Tag Archives: 21stCentury

A Coming-of-Digital-Age Story

13 Mar

A Coming-of-Digital Age Story
By Nancye Blair Black
Performed by Laney Blair

Used to be, learning at school was a bore.
Textbooks and textbooks and textbooks. Snore!
In class, teachers would talk, students would hear.
It was the same old story year after year.

Until one day, our principal suddenly appeared
With a class set of computers. The students all cheered!
Our teacher showed us what these new tools could do.
We played fraction games. We Skyped with the zoo!

And then it was our turn. She turned us all loose
To research and learn about a topic we choose.
I tried simulations. Collected data, too.
I emailed an expert. Read cutting-edge news.

Next, it was time to share what we’d learned,
To demonstrate knowledge and mastery earned.
In front of my classmates, I started to doubt,
But then all of a sudden, the words just poured out.

I showed them my slideshow with media galore.
My friends clapped and asked questions and begged me for more!
My teacher joined with them. Could this really be?
That along with my teacher, now a teacher was me?

It was hard to believe, but the message seemed clear;
My work mattered enough to see, read and hear.
And if sharing my ideas could matter to you,
All this work would actually be worth it to do!

So, I darted online to blog on my day.
Would the rest of the world really care what I say?
I posted my project as my global debut.
Other teachers and students were soon commenting, too!

And now, I can’t count all things I can share;
I’m an author, filmmaker and scientist extraordinaire.
My voice makes a difference. I now know it’s true….
And technology helped me to share it with you.

#FETC14 Countdown: Innovative Workshops Not to Miss!

20 Dec

2014 is right around the corner… Kick off the new year right by plugging into innovative sessions and workshops at upcoming conferences across the country!  Whether you can make it in person or join in virtually, this is a great time to get connected to the best that ed-tech has to offer.

FETC14 SpeakerI’ll be starting out the year at FETC in Orlando from January 28-31.  If you are planning to be there, I’d love for you to join me in one of my workshops as we explore the transformative potential of using technology in the classroom.  Here are three opportunities… and remember to pre-register for these workshops early while there are still spots available!

Tuesday, January 28 – 8:00-11:00 AM
Ed-Tech Transformation: More than Meets the Eye

Today’s interactive, relational and tech-savvy students are not the same 21st Century learners we had the first decade of the millennium and our technology curriculum and integration shouldn’t be either! Join us as we explore proven and emerging ways to revolutionize your class and school with a technology-infused curriculum that drives student discovery, problem solving, collaboration and creativity, all while meeting the demands for academic achievement.

Thursday, January 30 – 8:00-10:00 AM
Digital Village: Using Technology to Increase Parent Involvement

By using Web 2.0 collaboration tools, parents become an integral part of your classroom and their child’s learning! With interactive demonstrations, free resources, best practices, and testimonials, you’ll move forward inspired to turn your classroom into its own digital village. In this interactive session, attendees will engage live demonstrations of collaborative web environments, explore best practices for implementation, view diverse examples, and delve into free, effective collaboration tools like blogs, wikis, Voicethread, video-conferencing, writing apps, online whiteboards – and more!

Thursday, January 30 – 1:00-3:00PM
It’s a Small World: Elementary Global Collaboration

Discover powerful web resources and best practices perfect for connecting young learners around the globe. Gain ideas for tools like Google Docs, Storybird, Voicethread, ePals, Skype, Flockdraw, Quadblogging and more. In no time, your students will be sharing videos, images, knowledge and skills; blogging; storytelling; and even creating websites with other students across the classroom or around the world.

Infographic: Stereoscopic 3D Enhances Learning

16 Sep

 

Stereoscopic 3D Enhances Learning | Engaging Education Infographic
Copyright 2014 Nancye Blair Black

 

NancyeBlack

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, speaker, author, and consultant.  She is the Founder and Chair of ISTE’s Special Interest Group for 3D in Education (iste.org/sig3d) and recently published a chapter on 3D document camera use in the IGI Global book, Cases on 3D Technology Application and Integration in Education.

Growing School Gardens: An Eco-lutionary Move

10 Sep

Something “eco-lutionary” is cropping up at schools across the country.  While some students might be experiencing the start of the new academic year from behind a desk, others are embracing an expansive sense of classroom that reaches far beyond the schoolhouse walls and into the green.

At our public charter school, Lakeland Montessori Middle School, teachers and administration plan the year with explorations into green space in mind.  P.E. sometimes takes place running around a lake, field trips include environmental clean-ups and snorkeling, and studying biology means much more than just looking at pictures in textbooks.  In fact, during the last school year, the students at LMMS struck up an interesting partnership with one local restaurant, the Red Door Wine Market.  Synthesizing their learning of biology, weather, collaborative design, math, business and even presentation skills, the students designed, proposed and executed the implementation of a “farm-to-table” concept on the restaurant’s grounds.

The result of this entrepreneurial project is a flourishing garden that provides organic lettuces, peppers, herbs and other produce to be served to patrons at the Red Door.  Students were extremely proud to see the literal fruits of their labor… and ecstatic when they first saw “Montessori grown greens” appear on the menu.  Several of the students happened to be on site the last time I ate on the outdoor patio at Red Door.  When asked about the garden, they were eager to share about their project, detailing the various plants sprouting up around the grounds.  In addition to their pride, the depth of learning and retention from the project was also clearly evident.

According to Angeline Stoll Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, working with plants, nature and environmental elements is an integral part of the Montessori educational model.  Maria Montessori went as far as suggesting that elementary classrooms should include ornamental plants, which the children could tend… and that middle grades education should include running both a farm and a local store at which to sell their produce.   Instead of preparing students for the “real world,” this type of project-based Montessori education provides students the present-day opportunity to be valuable contributors to their local community and economy.

