At this past February’s PETE and C in Hershey, PA, I learned more about a concept called Breakout.edu. The premise is that students or adults solves a series of puzzles and/or problems to achieve a predetermined learning goal. Breakout.edu allows for critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.
These lessons can be either digital in nature or actual physical lock and puzzle boxes. There is a growing and strong support network for teachers online, with numerous resources, but that is a topic for another blog post.
I chose to work with a digital breakout to start, it is free and I have access to all of the necessary online resources.
Recently I encountered the opportunity to try out EverFi, a free website/program that offer courses in Digital Citizenship and STEAM Activities. Digital Citizenship fits nicely into my curriculum, so I am giving it a try.
I started out the pilot project today with several of my classes; our school’s Winter Semi-Formal is tonight and many students had early releases to prep for the dance. I thought it best to work with start with small groups and see how things work.
Overall it was a fairly painless experience, I will post a bit later on how to set up classes and how to sign up students for the lessons.
I learned a new game today, well I heard of it Saturday at EdCampPGH, but I tried it out with my students in class today. The game is QuizletLive. Students are broken into random teams and must communicate and collaborate to answer questions correctly. My students loved it and I was able to use my existing Quizlet flashcards as the basis of the game. There was no need to build new material, which a a HUGE time saver. QuizletLive motivated my students, the vocabulary review grew into a repeated competition for class supremacy.
There is a brief tutorial video embedded in the site so there is no need to repeat instructions here. You see live tracking of student progress while the students are playing.
In my not so humble opinion, the random grouping of students is probably one of the biggest benefits of this tool, along with using pre-existing resources. Having students step out of their comfort zone to work with new group members is important. They can no longer become complacent and work with their usual band of cohorts.
My students participated in another Hour of Code today after school. I had to cover Senior Interviews so I let my students in the volunteer Hour of Code group work independently with another teacher as a monitor. The started using the Ozobots while I covered the interviews. One of my students had worked with the Ozobots in our last session, so he was given the role of chief facilitator for the session; he seemed to enjoy the role.
After Interviews were over I crossed the hall to the library and saw four intrepid students working intently on creating their ow pathways for the Ozobots to follow.
We moved back to my room and continued working on various endeavors. One of our computer teachers came in while the students were working. They explained to her in detail and with a lot of enthusiasm as to how the Ozobots worked.
Our Hour of Code evolved into setting up our Class Internet Radio Station on BlogTalkRadio.com. One of my students created a music file on JamStudio for the show’s intro, other students looked over the BlogTalkRadio dashboard and our class site. We ran out of time before we could run a broadcast. I am hoping next Monday will be our first broadcast.
TRETC, the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference was held at Bethel Park Senior High School this year. TRETC is an excellent educational conference held in Western Pennsylvania every year, it has been growing regularly since I began attending them back in the early 2000’s.
Below is a Storify of the event, I collected Tweets and here they are:
My daughter has supplied a huge amount of motivation for me to improve my blogging efforts and overall writing endeavors.
Last night while I was posting to my personal blog on Blogger, as opposed to my professional blog you are reading now, she asked what I was up to. When I told her I was writing a blog post, she asked to read it. Her reaction can be found here. The post she read can be found here.
I hope to finally ensure I make time to contribute ideas regularly across my social media sites. The goal is to add positively to the world around me, leaving it in better shape that I found it.