I am reading Innovate Inside the Box right now and loving it. I couldn’t wait for a paper copy to arrive so I went high tech and downloaded it to my Kindle, but decided to go old school with my notes.
My workflow is to read a chapter and take notes on the Kindle, and then to go back over the chapter and re-write the notes in my Moleskin. It has been a very satisfying process.
A focus of the early part of the book is on the importance of relationships and being proactive about forming them. Some of my favourite parts:
Without them (relationships), all the technology in the world won’t produce truly successful learners.
Too often, control, rules, and requirements seem to take precedence over relationships.
It doesn’t take much to create a connection, but it does take intention.
I was particularly taken by the stories of teachers and administrators who put extra effort into greeting all kids and knowing their names. I have always struggled with learning student name quickly, it’s just not my forte. I do eventually, and have always felt like it is ok because I do work hard to make my students feel welcome in my class.
After reading the Relationships chapter I decided that I needed to up my game, but that I needed a little help. Enter Flipgrid. I had already decided that I was going to give my Design students the option of doing a Flipgrid evaluation of the paper plane design project we were finishing, but I was thinking of this more as a way to provide them with multiple means of expression (to borrow a UDL term). What I hadn’t counted on was how it would help me build relationships.
I created a Topic in Flipgrid for the evaluation and pushed it out to Google Classroom. My classes are 3 weeks into being BYOD so I was a little nervous about the technology working, but I decided to just assign the task and let the students work out how to get it done. There was some trouble shooting involved, but on the whole they were amazing at figuring it out and taught me a fair amount about how Flipgrid works.
Watching their evaluations was eye opening, they were so so much better than any written work I would have received. Students included video of their planes flying, and held their planes up to the webcam to show different design aspects. Even more fun was the way they personalised their videos. Some were clearly trying to emulate YouTube personalities; others cracked jokes. And they all put a lot of effort into personalising their thumbnail images and adding stickers.
When I watched the evaluations I felt like I was getting to know each student as well as assessing how well they could do an evaluation. The next step was to record my response, and this is where the names come in. As I recorded my response I could see a picture of each student on my screen and made sure to start with thanking them for their evaluation and using their name. Not only was I able to give them detailed feedback in much less time, I was able to personalise it and start to build a relationship with each student. It also helped me remember names so I could start to use them more in class. As an added bonus I had to snap a different selfie for each of my responses, so took the opportunity to make a different funny face for each student (hopefully I didn’t freak them out).
I am still a Flipgrid newbie and have some learning to do to get the visibility settings the way I want, but I am excited about how easy it makes using video to build relationships with all of our students.