Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century: Welcome Home – A Guide to the Digital Nation
20, 2009

Chase Collegiate School

Sessions A - H

A. Going Global with Virtual Worlds (Beth Ritter-Guth, The Hotchkiss School) - GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
The Hotchkiss School is embarking on a historic mission. We are using virtual worlds to help students collaborate globally. Using the teen grid of Second Life, students are working in partnership with students around the world. This demonstration allows participants to see the kinds of learning communities that can be fostered in virtual worlds, and will provide opportunities for interested members to join the collaboration!

B. Leveraging New Media in the Classroom: iPod as an Educational Tool (Sue Heintz, Cheshire Academy) - GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
On January 7th of this year I presented “Leveraging New Media in the Classroom: iPod as an Educational Tool, at the 2009 Macworld Exposition in San Francisco California. The sponsors of Macworld created a User Conference that offered several tracks, one being an Educators Tract that brought together a wide range of educators to speak and share how they use current technology as an enhancement to their curriculum. My focus was on YouTube which offers thousands of high quality instructional videos perfect for courses in just about any subject. I utilized the program written by my students last year called tooble. This is an exciting free utility created by my students that converts YouTube video into a format that can be saved in iTunes and hen downloaded onto an iPod. The software was altered to allow me to browse, locate, and download relevant educational YouTube videos, then create play lists which I could assign to my students for each lesson. We have further enhance the program so that it now allows educators to share play lists. I conducted an experiment in which I handed out video iPods to each student in one section of my 21st Century Computer class to assure that everyone had equal access to the relevant material. I would then assign videos that covered course content. The video students had the option of reading the text, listening to class lecture and then watching the videos. The other class had only the text and lecture. “I really like that I can carry around the iPods and watch the videos anywhere,” says Cheshire student Wendy Miles. “I was amazed at the high score I achieved on the exam and the A- I received in the class, because I was never very good with computers before then.” The result? They remembered the videos — many of which were very entertaining — much more clearly than they remembered the information in the text. They had fun using the ipod as an educational tool. And the convenience and productivity for those students who have a long bus ride to and from school each day was an added bonus. I really think schools should consider providing video iPods for their students use especially to those students who have trouble learning and studying in the conventional manner. Learning is no longer happening in the confines of a classroom. Learning can now happen whenever a student needs it, wants it or has time to access it.

C. Student-Driven Change; Digital Communication, Community Partnerships & Environmental Stewardship (Jill Harrington / Carol Clark-Flannagan, The Ethel Walker School) GRADES 9-PG / HISTORY & SCIENCE
A history and science teacher co-teach a cross-disciplinary environmental studies course that explores the ways in which we understand our relationship with the natural world. The first semester is a traditional science course designed to impart the background knowledge necessary for students to have informed discussions about environmental issues. The second semester is a seminar-style course taught primarily by a history and science teacher with guest lectures from the art and ethics departments. Student projects work to create sustainable change on campus by designing a business plan with a SWOT analysis, researching their topic, including contacting experts in the field, and presenting their project to the Senior Administration and Board of Trustees. These projects have created long-term change on campus. This course consciously creates opportunities for our students to move beyond the boundaries of our school to collaborate with the Town of Simsbury and non-profit organizations on sustainability projects. Currently our students are working on designing and producing a public service announcement for the Farmington River Watershed Association to air on their website and on Simsbury Community Television. This innovative course has put our students at the forefront of green initiatives both at Walker's and in the local community.

D. Skype, the Wider World and Documentary Film Making (Jason Cummings, Greens Farms Academy) GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
During the spring of 2009 my Spanish 4 Honors students made documentary films about the current debate surrounding immigration and the Latino community in the U.S. In small groups they have identified subtopics that were of particular interest to them. Each student then identified five experts whose opinions would be valuable. In a show of tremendous student initiative, they contacted a wide variety of journalists and academics ranging from Stanford professors to the editor of a New Haven-based Spanish-language newspaper. The students (not the teacher) scheduled Skype interviews and class visits in order to assemble a wide variety of opinions and approaches to the problem at hand. Recordings of these interviews were added to original, student-written narration in order to form the soundtrack for the videos. For visuals, students compiled Creative Commons licensed images with live footage, editing and producing with iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. In short, using Skype to create and record interviews with outside experts is an invaluable connection that pushes the students' exploration miles beyond the "teacher-as-content-provider" paradigm. Students were further empowered having been given the responsibility of arranging the logistics of the interviews. This project requires students to tap the knowledge of the greater community, think critically about what they read and hear, and finally to express themselves creatively (though rigorously) using 21st-century media. My presentation would consist of a detailed explanation, not only of the technical aspects of this project (Skype, Pamela, Audacity, and Movie Maker), but also the way in which I have broken the project into stages. A project of this scope requires an intricate set of guidelines and rubrics from which the students work. Also, my project was specifically designed for an advanced language class. The presentation should included some time to discuss the possible ways in which the guidelines and rubrics might be adapted in order to focus more on skills that would be specific to other disciplines.