Yet the school gardening movement is not limited simply to Montessori schools or even high school agriculture classes.  In fact, many communities and schools across the country are discovering the benefits of empowering students to plant and grow foods.  In his TED Talk, “A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx,” educator Stephen Ritz passionately talks about how growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers has transformed his community, starting inside the classroom and spreading throughout the city.  School gardening in the Bronx is improving both academic achievement and their standard of living.  The students in Ritz’ first cohort of classroom farmers were previously struggling in school with only a 40% attendance rate; with the impact of this program, attendance increased to 93% and all of those students are now in college and earning a living wage.  Ritz says he’s “growing organic citizens, engaged kids.”

Other TED Talkers also see student gardening as a means to economic prosperity.  Ron Finley, A Guerilla Gardner in South Central LA, says that “growing your own food is like printing your own money.”  With little exposure to green space and whole foods, inner city students in South Central LA suffer physically and economically.  A movement to garden in public spaces is changing this for kids in Finley’s neighborhood.  Finley continues, “You’d be surprised how kids are affected by this.  Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city.  Plus, you get strawberries… If kids grow kale, they eat kale.  When kids grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.  But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever the hell you put in front of them… I see young people and they want to work, but they’re in this thing where they’re caught up – I see kids of color and they’re just on this track that’s designed for them, that leads to nowhere.  So with gardening, I see an opportunity where we can train these kids to take over their communities, to have a sustainable life.  And when we do this, who knows?  We might produce the next George Washington Carver.”

School gardening combines learning from all curricular areas into a real world application with multi-faceted benefits to students.  I have personally seen these academic and affective benefits first-hand in the students at Lakeland Montessori Middle.

So, how do you get started with gardening in your school?  Fortunately, there are several ways to learn more – starting today!

The School Gardens Community on edWeb.net is an active group of educators sharing free resources and discussions on growing school gardens.  You can join this community edweb.net/schoolgardens and gain access to their upcoming webinars on growing schools gardening, such as:

-  Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 in an Outdoor, Living Laboratory     Tuesday, September 10, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Whitney Cohen, Education Director at Life Lab

-   From School Garden to Cafeteria Table: How to Plan, Grow, and Use Garden Produce in a School Cafeteria Lunch Program    Tuesday, October 1, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Matthew Doris, Food Service Director & Chef, Tuckahoe Common School District, Southampton, NY.

The School Gardens Community also shares an e-guide about school garden planning and lesson integration by New Jersey educator, Dorothy Mullen, which definitely deserves a look.

One other way to introduce gardening to your students is with a new book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table is a beautiful picture book telling the biography of a former basketball star turned gardener turned MacArthur Foundation Fellow.  In her review of the book, Elizabeth Bird praises Martin for masterfully portraying the connection between economic stratification and access to healthy foods “without getting anywhere near a soapbox.”  More than that, students learn how, with dedication and hard work, someone can turn a big idea into a meaningful reality.  The best part?  The book officially releases today.  And if one book isn’t enough, look for other books that with potential to introduce your deep classroom conversations about gardening, food, health, and economics on the International Reading Association’s list of leveled reading books on the subject.

By making gardening an integral part of project- and inquiry-based learning, we have a unique opportunity to provide our students with more than just academic knowledge.  Instead, we can empower them by developing practical skills for success, not only in math and science, but also in collaboration, problem solving and iterative design; we can raise them with a profound sense of capacity to create, to grow, and to succeed.  Plus, as Ron Finley would say, “you get strawberries.”

 

Nancye Black

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, author and educational consultant.  She also proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Lakeland Montessori Middle School, a free public charter school in Lakeland, FL.

More information about the LMMS gardening project can be found on The Ledger and WFLA News.

Interview with Megan Power – Innovative 3D Educator!

12 Jun

Megan Power3D Movie-Making? In Kindergarten? Although this might sound crazy to some, to Megan Power this is just a small example of what her students are capable of! In her eleventh year of teaching in Poway Unified School District in San Diego, California, she has been an innovative technology integrator. This is her sixth year making movies with her students, but last year marked their first year working in 3D… and it was a great success! Their film “Flashback in Time” won two San Diego County Office of Education Innovative Video in Education (SDCOE iVIE) awards in the K-2 and People’s Choice divisions.

So, what does Megan have to say about teaching and learning in stereoscopic 3D? Let’s find out!

Q: How long have you been working with 3D technologies and in what capacity?
Megan: I have been using stereoscopic 3D in my classroom for 1 year.

Q: What made you decide to integrate 3D teaching and learning into your classroom?
Megan: My kindergarten class was writing and filming a movie about decades in history last year and we wanted our audience to feel like they were really in the past. Our original idea was to film in 3D so the movie would be more realistic and allow viewers to experience the past with “future” technology. When researching the 20s, 50s, and 80s we found that 3D was around at those time periods. This finding became a very important piece that was threaded in our movie. 3D also gave the students a chance to learn about our sense of sight and about different perspectives.This directly connected to our comprehension work on inference and character perspectives.

Q: In what ways have you found 3D technologies innovative, unique and/or helpful in education?
Megan: 3D is exciting and engaging. Because it is so close to real life students remember concepts and content more. It brings a whole new depth to learning and video.

Q: What are your thoughts on student use (K-12 or college) of 3D technologies?
Megan: Any type of filming project with students is powerful. When you give students another dimension to work in, the project gets that much better. Students really have to think about the content and about the process of filming on a deeper level when creating in 3D. I would like to experiment more with 3D content in the classroom and am excited to see more students’ 3D projects.

Q: How can readers find out more about your work?
Megan: People can find out more by watching our movie on YouTube.

Flashback in Time 3D