Want to start a conversation? Take a picture!

From the theasideblog.blogspot.com
We are in a time where learning is so visual.  Youtube videos, Photo Slideshows, Minecraft tutorials. These are just a few ways that we learn on our own time.  How can we capture what our students are doing each day? Is it important to capture what they learn each day? I remember when our school purchased cameras for each teacher to use. How many of those cameras were actually used? I would bet that almost 80% of those cameras remained in a teacher’s desk.  How was student learning captured and shared if the camera was stuck in a teacher’s desk? Probably not to far outside of the classroom walls. That was only 6 years ago and now almost every teacher has a camera with them on their phone, yet student learning is still staying within a schools physical walls. Sure some of those pictures might be sent home in a black and white picture, maybe color if the teacher has their own color printer. We can do so much better than a newsletter.
Think about the power of getting students to take pictures of their own learning. They decide what is important, they find true engagement when the pictures they take, the audio comments they make, the videos they shoot become the avenue of explaining their own learning. We talk all the time about teachers becoming facilitators so let’s start by helping students to show their own learning.
Student work that we wanted to keep. 1st grade student did all on their own.

Think about the power of getting students to take pictures of their own learning.

Give them a point and shoot camera, a tablet, or a computer and watch how student learning and work is documented through the learners eyes. How have you documented learning or how have students documented their learning? How has it been shared with others outside of your school, outside of your classroom?
Social media can bring the pictures of student learning to our community. We need to do this, no questions asked. For students to truly believe that their learning is meaningful that learning has to be shared. Think about the power that one image has to show a parent, a family member, or even the head of a corporation. That one image can now open doors to experiences that students need to be successful in the future. There are many ways to show student learning now. I challenge you to document at least one item a day of student learning and see how it can change student engagement. See how it can change the conversations that happen amongst fellow teachers. Most importantly see how it can change the community support for your school.
A great way to grow support for student learning is through Twitter.  Carl Hooker challenged teachers to be innovative in 2015 by starting their own class hashtag.  Share a picture using that hashtag, share an audio comment, youtube video, animoto slideshow, a vine, google folder, remind.com, instagram, even a periscope. That hashtag allows for parents to see student learning, starting a conversation at home about learning during the day. It’s disappointing when teachers aren’t sharing what is happening, not just since it stops a teacher from learning, but conversations are being lost with parents and community members.

Share a picture using that hashtag, share an audio comment, youtube video, animoto slideshow, a vine, google folder, remind.com, instagram, even a periscope.

I’ve had a great opportunity this year to capture student learning through twitter, remind.com, periscope, and google folders. I know teachers value student learning, but if we aren’t documenting that student learning then that reflects quite a bit on what is valued.
Some excellent ways to get started with sharing outside of your school:
  • remind.com. If you aren’t sure what it is then check out this article. You can set up a class and share it for people to receive through text, email, or through the remind app.
  • twitter hashtag. Try sharing a comment, a picture, student video using a class or school hashtag. I started using #gcslearn to show others what awesome things students are doing at our school.
  • google folder. You can set up a folder in google that is accessible to anyone with a link to view. Also you can set up the folder so multiple teachers can contribute pictures.
  • youtube channel. If you haven’t tried this yet, you really should. Make short clips of student learning to share outside of your walls. If you have a device that has a camera it becomes super simple to post videos. This is an excellent way to capture and share those excellent items students are doing.
  • vine videos. These are short 6 second clips. Some quite inspiring items can be found from students.
  • Voicethread. This site allows for photos to be commented on by multiple students and others outside of school to comment. A great site that is underutilized, incredibly powerful!
I encourage you to try one of these methods to share any work students do during the day. Show students that their work is meaningful. If you wouldn’t take a picture of it or students wouldn’t choose to share it, think about that assignment or activity. Was it worth the time if students don’t want to share it?
Student learning needs to be shared, across classrooms, schools, and community members. What are some ways you have shared student work? Please share an idea in the comments below.
Follow all the student work on twitter@atkauffman

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