Every year, Ms Butler and I work on an author study unit with our students. The students have to choose and author, read two books by the author and read biographical information about the author. The ultimate goal of the unit is that they write a research paper about their author. But through the years, Ms. Butler and I have used this unit as a way to build up the students toolbox of web 2.0 tools and introduce a large number of different technologies to the students. Every year we change the pyramid of choices to make sure that we are including the latest technology. This year saw the addition of Layar, Soundcloud, Pinterest, and Thinglink. We also made it that one of the squares of the pyramid was a "choose your own" so that the students could choose a technology or project that they wanted to do. The students really liked this option because it gave them a chance to shine. Here is a link to the entire author study folder which includes directions to all the components that we give to the students via Edmodo.
This year, I also made a symbaloo which links to all of the websites that we were sharing with the students. This made things so much easier because the students no longer had to search around for websites they just had to look in one spot.
One of the biggest changes this year was the we added an augmented reality component to the pyramid by having the student use Layar. In the past, I had one group use Aurasma.(You can see the posts here) which did some of the same things as Layar but was just much more complicated and harder for the students to use. Layar has a much easier to use interface and does a nice job allowing people to put multiple interactive elements like websites, videos, and sound onto one imagine or "page' as they call it.
There are only two downsides to Layar, one is that in order to publish the elements you must either pay money or accepts advertisements. I had my students do ones with advertisements. It does not really take much away from the experience and is free.The other downside is that they only stay active for 60 days. I am in the process of emailing the founder of the company to see if there is a way to work something out with schools so that we can have a way to keep stuff up longer. I really think they have the best Augmented Reality creator out there and has some great uses in education.
Below are some examples of the students work. I am very impressed with the amount of time and effort they have placed in this project!
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.