E. Authentic Writing (Mark Bisson, St. Luke's School) - GRADES 9-PG / ENGLISH
Some new phrases have entered the lexicon of how we talk about the writing process. Two of the most familiar are “my blog” and “my post.” Ten years ago most of us would have been scratching our heads to hear these phrases. Now they are on the lips of my students every day. What is very much the same, however, is that it is still all about thinking and writing. The big difference the technology has made collaborative thinking easier. “Jamming,” as I like to say, is an assessable quantity; projectors make it possible to read through a “thread” of writing in class; the public nature of the process almost guarantees that students will do their best work; the classroom becomes a workshop. More writing is possible; the process is authentic and virtually paperless. I have been having a great year and am eager to share what I have learned.

F (10:40, 11:30). A Stampede of Animal Projects (Judy Soto / Jen Krayewski, Greenwich Country Day School) - GRADES K-5 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
A lower school animal research project becomes the springboard for a stampede of fun and exciting multimedia projects. The projects include a written research report, a diorama of the animal and the habitat, notecards, trading cards, and a claymation movie using the habitat. The whole lower school and parents were invited to the classroom and online zoo! This project can easily be adapted to a variety of subject areas from social studies, science, reading, etc. *This presentation can easily be presented to a 1/2 day presentation, allowing us to teach the programs and review the planning and the process of these projects.

F. (11:55(N), 1:40(F). Virtual Visits with VoiceThread (Judy Soto / Jen Krayewski, Greenwich Country Day School) - GRADES K-5
Using the online application VoiceThread, our lower school students (K-3) visited schools near and far - from New York City to California. Projects included sharing their favorite town landmarks, learning about their schools and practicing their emerging foreign language skills. *Our projects can easily be presented to a 1/2 day presentation, allowing us to teach the programs and review the planning and the process of these projects.
G. Place Based Leadership Projects (David Rockwell, Suffield Academy - GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
As part of Suffield Academy's Junior Leadership curriculum, students are involved in a series of place-based learning experiences. During the spring term, each of the eight classes rotates through eight different projects. The Head of School leads a history tour of the school to familiarize students with the origins and growth of the school. Members of the Science Department conduct walking tours of natural areas on the campus to observe vernal pools, seasonal change and flora and fauna. Several members of the Physical Plant staff guided students through the construction of a wildlife observation platform in a wetlands area and the building of several picnic tables. The tables were placed in the habitat restoration area. The restoration project included removing invasive plant species and planting willow trees. A campus "tree tour" was given by the school arborist. Two different groups worked to reclaim and relocate an old nature trail system.This involved building a bridge, installing water bars to direct run off, clearing brush and marking the trails. Several English classes are utilizing the trail system in conjunction with their nature writing exercises. The primary focus of these projects is linked to principles of giving back to the community. We also feel that the projects help the students develop a greater sense of place.
H. Teaching Art and the Creative Process through Problem Solving and Resourcefulness (Mark Macrides, New Canaan Country School) - ALL GRADE LEVELS
The presentation will focus on my Kindergarten Art program in which we use only recycled materials kept on open shelves in a studio type environment. Projects are geared toward creating problems to solve or challenges to overcome. For example creating a stool or chair out of recycled cardboard that can support a 170 lb person or using recycled and found materials to create a vehicle for getting an egg to roll from the top of a table to the floor without breaking. Encouragement and strategies will be given for using this approach with any grade level. Emphasis will be on using the art studio to teach skills such as problem solving, resourcefulness and sustainability. Presentation will feature slides and videos of children working in the studio as well as exposure to materials and examples of the creative process behind the work.