Monday, July 4, 2016

Ignite Sessions: Its All about the Ideas

So for my first time really being an active participant in the #notatiste community, I decided to go all-in, no holds barred. (If you know me at all, that will not come as any sort of shock.)  Without really having any idea what I was getting into, I signed up to host an Ignite Session. Then I decided to investigate and see what I had gotten myself into.  Here is the official site, although the #notatiste sessions were not hosted in conjunction with the official site.  Rapid-fire, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide.  I knew it was either going to be a perfect fit for my fast-talking self, or it was going to be a complete disaster due to my tendency to ramble.  In the end, I really liked the format, but would definitely use it very sparingly and for very specific purposes.

In my last post:  SnapSmashing:  (not just for kids anymore) I posted the end result -- you can judge the success (or lack thereof) for yourself.  :)  As I built the presentation, I knew I needed to be mindful of the focus, and stick to the apps and examples of how each could be used.  With the exception of the explanation of filters v. lenses, I left the mechanics and processes of the apps alone.  I think the format worked very well for that type of presentation.  Any kind of tutorial would be ineffective, I think, due to the speed of presentation.  I also liked the fact that we archived them via YouTube, so on replay viewers can pause, reflect, take notes, etc.

Would I use it to introduce new material to my students? Probably not.  I think the level of frustration for students trying to process TL at that speed would be disastrous.  What would be interesting, however, would be to have students collaborate on an Ignite session to present to their classmates as part of the year-end review process:  each pair or small group could be assigned a review topic, slides divided among the group members (I used Google Slides to create mine, and then Screencastify to capture the video).  Archiving to YouTube would then provide the class with replayable resources for review.

As with all things (IMHO) the Ignite Session is simply another tool in the arsenal.  As a presentation tool, it's all about the ideas:  throw a bunch out and hope that your audience is sparked to think of even more.

If I have ignited any ideas for you, leave a comment!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

SnapSmashing -- Snapchat (not just for kids anymore!)


Obviously I am a hardcore techie (see blog title), but when I first heard about Snapchat, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that there would be no way to apply it in the classroom, and furthermore, I wanted no part of an app whose popularity was driven by the fact that the Snaps disappear in short order.  It just seemed like a recipe for disaster.  Since then, with regard to Snapchat, I have had an Eric Sheninger-like epiphany.  Thanks to an enthusiastic and uber-talented Voxer group dedicated to using Snapchat in the classroom, I have come to find limitless possibilities for using Snapchat to teach World Language.

The possibilities so excited me, that I volunteered to do an Ignite session (my next post will be on Ignite sessions, but the link below is an example) on "SnapSmashing" -- like Appsmashing, but with Snapchat at the heart.

Just imagine the possibilities in the World Language classroom:

  • Interpretive Listening -- via 10 second video clips (and it doesn't get much more entertaining than seeing your teacher lensed like a dog speaking Spanish. -- Trust me, they'll replay it.  CI on the edge.
  • Interpersonal Communication -- drop the snap videos into a Voxer chat, and have students respond via text or voice.
  • Presentational writing -- Still Snaps can be created by teacher or student to use as writing prompts -- students take on more of the creation responsibility rather than simply curating and consuming pre-existing images.
  • Presentational speaking:  students can start small by recording their own video snaps in the TL
What are you waiting for?  Get snapping!

Hot off the presses: Snapchat has just released a new feature called "Memories" which allows snappers to archive & organize snaps on the Snapchat server - a useful tool for teachers just got even better!