Awww, Breakout! with #BreakoutEDU

BreakoutEDU Creators James Sanders (@jamestsanders) and Mark Hammons (@mhammons) state that it’s time for something different in education.

I couldn’t agree more.

Throughout this school year, I have been facilitating BreakoutEDU sessions for teachers in my district in order to introduce them to the concept.  More recently, I’ve had the pleasure of helping teachers facilitate BreakoutEDU games for their own classes. Teachers and students alike find that BreakoutEDU is fun, challenging, and just plain awesome. The more BreakoutEDU sessions I lead, the more I hear from teachers that they and their students have become “obsessed” with playing and writing games. That’s what education should be— so engaging that it becomes an obsession.

How Does BreakoutEDU Work?

BreakoutEDU is similar to the concept of an escape room. Students are given clues and puzzles to solve in order to get codes to open locks that are either hidden around the room or locked to the BreakoutEDU box. Once a game is launched, the team works together to beat the clock, solve all the puzzles, and unlock all the locks. “Breaking Out” means that the team has solved the last puzzle, unlocked the last lock, and opened the box to find out what is inside. Puzzles all require students to think critically, communicate, collaborate, and be creative. In many games, the more divergent the thinking, the more likely it is that a puzzle will get solved.img_6165

Necessary materials can be purchased from the BreakoutEDU website or you can purchase locks and the boxes at your local hardware or department store. I purchased an official BreakoutEDU kit, but I have been visiting stores around town for the best prices on locks and other supplies I need to supplement the base kit.img_7142Joining the BreakoutEDU website gives you access to numerous games that have already been submitted and accepted to the store. There are games that are specifically written for adults, which are appropriate to play during staff development or at a conference in order to learn about BreakoutEDU. Most of the games on the website are for students. You must join the website in order to access full descriptions of the games because all games are password protected. You’ll be given the code once you join breakoutedu.com. There are many games that are still under review, and as a member of the community, you are able to play the game with your students and provide feedback about the game before it becomes part of the approved games list. You’ll also have access to a template that helps you organize your own ideas as you start to write your own games.

Breakout Snip

One of the best parts about BreakoutEDU is the Breakout community. Thousands of teachers are active on the BreakoutEDU Facebook page. Every day, community members post pictures of locks or puzzle boxes they’ve stumbled across, ideas for puzzles and clues, or URLs to websites that can be used to create puzzles. Teachers ask questions of the group about facilitation as well as share stories and best practices for facilitating games. James and Mark are both active in the Facebook group, which means that teachers who have been bitten by the bug have direct access to the creators of the product!

BreakoutEDU Homework is the latest addition to the BreakoutEDU community. Each week, a new “homework” question is posted on the website. Some require watching videos and looking for clues within the video to solve the problem presented in the video. Others are purely digital games that don’t require any physical locks. In a digital game, all of the combinations to the locks” are submitted using a Google Form with Data Validation enabled so that the answers must be correct in order to submit the form. If you haven’t already checked out BreakoutEDU Homework, I highly recommend it.

**Note: BreakoutEDU Homework ceased shortly after this post was published. Instead, BreakoutEDU Digital was launched. Digital games are those that require no hardware. Puzzles are all linked from a Google Site (usually) and the “locks” are submitted on a Google form that includes data validation on each question. Check them out!

Common Core Connection

Playing BreakoutEDU games naturally develop students’ abilities to use their contemporary skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (as in, being able to solve problems in different ways). The true Common Core connection comes when teachers create their own games that fit the standards their students are working toward achieving. Teachers can strategically create clues and puzzles that challenge students to use their knowledge of a subject or concept when developing games. Games can be cross-curricular by involving clues centered around the same content area but that require students to use different sets of skills.

What Do You Think?

What have been your experiences with BreakoutEDU? Have you tried the homework? What do you think?Please share them here!

Hyperlinks! In Google Docs and Slides! In the iPad Apps!

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 7.22.47 PMI have so much love for Google Apps for Education, and I am extremely excited about the update I recently discovered for the iPad apps (as I’m sure you could tell from the title of this blog post). As I was working on a Slides presentation, I tapped on an image and found that the update I’ve been hoping would happen, has! Now you can add hyperlinks to your Slides and Docs from within the iPad apps! Text, images, and shapes can all be turned into hyperlinks with one tap.

How Does It Work?

