Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments, Tech Tools

Marker Mic Drop #7: #FlipgridLIVE 2020 – August 1 updates

Image source: FlipgridLIVE 2020

My brain is on fire. I “attended” the Flipgrid LIVE Broadcast (June 29, 2020) Monday night to hear the year’s recap and upcoming updates that left my mind racing hours later. Flipgrid has been my number one go-to EdTech tool for a few years now. What started out as a simple video platform with basic comment feedback to students has now transformed into truly promoting their mission to promote every voice.

The updates come in response to (teacher) feedback, and abundantly so after this remote learning experience. One stop on Twitter and you will witness an overwhelming use of Flipgrid in innovative ways by old and new users in the past three months. Flipgrid’s newest updates will enhance their mission to promote every voice, its creativity and story. So, let’s get to it, everything coming your way August 1, 2020:

  • Boards: Math teachers, this is for you. There will be graph paper backgrounds and more, as well as split-screen recordings (simultaneous videos and white or blackboards)…yes, please and thank you!
  • Creative fonts: Who doesn’t like to express themself via their font of choice?
  • New filters and frames: People love filters. Flipgrid is giving more color gradient options, a privacy filter (Block mode) and frames that make students look like they’re on the local news, among other choices.
  • Stickers: My students found these fun before but now teachers can take advantage of them, too, with new releases every month. The new stickers will come in a variety, such as math symbols, speech bubbles, and GIFs (yes, GIFs).
  • Redesigned view: Topic prompts will be easier to respond to and view, including more screen space and the ability to see which video will play next.
  • Comments: Students will be able to respond to one another’s videos with text and video, and all can be moderated by the teacher. Teachers will also be able to respond via text or video but can also make Comments private or public.
  • Discovery Library Collections can be shared with any Flipgrid educator.
  • The Topic of the Day and Wonder of the Day will kickstart your daily lessons.
  • Partner Pages: Check out Langston League and Made By Dyslexia, Flipgrid’s newest partners.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • The ability to create stand-alone topics for discussion prompts.
    • You can grant access to specific emails, and not just large domains.
    • Adobe Spark integration (yes, they can now be a part of your Topics).
    • Grids will now be called “Groups,” and can be used to access multiple Topics with a single code. You will also be able to easily add a single Topic to multiple Groups. (No more “Duplicate” then wait, go back, repeat…)
    • Quickview: Flipgrid boasts a new, modern look that will make it even easier to navigate videos.

That was a lot. I’ll give you a minute.

Okay, but there is one more thing.

  • Flipgrid Coach:

Flipgrid Coach, the last update to be featured in #FlipgridLIVE, is like the Speech 101 class everyone wishes they could take. (I can still see the podium I dreaded so much on the second floor of the Communications building.) The Flipgrid Coach feature provides immediate feedback, encouraging better speaking. It makes note of all “umms,” “uhs,” “wells,” and general pauses, also tuning into the presenter’s speed. The speaker will receive a report card with a breakdown of categories (“Filler Words,” “Pace,” etc.), and tear drop markers (think Edpuzzle question markers) to indicate at what point these appeared in the video. Can you imagine the potential of this consistently being used every year over the lifetime of a child’s education?

Image source: FlipgridLIVE 2020

In a reluctantly sappy moment, I cannot begin to tell you the joy I have had for the student who was so incredibly shy to never raise a hand in class but found a voice in the Flipgrid platform. Flipgrid has come a long way with a lot of impressive changes, but one thing has remained constant: students feel comfortable in this platform. I have heard pronunciations they would never iterate in a classroom of peers; real stories of how they miss their sister in Africa, that it was her birthday and they were thinking of her on that day that the assignment was due…I never knew how it would open up their world but also open up mine.

The most admirable part of this all is Flipgrid’s continual awareness and willingness to listen to its users. Marker mic drop to you, Flipgrid, for always trying to provide the best platform for every user’s voice.

Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments, Tech Tools

Marker Mic Drop #6: Matt Miller, author to Tech Like a Pirate (and much more)

Author. Blogger. Podcaster. Educational speaker. Former Spanish teacher. There are many titles that Matt Miller holds, all impressively executed.

In one of the most recent Google Teacher Podcasts, Using Google to Tech Like a Pirate, Kasey Bell (Shake Up Learning author) interviews her co-host, Matt Miller, about his most recent book, Tech Like a Pirate. Inspired by Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a PIRATE, Miller sets out practical ways to use tech in the classroom while, most importantly, creating an experience.

