Archive for February 2012
I have written about the power of Comic and Animation Technologies in the Classroom. Because of the Academy Awards, I was introduced to the beautiful, animated The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore that has so much potential for classroom uses. What follows is the 15 animation and a description of the iPad storytelling app that tells the interactive story.
As is my tendency, I tweeted and Facebooked my excitement for this animation and others responded.
Extension Activity with an Interactive Storytelling iPad App
Through the creators’ ingenuity, they developed an amazing iPad app to go along with the video.
There are lovely filmic perspectives on each page, hand drawn illustrations that fade to 3D digital animation and the interactivity makes you feel like you are part director of your own animated short (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a Game-Changing eBook App).
The app includes pages of the story with text and 3D animated illustrations with an option to have audio narration of text.
The text can be translated into various languages.
Each page also has a “secret” embedded interactive that the user needs to discover. This one is a keyboard where the user can follow along and play Pop Goes the Weasel.
I had the pleasure of seeing Jeremy K. Macdonald’s Soiree of Slides at the Instructional Technology Strategies Conference this past weekend . . . a beautiful five minutes.
His message was that as teachers, we learn to do the expected. Students are supposed to behave within the norms and rules of school. Teachers enforce those norms and rules. When students break those norms and rules, teachers discipline the students. But, maybe, just maybe, the student had a “good” reason for doing so and maybe, just maybe, teachers should do the unexpected rather than enforce. Maybe, they should “do” caring instead.
Jeremy reported what happened next via his blog post #Unexpected. Here is an excerpt:
My student was at school today. I still wasn’t sure how I was going to approach the situation and my plan for a book drive. She met me in the principal’s office. I asked the school counselor to be there as well. We began to talk. I asked her about the recent events. We discussed her thought process over the past several months and what had happened to so many books. Her answer was simple. She didn’t know. She was not sure why she took the books other than that she wanted to read them. She talked about taking books that she thought her two year-old sister would like to hear or books that she could share with her neighbors. As the conversation went on I could see in her eyes that she really did not know what she had done was “wrong”; that the currency she had used to buy social interactions was not earned but stolen.
My heart broke again. This time, however, it was because I knew my reaction was the right one. Her eyes grew larger and brighter as I explained what her new responsibility would be in light of this situation. She said things like, “I’ve never done that before.” and “I get to be in-charge?”, and “I wonder who else would want to help.” So starting Monday, she will head our community book drive and organize a book-trade in which anyone can take or leave a book.
As I stood up to hug this little girl my eyes met the teary eyes of our school counselor. Just moments before this meeting, she had asked the usual questions regarding punishments, detentions, and possible suspension for stealing. The unexpectedness of it all was more than she anticipated. She then saw what I saw — a little girl that already lived in a world of turmoil and confusion. Today was our opportunity to bring her out of that world, if only for a moment, and empower her instead of the expected belittling we so often justify.
My Own Doing the Unexpected: A Peak Experience
I had a similar experience with 8 year old Sherry a while back. To this day, I view it as a peak experience in my life.
Sherry was a tough little third grader in my counseling group at a local elementary school. Sherry had to be a tough cookie – as she was a witness to her sister being shot and killed by a drug dealer. Other kids in my counseling group had similar stories – one’s mom was found dead in a ditch . . . tough situations, tough kids, tough behaviors. Sherry would be suspended three times during her third grade year due to defiant behavior. I had to use a behavior modification system (which I personally abhor) to check in with them every 10 minutes because of acting out behaviors. But who could blame them? . . . such horrible situations in their short lives. As the principal stated, “These third graders have experienced more trauma in their young lives then I will experience in my whole lifetime.”
Sherry loved coming to the group, but was especially defiant this day – I wasn’t feeling so patient, tolerant, or compassionate on this day. So with a brush-off wave of my hand I said, “Sherry – just go back to class.” With head down, she returned to her class. The group met the last period of each Tuesday. I would send the kids to their respective buses after that. Sherry did not take the bus, walked home from the school. After school on this day, Sherry returned to my meeting area– staying shyly on the periphery as I straightened up. I made eye contact with her and she moved ever so slowly towards me like the boy and the fox in The Little Prince.
I was ready to make the adult-in-charge-type-statement. As I knew Sherry loved the group time, I was about to say, “If you learn to behave yourself, you would be allowed to stay in the group.” I opened my mouth and these words come out instead, “I missed you today. You are very special to me.” With her big black eyes (even bigger at that moment) staring intensely at me, she stated, “I don’t feel very special.” And this kid, who never cried, had a few big teardrops flow from her eyes. I said, with eyes that were probably as big, black, and intense as hers at that moment, “Well, you are very special to me.” And big teardrops rolled from my eyes. This was a peak experience for me, an experience that can only be explained as one heart purely touching another heart. No more was said – Sherry’s behavior was fine for the rest of the year.
I did the unexpected . . . I didn’t expect it, Sherry didn’t expect it. It changed me. I became an unteacher on this day.
This is part of my continuing series of blogs about how I am integrating mobile learning into my undergraduate course on interpersonal relations. There are a dozen students in the class. Ten of them are in the 17 to 21 year old age range. The other two are over 35 years old. All of them own mobile devices – four of them being Smart Devices (iPhone, Android). Three of them bring their personal laptops to class.
The following activity was part of a three-hour class on nonverbal behaviors. Even though the example describes how this activity was used with the different types of nonverbal behaviors, it can be used with any topic that has categories or classifications. For example, it could be used for writing genres, biomes, art types, historical eras, etc.