Tap on the image or shape you want to be hyperlinked, or highlight the text you want to be a link. A list of task options will appear. “Insert Link” will be one of the options.IMG_2240

IMG_2239Tap Insert Link and you’ll be able to either type in the URL or copy and paste a URL from a website.IMG_2243You are also able to add a link by tapping the image or highlighting the text you want to be the link and then tapping the plus sign at the top right of the actions menu. IMG_2245In addition to linking to an outside website, you’re also able to link to another slide in the presentation.IMG_2242You can’t tell just by looking that an image has a link (hyperlinked text will turn blue and become underlined). If you tap on any image, you’ll be able to tell whether the image has a hyperlink because the menu options will change from “Insert Link” to “Open Link” and “Edit Link.”IMG_2244

Classroom Applications

Now that students can add hyperlinks to their Docs in the iPad apps, students using only iPads have more options when collaborating on documents. One option is to “hide” links in documents by highlighting the text to be the link and tapping “insert link.” Another is to participate in a great creative writing activity: Choose Your Own Adventure slides (more on this later). Students can link to their own content or to others’ content, and so can you (if you choose to work on your iPad).

What Do You Think?

How might this addition to the iPad apps in Google Docs help your students to be creative and collaborate? Let us know in the comments!

 

A New Year, A New #oneword

crossroads-997123_1920A little under a year ago, I wrote about my #oneword for 2015: Focus. I spent the year working on keeping my focus on the big picture in both my personal and professional world. Did I get distracted? Absolutely. Did I keep returning to the #oneword image I created to help me out? You bet. Do I want to keep focus as my word for 2016? Yes.

I wanted to keep the word that I chose last year because focus is what I need. I don’t have any kind of medical diagnosis, but I certainly do get distracted more often than not. I tend to get lost in minutiae and then completely forget about my purpose for doing whatever it was I was doing in the first place. And it was as I was thinking about this not-so-awesome part of myself that I realized my new word for 2016.

Purposeful

Even with all the focus in the world, if I’m not purposeful about what I do, what’s the point? I thought about the word systematic as well, but I think that purposeful encompasses working in a systematic way. I have so many projects that I’m working on; I must make it a point to be purposeful with these projects. Otherwise, I will continue to let things slide by accident. I must be purposeful with the words I use and the questions I ask as I work to help shift teachers’ thinking. I must ask myself, “Why?” (and have an answer!) when I propose something new or suggest a change. I must be purposeful.

I am confident that this word, purposeful, will help me in my goal to promote meaningful change in my school district and in the field of education.

Help me in my endeavor to be more purposeful and tell me: How are you purposeful in your work? What’s your oneword for 2016?

The 12 Days of #tosachat: Day 4

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.44.54 PMI participate in several Twitter chats, but there’s one chat I try as hard as possible to make each week, and that’s #tosachat. Over winter break, #tosachat took a departure from the regular weekly chat and held a 12-day “slow chat.” A slow chat is different from a regular Twitter chat because participants respond to one question per day (or per week) instead of 6-8 questions in one hour.

The founders of #tosachat put out a call for guest moderators for the the 12 days of #tosachat. All we had to do was sign up for a day and come up with a question to ask. The obvious choice of days for me to moderate was Christmas day. I figured I’d take one for the team so all of my Christmas-celebrating friends could enjoy the day with family and friends. My question was nice and simple:Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 12.26.40 PM

I was surprised by how many of my #tosachat friends participated in the chat on Christmas day. I didn’t think I’d have anyone playing– I figured they’d all be busy and unplugged. Instead, I found out that many were spending the day with family and friends, and some had various celebrations that they’d be attending. A couple spent the day like I did– with a movie and Chinese food (Jewish tradition!) and Twitter (new tradition!). Some people got cool gifts and posted pictures. But most importantly, I realized that holidays don’t trump the need for the connected educator to stay in touch with those near and far. Many of us have #fomo (fear of missing out!) and that motivates us to continue to tweet and converse on Voxer, even over the holidays. But I think it goes deeper than that.

The addition of #tosachat into our lives has given us a tribe. A group of like-minded educators who understand one another because we are living very similar existences in which we are forging our professional paths as we go. Many of us are “lone wolves” in our school districts. Many of us are new to our positions, and some of us have been on assignment for multiple years. Regardless, we have created a learning community and have quickly become friends who can quote episodes of Friends. We can all count on our #tosachat Team Awesome colleagues whenever we want to learn something new, if we need advice, or when we want to celebrate. It’s not easy to unplug from a tribe such as this one.

