Teach your students how to write a persuasive text - Digital Literacies

Here is this week digital literacy lesson on persuasive texts.  It is suitable for students from grade 3 up and would take around 90 minutes to complete.  You can download it here or simply use the slideshare below.

Digital literacies – persuasive writing

The 7 Elements of digital Storytelling every teacher and student should know

The university of Houston have put together what is possibly the most comprehensive collection of tools, resources and media to assist teachers and students in better understanding the Educational uses of digital Storytelling.

My school is a big believer in digital storytelling through podcasting, film, green-screening and digital portfolios.  And this is reflected in the level of enthusiasm the students have towards turning their ideas into a piece of rich media they can share with the world as opposed to simply writing it in a book.

I might get shot for saying it by many teachers around me but I really enjoy a good film or doco than reading a book as I am obviously a visual learner.  This may have always been the case for many others but the only difference is today it is possible to create a visual literacy on a shoe string budget that I can share with the world overnight.

Be sure to check it out here and I have also included a video below that highlights how important visual texts have been within our lives and how this should impact upon our teaching.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with visual texts.

Digital Literacies Lesson - Persuasive Text

Here is this week digital literacy lesson on persuasive texts.  It is suitable for students from grade 3 up and would take around 90 minutes to complete.  You can download it here or simply use the slideshare below.




Interactive Narratives - The Best kept secret on the Web

I found an absolute pearler today for those love interactive web sites based around learning current events.  Interactive Narratives is a brilliant tool for any teacher to add to their digital toolbox when they want to explain something in detail that offers the reader the opportunity to explore diagrams, videos, games and multimedia associated to the topic to create a collection of evidence on the topic.

Want see and test what actually went wrong with all of those thousands of Toyota's recalled internationally?  See how the Global Financial Crisis is affecting countries differently and take an interactive journey through the Space Race between Russia and the United States.

How can I use this in the Classroom?  Interactive Narratives has a collection of Interactive Specials such as "comparing the ancient Aztec Deities" and "Examining the evidence and aftermath of the murder of young Darisabel Baez." These are brilliant reading activities your students can work on independently to then take to next level as a written report, discussion piece, argumentative essay.  All the facts are presented here in a an unbiased manner leaving it to the audience to draw their own conclusions.  

There is heaps of scope to use Interactive Narratives.  I'd love to hear how you put it to good use.

5 reasons why you should be creating Digital Portfolios with your students

Digital Portfolios are by no means a revelation and can take many forms to serve many purposes.   However they are often perceived by teachers to be time consuming and create a new line of work on top of everything else they are already doing.  My experience with portfolios has been the total opposite of that  and find that they save me plenty of work and time in planning and assessment.

It is great to see the variation in content and delivery I see throughout schools., however, the number one reason I keep getting asked by teachers who have not yet adopted them as a teaching and learning tool is... why? 

I have put together a brief list of benefits from my own experiences Digital Portfolios offer to enhance what you are already doing in the classroom. that can hopefully share with others.

1:  As a reflective learning tool:  A portfolio is useless unless you are using it for student reflection.  Every piece of work should have some sort of annotation or commentary that answers these essential questions.

What did I do?  What did I learn?  How well do I think I performed on this task and Why?

By doing this you are asking your students to take far more ownership of their learning and gain an understanding of the complete learning process including self assessment.

Authentic Assessment Tool:  Photographs, reading samples,  videos and work samples provide a database of evidence of what has been learnt over period of time to show progress, effort and attitude through student reflections.  Portfolios will save you a massive amount of time when writing reports as everything that matters is stored in a central area for easy access.

3: Personalised Learning Tool:  Depending upon how you structure them Digital Portfolios allow for a great deal of student expression and creativity.  I recommend giving my students a specific space to express all of their personal thoughts hobbies, music etc. so that you also have dedicated learning sections that are not cluttered with irrelevant information. 

Stuednts can really emphasise areas of learning that are important to them by continually adding work to certian sections that has been done outside of school also.

 4:  I.C.T Skill Development Tool.  As an ICT coach I have never seen one piece of work encompass so many ICT skills.  If I look at my current portfolios just some of the skills involved are: Video Editing, Photostory, Scratch, Hyperlinking, Embedding Objects, Audio Narration and editing, Scratch, kahootz, Inspiration Blog creation and loads more, Google Earth, Google Sketchup, Garageband.  Teachers can learn these at a steady pace throughout the year and in turn learn from students as they expand upon what has been taught.

 5:  Time Capsule:  Digital Portfolios take time to create as they well should.  My students take 12 months to complete and I have seen some schools that carry their portfolios over a number of years.  Over time they create a brilliant personalised learning diary that can be shared with peers, teachers and parents as a time capsule of learning for that period of time. Ensure your portfolios contain plenty of images and media to support this.

I would love to see what you are doing with portfolios in you classroom and what benefits, failures or success you have had with them?