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Ames High band: Modeling innovation, risk-taking, and feedback

I’m pretty impressed with the Ames High School band directors. Not only are Chris Ewan and Andrew Buttermore facilitating a great band program musically (250+ students who give amazing performances), they also are modeling instructional innovation and risk-taking with technology. When our district provided laptops for students, for example, they immediately jumped on the opportunity for band students to record themselves and then submit their digital files for review. Many students are using SmartMusic to help them practice and – even cooler – marching band participants now can see what they’re trying to accomplish on the field because they’ve been sent a Pyware video that shows them what it looks like from the perspective of those of us in the stands. [Next up, Ohio State!]

But I think the most enthralling thing they’ve done to date was a video that they showed us during Parent Night last week (feel free to pause at any time to get the full effect):

How do you help a group of incoming 9th graders realize what it looks like when they’re out of step? Put a video camera on the track at foot level, of course!

BRILLIANT.

Imagine you’re a brand new band student… You’ve only been marching for a few days. You’re juggling learning new music with learning how to step in time. It’s difficult to see what everyone else is doing. Your opportunities for feedback are relatively limited in the large group. And so on. It’s easy to feel like maybe you’re doing better than you really are. Heck, you didn’t hit the student next to you today with your tuba, right? But the video doesn’t lie… “Wait, those are MY feet! And I’m not there yet.” And that other video from up in the stands that shows that our lines need work too? Also useful for helping me see where I fit into the overall picture…

Why do I like this video so much? Because it models creative ways to give kids feedback and because it uses technology to help students learn how to get better. As Chris Anderson noted in his TED talk, video often allows us to innovate more rapidly. Want your 9th graders to ramp up their marching band footwork as fast as possible? Show them – don’t just tell them – what it looks like…

How is your school using technology to help kids SEE how they can get better? (and, no, I’m not talking about ‘adaptive’ multiple choice software)

What does the PISA report tell us about U.S. education? [VIDEO]

An excellent video from AFT about PISA and education reform lessons to be learned. Watch it. Share it. #reclaimit

Happy viewing!

Sioux Central students are making trebuchets, learning physics [VIDEO]

Are your students learning physics by making trebuchets, catapults, and ballistae? Why not? Students in the Sioux Central (IA) Community Schools are and they’re having a blast! (literally)

Are you not entertained?! Great work, Dan Strohmyer!

Student for a Day [VIDEO]

Adam Provost asked five educator colleagues to participate in the ‘Student for a Day’ project. Here are their stories:

What would you learn by doing this at your school?

 

Here’s to school spirit videos

Okoboji (IA) High School is having fun with video…

Do these kinds of videos directly improve student learning outcomes? Nope. Do they foster positive school climate, culture, and spirit? Absolutely!

Learning environments should be fun. Kudos to the Okoboji folks for remembering that. Happy viewing!  #eduboji

Okoboji High School Roar

Livin’ the Dream

Nice work on the teacher appreciation video too!

Jesse Hagopian on Education Nation [VIDEO]

“These tests are too small, too puny, to measure all the skills my kids have.”

Yeah, what he said. [1:47]

Did you know they add sugar to your fish sticks? [VIDEO]

Some of the wonderful folks who helped make the Did You Know? (Shift Happens) videos have a new company, The Tremendousness Collective. One of their first projects was a video highlighting what sugars do to us. I’m late blogging this but thought I would pass it along. This video has absolutely nothing to do with schools or technology or leadership but these people are truly remarkable to work with and I want to support them any way I can. If you ever need someone to help you tell a story or get people to care, get in touch with them right away. They truly do “turn your ideas into absurdly great visual communications.”

Happy viewing!

My TEDxDesMoines video: From Fear to Empowerment

Here’s my TEDxDesMoines video (8:19) from yesterday. Happy viewing!

A big thanks to everyone at TEDxDesMoines for a fantastic event, particularly the video editors who somehow turned our videos around in less than 24 hours. Amazing!

Today’s biggest risk online [VIDEO]

Check out this video regarding “today’s biggest risk online.” [“Scary, like terrifying.“]

Are you as terrified as these people are? Photo geo-tagging and other location-based services have been prevalent for awhile now. [You can find “her favorite fast food shop” and “the specific part of the park where she plays!“] Have you heard about a horrifying uptake in incidences of predation by online strangers as a result? Me neither. [“The location of her kids’ bedroom was available to anyone online!“]

What do you think? Yet another incidence of slimy fearmongering (particularly when the reporter visits the mom’s house at 2:27)? Or a valuable warning that all parents should heed [“Experts say you can still be perfectly safe just by turning off GPS setting on pics you plan to post online.“]?

Which answers would you prefer? [VIDEO]

Here’s an absolutely wonderful 2-minute video from Elad Segev on creativity and classrooms. Happy viewing!

Hat tip: Joe Bower

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