It Started with a Teacher
Posted by Dr. Brad Gustafson
Recently, I was walking down a hallway in our school and stumbled upon an amazing turn of events…and it all started with a teacher.
As I was traversing the hallways I noticed two students collaborating on a podcast using their iPads. I stopped to chat and learned that their project was part of a classroom presentation for Genius Hour. Their teacher, Ms. Elle Zeman, empowered them to explore their passions, and on this day their passion was exploring an algorithm to solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than one minute!
I walked away from our hallway conversation impressed with our students, and even more impressed that our staff consistently put kids in positions to research, create, and communicate new information using cutting edge tools. It just so happens that this particular teacher also tweeted out a picture of her students’ Genius Hour presentation that same morning. The tweet was shared to our school hashtag #GWgreats and retweeted.
What happened next was pretty incredible. John Fritzky, an educator in New Jersey, contacted our school and asked if our students could teach students from his school how to solve a Rubik’s Cube using the same algorithm. After working out the logistics and scheduling a Google Hangout (GHO video conference) our elementary students were presenting to students at Byram Intermediate School in New Jersey.
Many of our students marveled at the notion that somebody else truly valued their work and learning. Even students who were not presenting shared in the excitement.
If you are an educator that is not using Social Media yet, I encourage you to reflect upon the opportunities that abound in this digitally connected age. Never underestimate the power of an authentic audience. Our students are counting on us to provide them authentic opportunities to practice 21st century skills in a safe environment accompanied by scaffolding from discerning adults.
This is a story about a teacher that amplified her students’ voices. She shared their learning on Twitter, and the resulting connections contributed to an experience her class won’t soon forget. Check-out the one minute video clip below to see our students in action.
About Dr. Brad GustafsonI am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad
Posted on February 10, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged 21st century skills, Amplify Student Voice, Brad Gustafson, EdTech, Elle Zeman, Genius Hour, Greenwood Elementary, GWgreats, John Fritzky, podcasting, Social Media, Technology, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.