The Hack was back on the weekend and it delivered exciting updates and inspiring stories. The theme was sparking creativity and curiosity, with some great ideas from Alan November and MIE Experts from around the world. Read on to see what my highlights were.
Anthony Salcito, got the party started by introducing Microsoft Translator, which includes an add in for PowerPoint that enables, live captioning, cross language understanding and multi-lingual casual conversation support. This type of assistive technology is powerful in diverse classrooms, language learning classrooms and even in school administration.
You can download the add in for PowerPoint here. Visit the official Microsoft Translator page to learn more.
The best teacher is .... a student!
The super inspiring Alan November, shared student created tutorial videos (from www.mathtrain.tv) and suggested that students can make the best teachers. He cited research by Harvard university explaining that teachers can have the "curse of knowledge" meaning they have too much content knowledge to connect with a first time learner on a subject. It is suggested than another first time learner, having just experienced a subject themselves, can make the best teacher at the introductory level.
A global audience motivates our students
Purpose is a great motivator. They joy of creating content to teach a peer can often more inspiring than working for a grade. Alan suggested that connecting with a global audience can make students feel that their wok is valued and making a difference. Using ClusterMaps, Alan was able to show students the people who were accessing their content from around the world. Suddenly the children were scrambling to create more content to "help others around the world".
Solve vs Involve
Twitter was also highlighted as a powerful tool to connect classrooms and teachers around the world. A final example shared by Alan November was a tweet posted by a maths teacher (Jessica Caviness) where she asks her students to design their own problem, prompted by a picture and the requirement to "involve" volume. The outcomes were wide and varied. It represented a breakthrough in creative thinking in a Mathematics classroom, with student questions pushing their peers to work beyond the standard.
Tammy Dunbar is the teacher we all want to be
If I could go back to school, I would want Tammy Dunbar as my teacher! She was such an animated and passionate professional. Tammy shared her top five ways to spark creativity and cultivate curiosity in her 5th grade classroom:
Lego Mindstorms Education Ev3 Integration
Lego Mindstorms now integrates into Windows 10 with a new EV3 app. Connecting via bluetooth makes the experience even better. You can download the app here.
A new courses for Lego EV3 is also now available via the Microsoft Educator Community here. Upon completion, you receive badges and points on your Educator Profile.
Remix in the Classroom: Digital Inking on Microsoft Photos
Copy, transform and combine. These are the elements of creativity. Taking existing media, transforming it and combining it with new materials for a new purpose underpin the process explored at Renton Prep. The students are using the new video features in the Photo App to creatively share their learning, combining digital ink on top of photos and videos. This has potential across subject areas and could be used in a variety of ways. I cannot wait to have a go!
You can download the Microsoft Photos app here.
For those would like to watch the recording of the Hack the Classroom event themselves, you can check it out here. Be sure to watch until the very end to see Toney Jackson perform his 10 commandments - wow!
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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