If you are a Teacher on Special Assignment, please join #tosachat on Monday nights at 8pm PST if you have not already. You can join in the conversation even if you aren’t on assignment because everyone’s voice is valued by Team Awesome. Maybe #tosachat isn’t for you, but I urge you: Find your tribe. Find a group that works for you and jump in. Create and grow your PLN. You will not be sorry (and your students will thank you!).

Happy New Year!

Twitter Entry Points for Teachers

lhcsdchatI’m on a personal mission to get the teachers in my school district active on Twitter. Some teachers have taken the risk and jumped in with both feet, and others have needed a little more scaffolding. Below are three entry points I’ve used to help teachers feel more comfortable about using Twitter for professional growth and learning.

 

#eatandtweetedu

I travel to nine schools, and I like to eat lunch at the schools to build relationships with teachers and be available to talk about tech. I had the idea to try and get teachers on Twitter during lunch in a casual, non-threatening way, and not as a traditional PD presentation. Teachers and I sit at a table in the lounge and we are all on our devices. We learn all the basics of Twitter, such as following others, navigating the interface on whichever device is being used, and we learn about how to use hashtags. We tweet to #eatandtweetEDU, and I encourage you to try something similar and use the same hashtag. Let’s build a learning community through #eatandtweetEDU!

#20DayTwitterChallenge

This idea came from @tnalau with the City of St. Charles School District and it was brought to my attention by one of the administrators in the district. We thought it would be a great way to give teachers a daily focus for tweeting. I tied the challenge to earning a badge on our district badges website (lhcsdbadges.org), and it was great to see many teachers getting more involved on Twitter during the challenge. The challenge helped teachers participate actively on Twitter, and many have continued their learning beyond the challenge. We will be starting another challenge on January 11th. Join us! Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.57.17 AM

#lhcsdchat

This is a district-wide chat that I started last year to help teachers feel more comfortable with Twitter chats. The fast-paced chats can be intimidating, and some teachers have been hesitant to join the conversation because they aren’t sure what to do. Our smaller chat has definitely been an entry point, and teachers who have gotten the hang of it are participating in global chats now, too.

 

What Do You Think?

What entry points have you used to get teachers sharing and participating on Twitter? Please share in the comments!

Connect Your Classroom Using #MysteryHangouts

Hangouts_IconI am passionate about helping teachers connect their classrooms bring the world to their students. One way I’ve done this is through promoting Mystery Hangouts and Mystery Skype. The tool isn’t the point (although I do lean toward Mystery Hangouts and that will be the focus of this post)— the purpose is to help students with deductive reasoning, critical thinking, and questioning skills as well as to bring students from around the country and around the globe into your classroom. All you need is a web-connected device with a camera and a willingness to try something new!

How Does a Mystery Hangout Work?

Mystery Hangouts can be run in a number of ways, but the most basic form is like a big game of 20 Questions. Teachers find a partner class in a different state, and they meet up over Google Hangouts. Classes take turns asking and answering yes-or-no questions designed to help the class narrow down where the class is located, and the first class to find the other wins! Sometimes students need to find the state of the partner class, and other times the students will locate the city of the partner class. That all depends on how much time you have— it’s much more challenging and time-consuming to locate the city! However, if you are partnering with a class in your same state, you’d want to find the city.IMG_5099

Once you have a partner class, you and the teacher will probably email back and forth to determine how the connection will happen. One way to create the Hangout is through a calendar event in Google Calendar. It’s a great way to start it off because when you create a calendar event, a Hangouts link is automatically generated. Add the partner teacher to the event, save the event so an email will be generated, and the partner class can join the Hangout through that link by clicking on it in the email!Mystery_Hangout_Calendar

Another way to create the Hangout link is by creating an event in Google+ and inviting the partner teacher to the event. When the time comes to join the Hangout, you’ll find the link in your events in Google+.

Mystery_Hangouts_Event

A third way is to use Hangouts to call your partner class, but the first two ways are more convenient. It’s easy to miss a Hangouts call!