“Don’t just teach a lesson. Create an experience!” -Dave Burgess, author to Teach Like a Pirate

If you are not already a follower of Miller’s Ditch That Textbook site, one click on the Tech Like a Pirate Resources will have you hooked. Click on any of the pictures and you will be taken to a wealth of resources. Miller has always selflessly offered a number of materials to teachers that they can use to create a memorable learning experience. He embraces an attitude that it is more important to try and fail than to not try at all. Try, learn, adjust, repeat. That’s my kind of teacher.

“When they’re having so much fun they don’t even know that they’re learning. That’s the best, right?” -Kasey Bell

The book and website break down memorable learning experiences via the following eight categories:

  • Social Media and Apps
  • Video
  • Games
  • Collaboration
  • Images
  • Exploration
  • Global Communication
  • Storytelling (Bonus chapter on the website!)
Image source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EWEAZaLWAAU3r4s.jpg

The idea behind the book is to rethink your teaching to create activities that students will enjoy while using technology. In fact, Miller says in the podcast that his message to teachers is to see their assignment through a different lens. For example, could you recreate that writing activity into a social media post? Framing an activity in an appealing way to students will engage them and engrain your lesson that much more. Intentional, meaningful collaboration among you and your students, or from peer to peer, will add an even richer level of engagement. We know, for example, that social media is a huge part of our students’ world. Why not use that to our advantage and meet them at their interests?

In this remote learning era, this book could not have been more timely. In a time when resources are in overdrive to help out during remote learning, it is sometimes difficult to discern which will be the most valuable. I was already a follower of the Ditch That Textbook site. After seeing the book’s accompanying resources, as well as listening to Miller walk through his why for writing the book, I am completely sold. Not only will these ideas help finish the year strong but will also refresh us in the fall. I cannot wait to start flipping through the chapters to start brainstorming how to restructure my lessons. Imagine the storytelling that could come from this spring when we reunite with our students in person?

Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments, Tech Tools

Marker Mic Drop #5: Karen Knight, Spanish Teacher and LOTE Department Chair

Image created on Canva.com

My department chair, Karen Knight, and I were discussing assignments for our remote learning experience that could potentially extend through the end of the year. “I want to give them a memory, Padrah. I don’t want to assign them 150 questions that won’t mean anything to them later.”

Exactly.

Karen proposed an idea that I absolutely love and will adopt for my classes in the coming weeks. Her students will be creating a scrapbook about their lives and the world during this global pandemic. The project builds upon itself with new themes or chapters for each week, with flexible expectations of responses written in the target language. Here is a breakdown of themes we brainstormed:

Week 1 – Current events headlines: Students gather current events articles and explain and summarize COVID-19, how it started and has evolved over the weeks. Students could elaborate on how it has specifically affected their community.

Week 2 – Family, activities, and the “New Normal”: Ask students to gather pictures and tell about their family. What are their ages? Jobs? Do they no longer work or work from home because of the pandemic? Most importantly, have your students discuss what their lives are from day-to-day now that they are at home. Have they been on more walks or spent more time with family?

Week 3 – A little humor: The memes, the GIFs, the videos of what people are doing to pass their time during stay-at-home orders are all pulling everyone through this with a smile. Have students recreate their favorites in the target language.

Week 4 – Twenty years from now…: What do students think the world will look like post-pandemic? Will we be more prepared and learn from this experience? Many schools and businesses have had to alter their ways. Will there be an overhaul to how we operate?

Week 5 – Reflection: Give your students an opportunity to express how they are feeling during this time and how it has impacted their lives. I would strongly encourage different mediums in which the students could present. Some are more comfortable with written or spoken words. For others, a drawn picture alleviates the pressure of speaking. Give an outline of reflection questions that can guide the students.

Presentation styles: There are various presentation options that a student can choose from for his or her final product. While we are living by the motto of “Keep it simple” in this teaching era, I believe that the more options you present, the better. Students only need to choose one, but by giving them alternatives, it accounts for their learning style preference as well as resources available to them. I could not possibly list all the resources available but here is a start:

Paper is always an option. Karen Knight proposed to the other Spanish teachers to accept this project at the beginning of next school year for a grade or extra credit.

Flipgrid presents a user-friendly video option. Even if students have a hard copy of their scrapbook, they could bring it to life by narrating it in a video.

Wakelet allows for beautiful digital storytelling, easily allowing students to add current events headlines as well as paragraphs with their own commentary and reflections.

Book Creator, Storyboard That, StoryJumper, Adobe Spark are other creative outlets for digital storytelling.

Google Slides can include text, pictures, videos, and be customized to the student’s taste.

Handwritten, recorded on video, collected into a digital format…no matter which option your student chooses, you gave them choice. Most importantly, though, you gave them a memory.

Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments

Marker Mic Drop Moment #3: Roberto Gudiño, Faculty and Head of Production (Scottsdale Community College, AZ)

This Marker Mic Drop Moment goes to Professor Roberto Gudiño, Faculty and Head of Production of the Scottsdale School of Film and Theatre at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona. Professor Gudiño was one of the participants at the mindSpark Learning EdTech Institute I facilitated in San Diego, CA. He was awarded a new Promethean Panel for his final presentation of an interactive Google Site that his students will use in the fall semester.

Roberto is a first generation college student who earned his MFA in Film Production at UCLA’s film school, one of the top in the country. He also earned his Master of Science in Mass Communication from Florida International University, and has achieved a number of other academic accomplishments. His dream is to help future filmmakers acquire the skills they need to achieve their dreams, especially in an ever-changing world of technology.

The mindSpark Learning EdTech Institute is designed to equip teachers with technology tools to best prepare their students for the modern workforce. The San Diego participants ranged from a kindergarten teacher to college professor, all realizing the need to start preparing their students now for the future.

The educators were exposed to a number of tools, but first situated their use of technology with realistic discussions of their “why” for technology in the classroom. Professor Gudiño echoed the sentiments of his fellow participants: They all want their students to make meaningful connections, be intentional and thoughtful in their tech use, and to make their devices more than a fancy notepad. The two-day workshop required presentations of how tech would be implemented into their classroom, giving teachers tangible materials that they had built in a day to have for future lessons.

“I know [the Institute] definitely helped my students learn the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.”

Professor Gudiño had very kind words to say about mindSpark Learning’s summer institute:

“Padrah, our EdTech Institute facilitator, was amazing! She guided us through concrete ideas on how to apply EdTech in the classroom and we had ample opportunities to practice hands-on with different tech tools. The pace of the learning institute was perfect as we collaborated in groups with various educators from throughout the country. What a great experience! I couldn’t recommend this institute more and I know it definitely helped my students learn the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.”

Participants compiled a number of EdTech tools they had learned the previous day and a half to develop a personalized resource for their class. Roberto Gudiño’s class site is a polished example that integrates a number of tools, particularly making use of the GSuite products.

Asking the question, “What’s your why?”

Professor Gudiño’s care and thoughtfulness toward his students was immediately evident in our morning discussions about his why behind teaching with tech. His concern for how best to equip his students with the skills they will need for a competitive workforce drives his desire to learn more about technology use in the classroom. Professor Gudiño’s growth mindset is admirable because he clearly wants what is best for his students.

In a matter of a couple hours, Professor Gudiño created an interactive class site that could be used for his Film Story Structure unit. The site is engaging, visually appealing, and goes well beyond the sage on the stage, sit and get teaching style.

One of Professor Gudiño’s strength? Diversification. The site first hooks students with an edpuzzle to test their knowledge and weaves a number of activities throughout thereafter. Students not only complete Google Forms for discussion and exit tickets, but ultimately create an Adobe Spark video to bring their knowledge and understanding to a creative and personalized form.

Professor Gudiño’s worked throughout the institute with great care and empathy toward his students. His questions and insights clearly demonstrated that he wanted to be intentional about his teaching. He is not interested in using tech simply for the sake of tech, but instead wants to best serve his students throughout various mediums but with purpose. To compliment this mindset, he expects the same of his students. Professor Gudiño hopes his students will foster the same intentional attitude about their use of tech in their studies and future work in the cinema world.

Professor Roberto Gudiño is a model example of the growth mindset needed among educators today in this ever-changing world. His intentional and mindful attitude and professionalism along with artistic creativity makes him a role model for future film students. Great work and thank you again, Professor Gudiño!

Follow Professor Roberto Gudiño at http://www.robertogudino.com/ to see more of the exciting work he is bringing to students, fellow educators, and the cinema world.

Marker Mic Drop Moments

Marker Mic Drop #2: María José García Vizcaino (Montclair State University)

How would you describe these photos in detail?
Image source: http://www.pexels.com

Imagine it’s a Friday night and you are headed to the movies with friends or family. You settle in with your popcorn, endure too many previews, then the opening scene of the feature film finally begins. It’s quiet, no music. You hear a little rustling and perhaps some footsteps. There’s a loud banging – was that a door? – and then nothing. You can tell the screen is filled with dark tones because you do not sense any bright white flashes. You can feel the suspense as the silence ensues until finally, there is another disruption. Loud noises, the sound of two men struggling, and what sounds like pots and pans are falling all around them. Are they in a kitchen? Who are these two men? What do they look like?

