Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Using Learn 360 for Social Studies

Ann-Marie Harris is this blog's Guest Blogger.  She was a reluctant "tech" learning but now, she'll try anything within reason.  Ann is not afraid of asking for help or asking for training.  When she doesn't know something she has no problem asking  for a session of learning.  She and Stevens worked with R. Hayward, our school librarian, on incorporating Learn 360 due to the damage to the old VCR movies, finding the videos they found useful, seeing new ones, and downloading what they need.  What Ann did not say in her writeup of what work and what didn't was the fact that she also asked for a document reader and learned how to use that as well.  Once, when something went wrong with the technology, she put it aside the technology, said we'll do something else, and then emailed me and asked to meet so we could discover what it was.  I didn't get the message for a while and Ann troubleshooted the problem herself, came up with the solution and voila, used the same technology again in the next block. 

One of the biggest problems with most teachers is that if technology fails the first time, they give up completely with it.  Not my Harris, when it failed, she waited patiently and then tried again.  That's the sign of a teacher determine to learn something.  But her final comment is very relevant.  Here is her review of what she looked at this year:

1.  What worked?   Using Learn 360 to show clips of Gothic Cathedrals.  Worked because it was EXACTLY what I needed.  There was a complete film but it was too long and most of it may have been above the gr.8 level.  The clips gave the students a good visual of the Cathedrals as well as information about their construction.  In searching Learn 360 for this information I also found relevant clips on medieval castles which I will use another time.  I can also use these clips for Comp Civ 12.  Another thing I have learned this year is more about organizing and storing photos that I have taken on visits to historic sites relevant to the courses I teach and how to store them on a hard drive.  Finally, I have learned more about I-tunes---how to find and organize music from various historic periods relevant to the courses and how to have the music accompany showing the photos.

2.  What hasn't worked?  The first time I used the Cathedral clips I showed them to one class and left it set up for the next class but when I tried to show the clips it didn't work.  I found out later it was because the computer had gone to sleep in the interim and I had to shut it down and start over.  How would I have known that?  Lost about 20 minutes of class time.  Very frustrating.  Also need to learn more about organizing and storing videos and clips from Learn 360 for future use.  Still haven't had time to learn more about "Discovery Education".

This was the frustration of most of the teachers on the staff.  What they loved was getting time after a Professional Development day to continue the learning.  What they disliked was not having enough time with everything else their job entailed.  My frustration exactly!

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