Goals of the Activity:
- To use videos and QR codes to explore and learn about a class topic.
- To build community by working on a common project.
- One mobile device per group to create videos that can be uploaded directly to YouTube
- One mobile device per group with a QR reader. I recommend i-nigma. The same device can be used for recording video, scanning QR codes, and viewing videos on the mobile device.
- One computer per group that has internet access.
- A printer that computers are connected to.
- A YouTube Account
- Form students/members into smaller groups – 3 to 5 members per group.
- Ask students to create short videos using their mobile devices that demonstrate smaller concepts within a larger topic. Have students videotape 4 to 6 separate short videos (a minute or less) from the list of categories or classifications provided to them about the topic selected. In this example, for my interpersonal relations class, students were asked to create videos to demonstrate different nonverbal behaviors from the following list: glance, eye contact (gaze), volume, vocal nuance, proximity, gestures, facial expression, pause (silence), intonation, dress, posture, word choice and syntax, sounds (paralanguage) http://www.andrews.edu/~tidwell/lead689/NonVerbal.html
- Encourage them to provide enough information to showcase the topic but not too much that the answer/category is too obvious.
- Ask students to upload each of their videos to YouTube. If they don’t have their own accounts, you can provide them with an email address to send their videos directly to your YouTube account. This information can be found under account settings.
- Have them generate QR Codes for each video they created using a service such http://goqr.me/ or YouTube Video QR Code Generator. These are generated by inserting the YouTube video URL to general the QR code.
- Print the QR codes and distribute them to each of the groups. So if there are 5 groups, print four sets for the four other groups. Develop a coding system or have groups develop a coding system that identifies their group, a unique symbol for each of the sets, and the number of the video. This permits an easy identification code of which group and which video for the next part. A coding system can include giving each group a set of numbers to identify which groups have their QR codes. Going back to the example of five groups, group one can be given 1-4, group two 5-9, group three 10-13 and so on. Groups can then be instructed to label their videos A through E (given they made five videos).
- Groups receive the QR codes for videos completed by the other groups. Ask group members view the videos via the QR codes and identify which of the concepts the video is depicting.
- For this example, the different types of nonverbal behaviors were printed and taped on the classroom wall. When a group identified which behavior, they taped their QR code under that category. Once completed, groups “graded” one another’s correct categories referring to the codes they developed and by writing a “yes” or “no” on the QR code.
- Alternative One: to posting the QR codes on the wall is to have students identify which concept by writing it directly on the printed QR codes they received. The need for groups coding their QR codes would be eliminated. Correctness of their responses would be determined during the next step when the videos are shown to the entire class.
- Alternative Two: If there is access to a computer lab/1:1 mobile lab, the QR Codes could be displayed on the monitors. There would need to be enough computers to show on the videos/QR Codes created. Videos could be accessed via these monitor displays through their mobile devices using their QR readers. Then students could write their guess down for each of the videos. The need for groups coding their QR codes would be eliminated. Correctness of their responses would be determined during the next step when the videos are shown to the entire class.
- Show the videos using a projector, interactive whiteboard. Facilitate a discussion about the concepts and how well they were depicted in the student videos.
Give it a try. Use your QR reader to access and view the following videos created by students about nonverbal behaviors. See if you can guess which behavior they depicted using the nonverbal behavior list provide above.
Leveraging the students’ mobile devices has become an ongoing and integrated practice of my face-to-face undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations. What follows are the mobile and technology driven activities completed during the class on personal-identity.
I Am Poems
Students are given the following template and asked to fill in the blanks to create their own I Am Poems.
Once the poems are written, students are provided with a link to a shared Google Doc Presentation and instructions to use one of the presentation slides to compose their poem and include a photo from their Facebook accounts or one taken with their mobile that symbolizes the essence of their identify. After all students complete this task, the presentation is projected via an interactive board. Students, one at a time, read their poems to their classmates.
We made an “I AM” poem, which I thought was very fun. It was interesting to see the imaginations on some classmates. These activities are what makes the class fun.
We wrote ” I am” poems which was really cool too. I liked seeing what everyone had to say about themselves. I got to see a side of them that I probably never would have.
Students are asked to choose their three top values from a list of values. They are then given the task to locate objects in their environment that symbolize these values and take photos using their mobile devices. Directions are given to email their photos to a Flickr account set up for this purpose. Students do not need to have an account on Flickr to do so. The steps to set this up are as follows:
- Set up an account on Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/
- Photos can then be emailed directly to this Flickr account. “You can upload photos to Flickr from your camera using your unique email upload address. When you upload photos via email, the subject line is used as the title of your photo, and the body of the email is used as the description” (http://www.flickr.com/help/mobile/)
Students are given the email address to send their photos to Flickr along with the instructions to put the name of their value in the subject line and why they selected that value in the description. Since all the group’s images will are sent to this single Flickr account, students are able to view each other’s photographs through the Flickr website projected on a screen if in a face-to-face setting.
Going over our values was an important part of the activity (I personally can say) because our values play a critical role in our self-esteem, they dictate what is important to us.
The Johari Window is introduced to the students. The focus of this activity is on the window known to others but not known to self. Since the students have been working together for several weeks, they have some knowledge of their classroom peers. As such, they are instructed to provide feedback to those three or four students with whom they have had most contact during the initial weeks of the course. Feedback is provided in the form of three descriptive adjectives texted to the person receiving the feedback.
We sent messages to other people describing how we saw them when we first met in class. This was surprising to me because I received different feedback then I would expect..