During most Mystery Hangouts, students have specific roles. One of the resources I have used for determining roles is a this blog post by Pernille Ripp. She and her students came up with the roles together. Other great resources for learning more about a Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype are:

If you’re not sure about what types of questions to ask, check out this blog post. It has some great starter questions that you can have in mind when you have your students come up with the questions they’d like to ask. One thing I like to do, especially with the younger students, is have a desk map in a protective sleeve for them to write on. As questions are asked and answered, students can eliminate states by crossing them off with whiteboard marker. When they are finished with the game, they can reuse the map for the next time.

Once each class has found one another, some classes like to share interesting facts about their state or city. Others will ask questions back and forth about what life is like in the other state. In some cases, the Mystery Hangout will be the beginning of a longer collaboration between two classes.IMG_5073

How Do I Find a Partner Class?

The Mystery Hangout Community on Google+, is a great source for finding partner classrooms. Just post a message to the community letting them know your grade level and availability, and more often than not you will get a response. You can also reach out to tech coaches or other connected educators– they probably know someone who knows someone. You can also find partner classrooms using Twitter or other social media. Be sure to use the #mysteryhangouts or #mysteryskype hashtags.

Common Core Connection

The nature of mystery location allows students to practice several of the 4 Cs as they communicate, collaborate, and think critically. They may also have to use their creativity if they come across an issue that requires “out-of-the-box” thinking. Every student is engaged in this type of activity— they are on task, they stick to their roles, and they are determined to be the first to find the other class. Students work together to maintain the forward movement of the game, and depending on the grade level, they collaborate on adjusting their questions if necessary. The more calls the students participate in, the better they get at thinking critically in order to ask the right questions to narrow the location down quickly. When students create presentations about their city or state and write reflections at the end of the call, they are also working on their grade level writing standards. Turn the reflective writing into blog posts and students are then working toward even more of the Common Core State Standards for writing.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried Mystery Hangouts or Mystery Skype? Please share your experiences and any resources you may have!

It’s Been a #CUERockstar August

Copy of CUE_RockStar_C_FINALV Square200Last year I took a risk and applied to be a faculty member at CUE Rockstar Manhattan Beach. I had never been to a CUE Rockstar Teacher Camp before, but the concept marries so many of the things I love: camp, technology, and workshop-type professional development. So I figured, why not apply? All the feedback I had ever heard was so positive; some teachers even call it “life changing.” It sounded like fun and it was something I wanted to be part of.

Hanging with my Fullerton Friends at TOSA Edition Photo Credit: Pablo Diaz

Hanging with my Fullerton Friends at TOSA Edition Photo Credit: Pablo Diaz

Later, I heard about CUE Rockstar Black Label edition, created exclusively for TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignment) being held at the StubHub Center in L.A., and I worked it out so I could attend. I can hardly put into words how powerful it was to be part of an event that allowed over 100 coaches and leaders to learn and grow together. We networked, we laughed (oh, did we laugh!), we ate, we played, and we learned. We made connections and collaborated to determine ways to invigorate our work. We brainstormed solutions to our own #tosaproblems and we created ways to make our lives a little more automated. Many of us met some of the educators we’ve admired on Twitter, and my classmates from the Leading Edge Certification for Professional Learning Leaders were able to meet one another live and in person!

Almost All of The Fantastic Faculty from Manhattan Beach Photo Credit: A Rockstar Teacher

Both of the CUE Rockstar events I attended– one as faculty and one as an attendee– were exhilarating, exhausting in a good way, engaging, fulfilling, and just plain awesome. I wish I could have attended every session that was available, because as much as I have to share, I have equally as much to learn. I continue to grow as an educator and as a presenter by providing professional development for others, but also by allowing myself to learn from colleagues and friends. So, the next time a Rockstar event rolls around, you should go. You won’t be sorry.

If you are interested in attending a CUE Rockstar event, be sure to check out the website! http://www.cuerockstar.org/

A Challenge: Let’s Stop Pretending and #makeschooldifferent

makeschooldifferentI was challenged by Jessica Vannasdall (@mrsvannasdall) to write a post on what educators need to stop pretending in order to #makeschooldifferent. Here are my five:

Let’s stop pretending that homework in its current typical form is important or necessary. When done right, homework can be a good thing. But it usually isn’t done right and it’s either busy work or too frustrating to help kids improve. Rethink homework.

Let’s stop pretending that we don’t have time to change our practice. There will never be a good time to make a change, but it has to happen. We can not continue to teach today the same way we did a few years ago. It’s a different world. Change it up.

