Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

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Low Effort High Impact - A Year 6 Class Publishes Story

Hi everyone. I am working on some big blog posts on:

1. A powerful new phone service I've discovered allowing teachers to record themselves over the phone, and then students ring, listen, and respond. All this can equally be accessed through a website. 
2. Our 3D island and all the weird, wonderful, unexpected, and exciting ways students and teachers have used this environment for learning.

But for now... just a quick word about web publishing. I know I've posted about it before - but this technique just keeps coming back to me and is becoming my basic 'bread and butter' application of technology in the classroom. 

The technique: create a website and feed student output into it for the world to see.

This is the simplest technique in the world. Go to wordpress.com & you'll establish a free website within about 2 to 3 minutes.

From there, publishing student work is a matter of 'copy and paste'. 

It's a low effort, high impact technique. Teachers don't have time for showy tech tricks that take time and effort. If they're going to use technology it will have to be hyper-efficient, requiring only a very small amount of time and effort, but yielding an excellent impact on student learning.

The impact on student learning comes from their awareness of having a global audience. They get a map on their website with red dots showing location of visitors, and they get a counter showing how many visitors have come to their website.

Case in point - Mr Tim Stanwell approached me after hearing about this idea, suggesting his Primary class publish a science fiction story they had written.

I visited their class this morning and showed them how to post material to their website: http://ringoftime.wordpress.com . This took about 20 minutes. 

Since then, just today, they published a prologue and two chapters of their story. I mentioned it on Twitter mid-morning.

By this evening the website has had 170 visitors, and 6 or 7 comments. The kids are amazed. The teacher is amazed. Frankly, I'm amazed. 

Imagine how this has affected these students' thinking about what they write. This isn't practise, it's for real. They have a readership. What they say matters. It reframes the way they perceive their studies. It matters now. They have something to say, a platform to say it on, and an audience to listen, NOW!

This technique adapts to any age group, any subject. It's super easy, takes very little training (15 to 30 minutes), no planning or programming (you just take what students were creating anyway, and publish it), and very little maintenance time (just copy and paste student work into the website and click 'publish').

So, you know, I'll be blogging soon on some pretty spectacular tools, but very high in my mind at the moment is still web publishing. It's low effort, high impact, and perfect for empowering and inspiring students.

Examples from my school:
Year 5/6 Sci Fi story http://ringoftime.wordpress.com
Year 11 French Novel 'The Little Prince' study guide  http://frenchonlinelittleprince.wordpress.com
Year 11 Wordsworth Poetry analysis and reflections - http://wordsworthreflections.wordpress.com