Week 3 with Liz Castillo!
Last year I had the honor of attending the Siemens STEM Institute at the Discovery Headquarters. There were a multitude of amazing and talented speakers that we had the privilege to learn from. One of my favorite speakers of the week was Dr. Lodge McCammon. If you haven’t heard of him, I highly recommend checking out the incredible work he has done in music and education (http://www.iamlodge.com/). The thing that stuck with me the most about his presentation was when he spoke about the power of publishing. He suggested that everything is better when published. I really began to think about how true this statement was for me personally and how it could apply to my students.
My first experience with publishing began when I was in the 4th grade. Our assignment was to write about one of the Hawaiian monarchs. The original assignment was meant to be shared in our class, however, our teacher decided to select a few of us to be entered into a writing contest where our essays would be published statewide. I was both excited and nervous about the opportunity and I specifically remember spending several weeks revising, editing, and re-reading my essay. In the end, I was proud of the work I had done and could truly say it was my best work that year. Knowing that my essay would be published and read by others made me work a lot harder toward producing something of highest quality.
As teachers we are constantly ‘publishing’ for our students, parents, colleagues, and administrators through assignments, blogs, portfolios, websites, and faculty presentations. Having an authentic audience gives us the opportunity to work on our communication skills and allows us to continually strive to showcase our best work. Designing my class website was the first time that I published online. I spent countless hours learning the technology and working on each detail of the website. I was especially motivated to do my best knowing that my work would extend to an audience beyond my four walls.
With access to 21st century tools, we can apply the power of publishing to motivate and engage our students. I believe that social networking provides the authentic audience that our students need to produce high quality work and to be self-motivated to learn. Over the years, I have seen the progression in the quality of my students’ work and the greater connection and understanding of content by publishing their work online. Before we had access to technology, my students shared their knowledge through classroom skits and poster board presentations. Although class presentations provide an audience for students, the real impact comes when we extend that audience to the community beyond our classroom and to the rest of the world. My students eventually started publishing selected projects and presentations on our class website and blog with the intention of sharing their work with administrators and parents.
Edmodo has really helped my students to share and publish almost all of their projects, reflections, questions, and resources. They have also been able to connect with other classrooms, share projects, and give and receive peer feedback on a regular basis. Students have been more conscious about the quality of what they produce and continually work on how they communicate with those that they are sharing with. It is exciting to see how students have responded to peer feedback and how it pushes them to continue to do better.
I truly believe in the power of publishing and how social networking tools like Edmodo allow our students to share their learning to an authentic audience. It is so exciting to be able to use technology as a vehicle for students to create, share, teach, and learn with one another. For those of you who haven’t experienced the power of publishing, Edmodo is a great place to start. The safe and secure environment can provide a way for students to share their ideas with fellow classmates and teachers both in your classroom and beyond.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the power of publishing and how you have seen it positively impact your student motivation, work quality, and communication skills.
Until next time…Aloha!