Monday, February 16, 2015

The Pigeon Needs A Shower by Jaxen Dziver

Here is the latest story from the Pigeon Project !  Jaxen's new story is titled "The Pigeon Needs a Shower".  You can flip through the book here or view below:

Mixbook - Create stunning photo books, cards and calendars! | Design your own Photo Book with Mixbook's easy online editor.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Instagram in our Classroom

Social media is important in our classroom because it provides opportunities for sharing learning and connecting with others.  I also think it is useful to teach my young learners how to use social media appropriately early in their lives and before they use social media independently.  I first started thinking about Instagram in the classroom while attending the 2014 Awakening Possibilities conference with colleague and co-presenter Mrs. Devon Caldwell.   While presenting for the Minds on Media session, which involved several concurrent presentations, we noticed another teacher sharing ideas for using Instagram in the classroom.   You can check out the Instagram MOM Session from Erin Clark to see how she uses Instagram in her classroom.  

Devon and I were (and are!) both avid "instagrammers" in our personal lives and we were interested in how this tool could be effectively used in the classroom.  On our three hour drive home, we pondered the potential benefits and challenges of introducing Instagram as an educational tool for our students.

Some points we discussed included:

  • Photographing work is a way of documenting learning
  • Captioning photos provides opportunities for explaining learning and practising early writing skills
  • Photography and basic editing encourage creativity and artistic expression
  • Guidelines would need to be established with students, especially to ensure privacy and internet safety
  • Appropriate scaffolding and assistance for young learners would be necessary so that the amount of time spent using the tool is balanced with the learning "value" of the activity (ie making sure they are spending their time learning and sharing, not struggling with using the tool)

Since we both already use social media with our classes and are already well -equipped to deal with the two challenges above, we decided that we should give Instagram a chance in the classroom.  Devon started using Instagram in Kindergarten shortly after and had much success.  (it even lead to a great learning project called InstaAweseome!)  Since Instagram was not available on our devices at the time, I waited until we received our new devices this fall, then slowly starting introducing Instagram to my Grade 2s.

We began with teacher-directed shared use, with the screen projected for all students to see.  Next we progressed to more independent use, with small groups or pairs of students using Instagram with my support.  I'm finally sharing this post now because my students' use of Instagram as a learning tool has really taken off in the last month!  I introduced the @3bbees Math Photo a Day challenge at the start of January, and through our participation in this activity, my students have become very proficient in using Instagram to document and share learning.