Let’s stop pretending that our students are “Digital Natives” and we are anything but. I wish this term could be stricken from the record. It creates an excuse that doesn’t need to exist and it needs to go away. We are all capable of learning to use technology in order to redefine what happens in our classrooms. Take the risk.

Let’s stop pretending that our students will take risks if we don’t. We have to be the role models for our students and for our colleagues. Risk taking is growth, and if we want our students to grow, we have to show them that we are growing, too. It’s ok to be scared. But jump in anyway.

Let’s stop pretending that we can do this alone. We can’t teach on isolated islands anymore. There are hundreds of thousands of teachers “out there” who are looking to collaborate, share ideas, and who want to make the world a smaller place. Our students want to collaborate, too. Make time to get connected. Reach out. You won’t be sorry.

I’m a little late to the challenge, so if you have already been challenged I apologize in advance. I challenge my friends Pablo Diaz @teachusingtech, Holly Steele @hollybsteele, Ann Kozma @annkozma723, Catherine Cabiness @ms_cabiness, and Sabba Quidwai @askMsQ. How would you like to #makeschooldifferent?

Curate the Web with Flipboard

FlipboardThe more students use mobile devices in the classroom to find information, the more important it becomes for students to curate resources they find on the Internet. There are many apps and tools that allow students to curate, including Pinterest and Evernote. Flipboard is another tool for students to use, where they create magazines around specific content that they determine.

How Does Flipboard Work?

Flipboard is a Web tool as well an iPad app that allows the user to create a digital magazine. Teachers and students create accounts in Flipboard, which allows them to follow users, follow magazines, and most importantly, create magazines of their own. Each time a student flips an article into a Flipboard magazine, he or she can make comments on the article. This provides other viewers with some context—why the article is being flipped or what the article means to the student. This can help teachers follow the students’ thought processes as they browse student magazines.

Getting Started

Download the app or visit Flipboard on the Web. The process is a little different on the Web, however, and the following images and directions will be for the iPad app. Choose “Get Started” to create your account. Flipboard_Get_StartedYou’ll be required to choose at least 5 topics to follow, and then choose Next to create the account.Flipboard_Choose_TopicsYou’ll be able to use Facebook, Twitter, or an email account to log in. Students should definitely use their school-administered email account to sign up if they have one, or you can have create students’ accounts by using the gmail +user trick.

Once you have created your account, tap the red ribbon in the upper right-hand corner for the menu.Flipboard_menu You can create new magazines to curate, or you can find other magazines to follow by using the “discover more” option on the left. You can also find the magazines, people, and topics you are following as well as see notifications for activity on your magazines.  Flipboard_Menu_ItemsAfter you’ve followed some magazines, you’ll be able to flip through them and read them as if they were actually magazines. Just start swiping left or right and your magazine will respond.To read an article, tap on the title of the article. The plus sign allows you to add the article to one of your own magazines.Flipboard_remixAs students are on the Web doing research, they can flip articles directly into their magazines. When they are on the website they want to save, they choose the share button (in Safari). Tap the Flipboard icon.Flipboard_Web_FlipperStudents can then type in a comment or discussion point, and choose the magazine where they wish for the article to go. Tap the word magazine to change the magazine if necessary.Flipboard_Web_Flipper_2Flipboard also allows magazine owners to add collaborators, meaning multiple students can curate resources into the same magazine. This is a great idea for gathering resources for a group project. Three of my colleagues and I worked with some fifth grade students to do just this. If you want to invite others to contribute to a magazine you own, tap on the magazine and choose “Invite People to Contribute.” Flipboard will send an email to those you want to contribute, and they will be added once the accept the invitation. Flipboard_email_invitationIf you want others to see your magazine but not follow it, tap the share button at the bottom of the magazine and choose Share via Email.” This is also how you can delete a magazine.Flipboard_Share_via_email

Common Core Connection and Classroom Ideas

Have students search for articles on a specific topic for a project. As they flip the articles into a magazine they’ve created on a topic, make sure they write a comment that cites evidence in the article. The comment can be a conclusion or an opinion or argument, as long as they cite the source in their comment. This addresses Reading Anchor Standard 1.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

To address Reading Anchor Standard 2, students can do the same type of assignment and comment by discussing a theme or by providing a summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

As students become more versed in using Flipboard and curating their resources into the appropriate places, almost every Reading Anchor Standard can be addressed. Students need to add their comments as they flip resources into their magazines, and those are the pieces that the teacher can use when analyzing student work.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Flipboard with your students? Share some magazines in the comments. Looking for a great magazine to follow? Check out this one on Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology by Dr. Abbie Brown and Dr. Tim Green.

