Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Modeling

I am no longer providing any direct instruction to elementary or middle school students;  I miss those opportunities to remind them how they can easily how to use new computer applications just by remembering how they used the same skill in another application.  A speaker at a conference listed skills she expects studentes to learn, use, and apply as they combine their skill sets using PowerPoint and Kidspiration to complete a multimedia projects. There are several  transferrable skills in the speaker’s list:

  • text box
  • font size, style and colors
  • background colors
  • group and frame an object
  • order and layer objects
  • make a picture or object transparent!

Thanks for the inspiration!  If we teach students–and teachers who teach students–to us and apply transferrable skills they will acquire those skills that will take them a long ways as new applications come along.  Little steps can take us far.

Today I learned how to use SlideShare, one of those web 2.0 tools I had considered but never used until a teacher required about alternative ways to display student work on our school web site. Bingo! Our content mangement system provided simple directions for embedding SlideShare code; Umm. . . that looked just like adding the Picture Trail Photo Flick code we embed already, and there are tags, too. Now I just had to try SlideShare. A few minutes later I had a PowerPoint show available for public viewing on our web site.
Why the quick success? 1. I had an immediate need to learn. 2. I have transferable skills.

Do you remember the first time you learned how to copy/paste? I do and I was terrified I’d mess up.   Highlighting, using key combinations and watching text disappear to only reappear seemed so challenging in the Apple IIe, floppy disk days. Fortunately I had a kind, patient person helping me.  Of course that’s a long time ago. Now every new web 2.0 tool or technology application we learn to use comes easier if we think about what we already know and how we can apply it in a new situation.

Minutes after my initial experience with SlideShare I saw a 4th grade student creating a “Memories of 4th grade” PowerPoint presentation.  He  downloaded photos from our web site photo gallery and made a slide show without adult direction because he has transferable skills.  Next week we’ll move his “Memories” to Slide Share and embed the code on our web site.

By the way; this year’s 4th grade students caught on to the flying penguins gimick quickly and moved on to their research and PowerPoint slide shows even quicker and with greater success than the class a year ago.  They do better every year because they have transferable skills.

Transferable  skills belong in every student’s “learning hw to learn” toolkit. As media specialists we should keep building our transferable skills toolkkit and so we can help students and teachers build theirs.

Now this is practical — and doable, even though I had to set up another account. At least it’s an account at a site I visit often! I am inspired to use Google Docs for planning our summer tech academy in the district. A great opportunity to model!


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