One of my favourite parts of an Educamp is the final Smack Down – it’s a bit like speed dating.
Through a device like Apple TV participants screen share their device and take a minute or two to share an App or tool or program that they have been using in their classroom and at the end of the 30 minute session you all walk away with a range of new tools that you could use in your classroom.
In my class each week we have been working on our confidence and presentation skills with quick 30-45 second news reports. The difference in the students from the beginning of the year to now is amazing – they speak much clearer, the volume of their voice can be heard around the room and they have learned to make eye contact with all of their audience. Additionally, they no longer recite the article they have just read, showing an improved level of comprehension, and they are now able to choose an event that interests them, rather than the first one they find. In short, they have achieved all the goals that we set out to achieve and the learning activity, while enjoyable, needs to change and morph into something with a new set of goals.
The solution – Smack Down.
They all have their own iPads and they all have access to computers at home, so last week the brief was to ‘Share an App that you use at home with the rest of the class’. They emailed me their choice, so there were no double ups, and I downloaded it to the class iPad. We brainstormed what they might share about the App of their choice and I shared with them an App that I use as a model of what the process could look like.
The presentations were amazing. They wandered around the room holding the iPad, which was being mirrored on the data projector through Air Play, and ran us through each App – the positives, the negatives, the target audience, why they use it and why they chose it above others. It was an interactive experience with students interrupting the presentation to ask questions to clarify their understanding. The presentation skills and confidence that we had developed in our news reports carried through to the new task and at the end of the session students were scribbling down names of Apps that they were going to download and try as soon as they got home.
Other than Animation Desk they were all games, but this was a great as the students were so familiar with the App that the presentations were very natural. They decided that they wanted to do it again next week, but they wanted to share Apps that help them with their learning instead of just games.
I challenge you try this in your own class. It gives your students the chance to be the experts and helps to build a culture of sharing within you classroom. It does not need to be App based, but can be a website or a program, but it is a groovy experience.