One of my favorite ways to wrap-up a session with some of my upper-elementary and middle school students is to make THEM wrap-up my lesson. This demonstrates to me what they’ve learned and also helps them solidify it in their own mind. It also avoids them being able to say “nothing” to their parents asking what they’ve learned! The “review” typically involves them telling me what they learned in our session through a handout. This holds it own limitations. Many of my students have writing aversions and difficulties, anxiety about saying/doing the wrong thing, and difficulty working with others. I realized I needed to find a way to help them review the lesson that was motivating, allowed them to use their strengths and removed as many barriers as possible to really get a solid picture of their learning.
If I need a motivating activity, I always go straight to my iPad. But I still wanted something that could go home for them to review and show parents their learning. Imagine my excitement when I began using the Educreations app! There were so many features of this app that really motivated and enabled my student’s to review their sessions using their strengths while supporting their weaknesses.
I introduced the app by teaching a mini-lesson through it – usually no more than a few minutes of a new concept or a review of an older one. Most of my students are extremely tech savvy, so it didn’t take long for them for them to master the app. The first few reviews we planned out on the whiteboard to make sure they were able to identify the key points from the lesson and discuss why we had worked on those areas today (Example: Today we talking about ______ to help me with ______). Then did a few “takes” on the app until we got it right and had a finished product to send home! Over the following weeks I was able to lesson the support and pre-thinking I gave them. Soon we were down to me just listening in while they did the review off of what we’d put on the board throughout the lesson (no structured planning needed) to now, where my students do the review when I leave to go discuss the session with the parents! They are motivated to do their review and get to do a “free time” activity afterwards until I return. And with Educreations, I can privately share the Reviews with them and their families. The Review makes it home before they do when I send it home in a quick e-mail!
- It can be easy for students to accidentally delete all their work if they don’t save it correctly and close out the app. I’ve had this happen a few times and it can be frustrating for all of us! Making sure you know how to save them, and making sure to emphasize to them the importance of saving before they exit the app usually solves this problem!
- There is no erase button – so those students who see mistakes as “big deals” or may become fixated on their mistakes might have a lot of difficulty with this!
- Fingers work ok – but I highly suggest a stylus for this app. It allows students to copy down drawings and diagrams from the lesson with less frustration and more clarity. There is a text button for writing, but most often I find we all resort to writing it out.
- There is a little arrow in the bottom right corner of the app – play with this! It allows you to make multiple “page” presentations.
- There are other apps out there with similar functions (Doodlecast, etc). But this one was the right price (free) and after meeting the creators at the Bay Area Maker Fair, I was really impressed with how receptive they were to suggestions! The sold me on their app all over again!
Let me know if you try Educreations, or if you already use in interesting other ways!
– Tara, the SpeechyKeenSLPSocial tagging: Apps > Educreations > middle school > whiteboard