teacher, this product is for the students. In an infinite space, students (and the teacher creating the space) are not locked into a "type" of assignment. It is not just a presentation, a digital worksheet, a collaboration tool. It can be any and all of those things and SO much more. SMARTamp has the power to give students the power to take charge of their learning. To direct it. It also brings the world much closer to our students. 
Needless to say, I have used SMARTamp ever since. I LOVE it. My students LOVE it. It has endless possibilities. 

Does that mean I have given up all other tech tools and products? 
NO! I will use whatever tool that will benefit my students and their learning. 

But going back to the interview/vodcast. It was great to share the awesomeness that my students do in the classroom. Students need to collaborate, to share, to take on learning in meaningful ways. Students need to think outside the box and take challenges head on. For years now, it seems students only know how to see tasks as black and white, right or wrong. It's time to bring back free thinking and creativity!
Jeff was super easy to talk to and share with. He even welcomed my son, Hunter, to the show. We discussed collaboration, tools, student engagement, and, of course, SMARTamp. TeacherCast rests solely on educators reaching out and sharing with Jeff, so contact him! Share your knowledge! #BetterTogether. I hope to share again with Jeff and the TeacherCast crew real soon.