As a person with no vision issues, I’ve taken for granted how much I could gather from the opening scene of a movie. I immediately know the environment, can make assumptions about the characters based on their physical stature, and can feel the intensity of the plot because I have the visual attached to this experience. What if you were deprived of this opportunity, though, every time you watched a video?

Jason Strother, freelance journalist and adjunct professor of journalism at Montclair State University in New Jersey, reported for Public Radio International (PRI) on audio accessibility services in the United States, namely Spanish audio description. While the services have improved over time, resources are limited but slowly on the rise for Spanish speakers. Audiobooks have become more prevalent but theatres are not required to provide audio description in any language.

It’s a translation not from one language into another, but from one medium to another.”

María José García Vizcaino, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latino Studies at Montclair University, created the Spanish Audio Description course, a first of its kind. Her students, many native Spanish speakers, first recognize and work through their dialectal differences in vocabulary in order for the language to be uniform in its translation. Professor García Vizcaino emphasizes that the class is not only working on traditional translation, but also transforming the experience by taking the language from one medium to another. The images that the visually impaired cannot see are “translated” into the oral form, thus allowing them to recreate the scene with their imaginations.

These students do not just sit in their classrooms and watch movies to translate. The class partners with New York’s Repertorio Español to enhance the live theatre experience. A student watches the production on a live black and white monitor from the costume room, providing description to the theatre patrons wearing the visually-impaired accommodated headsets.

“This was my first time in a theatre,” 58-year-old Saeed Golnabi said after the show.

I would like to commend Professor García Vizcaino for the amazing work she is doing with her classes. The marker mic drop for me is the amount of empathy displayed throughout her students’ work. The examples are endless. Let’s name a few:

  • Cultural differences: Students realized dialectal differences when coming from various Spanish-speaking countries. (For example, the word for “supermarket” can vary greatly per country.) Communication opens up in recognizing these nuances.
  • Looking closer at their own community: Students had to put themselves into the visually-impaired person’s world to understand what they lack in a theatre experience.
  • Service learning: Students not only increased their knowledge and developed empathy within the four walls of the classroom. More importantly, they took this knowledge and served the community. You can hear the joy in Saeed Golnabi’s voice, a 58-year-old man who was leaving his first live theatre experience. He had also only been to the movies a couple times in his life.

Teachers, how are your students applying their learning? We are easily swept up in covering the content by the end of the year, but what is our true goal? That we made it through Chapter 20 in the textbook? Or should it be that our students walk away with valuable lessons and touch the lives of those around them?

My previous school, Mullen High School in Denver, CO, taught me the difference between the standard community service graduation requirement and service learning. The Lasallian Catholic motto of “Enter to learn, leave to serve,” greets students and faculty every day upon entering the school.

This principle has greatly affected the way that I approach my lesson planning and what I want my students to know and feel when they walk out my door. I cannot say that my teaching has involved life-altering projects to benefit the community, but my mindset made a significant shift from my four walls to the bigger picture. The first step in approaching a marker mic drop moment like Professor García Vizcaino? Start the discussion. Look at your local community. Make comparisons. I think you will find that students crave a voice. Allow them this voice and I’m certain they will astound you with their compassion and perspective.

Thank you, Professor García Vizcaino, for bringing an example of how our teaching and student learning can affect the community.

For the full article, click here: Visually impaired non-English speakers face accessibility language barrier at the movies (Jason Strother, PRI)

Marker Mic Drop Moments

Marker Mic Drop #1 – Dairren Gibson

Image source: Dairren Gibson

Dairren Gibson, STEM Instructor and Digital Learning Facilitator at Mater Academy in Las Vegas, NV, attended mindSpark Learning’s San Diego Google Certification Institute in May 2019. Modeled after Google’s own Demo Slam, Dairren and his fellow participants highlighted the good work they are doing in their classrooms in two minutes or less. The array of talent and ingenuity was impressive. The prize clearly went to Mr. Gibson when he showed us his idea for a personalized digital vocabulary notebook and impressive stop animation videos.

The vocabulary notebook uses Google Slides and Hyperdocs, allowing students to personalize their notebook with a picture of themselves, and reinforce the definition of a word through a variety of ways (synonyms, antonyms, and my favorite, life examples). While this is arguably a fancy worksheet, this only scrapes the surface of tools Dairren uses to constantly expose his elementary-age students to technology. This tech tool will begin teaching young students how to better organize their papers. (Have we not all seen the notebook that looked like it was hit by a tornado?) Students will ultimately become comfortable with technology by the time they graduate from high school and therefore more prepared for a working world that will demand those skills.

Thank you, Dairren, for sharing the amazing work you do at your school. A big congratulations as well on becoming a Level 1 Google Certified Educator!