 

Get Students Using Evernote in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 8.09.21 PMI am a list-maker. I’m also a note taker; I need to write things down to remember them. As much as I love to write things down, though, I often forget to bring my list with me or I don’t have my notebook handy, and then I’m really lost. But I always have my smart phone with me (or some other device), so I use Evernote to keep my lists and to take my notes. Evernote is great as a personal production tool, but it also has many great uses for the classroom.

Evernote in the Classroom?

There are so many great ways to use Evernote on a personal level. I use it to curate the web, collaborate with my husband on home projects, keep lists (of course!) and more. After I got hooked on it personally, I wanted to figure out if there was a way it could be used in the classroom to promote the Common Core Standards. Here’s a short list of the benefits of Evernote:

  • Teachers and students collaborate and share resources easily
  • Create notebooks for each class, and create a new note for the class each day with the agenda, images of notes, and/or audio comments
  • Each note has a shareable URL, so teachers can post their notes for the day to social media and allow parents to access
  • Email notes to parents if they don’t use social media
  • Record audio comments as feedback directly in a student note
  • Tag notes with labels for easy searching
  • Prevents backaches: Instead of having to lug giant notebooks around for grading, the shared notebooks are in the Cloud!
  • Having the premium version means that you can view “note history” if you create the note
  • Having the premium version also means you can share entire notebooks instead of just single notes
  • Students can collaborate together (but not in real time)
  • Present notes to the class in presentation mode
  • The Web Clipper and iPad work-around (bookmark feature) means that students using iPads can save websites into Evernote
  • Chat with group members who are online in the app
  • Change the email associated with the account so that when students leave the district, they maintain ownership of all of their notes.
There are plenty more that I could add to the list, of course. These are just a few ways that students and teachers can use Evernote in the classroom.

How Does Evernote Work?

Evernote uses notebooks and notes. Notebooks are like spirals– you might have one for each class you are taking. Notes are more like the pages in each spiral. Each day, you might start on a new page in a spiral and take your notes there. That could work with Evernote, but students could also have one note for each week, or they could have one note for each unit of study just to cut down on how many notes are in each notebook if they wanted to.
Evernote_1
To quickly start a new note in the app, tap on one of the buttons shown below. Starting this a specific type of note doesn’t mean that you can only have those things in the note. Notes are dynamic, so if you start a text note, you can always add images later, or vice-versa. Once you have a note open, you will also be able to add voice recording clips to a note.
Evernote_4The latest update of Evernote introduced Work Chat, where you can chat with your collaborators. This is a good feature if you have multiple partners working on a project and you want to talk about changes you are making to a note, but you don’t want everyone to be making changes at the same time.
Evernote_3
If you are working on the desktop or on the Web version of Evernote, you will have the option to stack your notebooks. This is like putting all of your spiral notebooks into a binder.
Evernote_2

 Collaboration Project

Some of my colleagues and I put together an Evernote Collaboration Project that we presented at the Annual CUE Conference in 2013. We grouped the students into quartets: two students from a fifth grade classroom in one district partnered with two students from an eighth grade classroom in a different district. The teachers decided that their collaboration project would focus on Science and Language Arts standards, and students collected information and resources about disastrous weather. In an effort to circumvent asking for funding from the principals, I created a shared account and all the teachers and students had access to the same account. I created notebooks for each group and each group took written notes and audio notes in their respective notebooks. There were incidences of students putting notes in the incorrect places, but we didn’t experience any issues with students doing anything unsavory to anyone else’s notes. They were extremely respectful and they “kept their digital hands to their digital selves.”

Common Core Connection

The collaboration project proved that Evernote can be a valuable resource not just for personal use but also for classroom use. Students were able to communicate and collaborate using the app because all of the students had access regardless of the device they were using. Common Core standards call for students to collaborate and to use the appropriate tool for the appropriate job. While this is a predominantly a personal productivity tool, using Evernote in the classroom can be beneficial for teachers and students as they work to build their technology skills.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Evernote in your classroom? Please share in the comments!