Thursday, 7 March 2013

Learning to Share with ShowMe

Our Grade 3 science class is learning about forces. With the arrival of our iPads they are more excited than ever to share what they know (and suddenly realize what they don't know). I introduced them to the app called ShowMe (follow @showmeapp) or visit online.

ShowMe is one among a host of interactive whiteboard apps that I'm really excited to explore. I have heard Explain Everything is the leader in this field and when we are able to download it our Grade 3s will compare and report back! But for now, they love ShowMe. ShowMe records whatever is drawn on the screen, provides a variety of colours, and allows images to be imported and annotated in real or paused time. It allows voice recording at the same time as drawing and can pause voice recording to update drawing pages as needed. It is extremely simple to use and easy to share creations. The students' imaginations were sparked about how many things they could create to share with and teach others using a ShowMe.

As a demo, I created a sample ShowMe with them about a force we'd already talked about.

We started this before our school's iPads arrived with only the single iPad we'd received for the exceptional work by our EcoTeam (Go, Panthers!). I let two pairs of students have a turn creating a ShowMe about a mini-experiment we had just completed for either magnetic force or static electric force. Next class, we viewed their ShowMe's and talked about what made them effective and what we should avoid next time. We created an anchor chart to help us.

Then our iPads arrived so the students were very excited not to have to wait several classes before their turn.  After we had reviewed and discussed our very important iPad Norms they went to work. We created and viewed a few more in that week and decided we needed to back up one step and make sure we had really thought about what we wanted to show the world. 

Here's what I've learned so far from using this app with our students:
  • Letting the ShowMe be a finished product motivates students to talk and write about their learning in order to plan what they will record. Create a plan first!
  • Creating a template for their planning allows all students to include good communication basics in their presentations. 
  • Viewing "examples in progress" is much more effective at transferring an understanding of what works in a ShowMe than trying to explain it any other way.
  • Students love that their creations are immediately uploaded to our class twitter feed!
  • The online site has an option for student accounts to be created within a teacher account but so far I haven't discovered how to actually access those accounts so the kids can put their personal ShowMe's in a separate spot than my main folder...? If you know how to do this on the iPad I'd love t hear from you!

In addition to finding out about the above question, I plan to discover what "creating a stack" means and also show the students how to embed their creations on their own blogs. We want more traffic! ;)

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