This past Monday, Cady Staff hosted a live video chat on Google's Education on Air channel. Cady is a middle school teacher at High Tech High, a group of extremely innovative schools based in San Diego that have put personalised, project-based learning at the heart of their curriculum with amazing results.
From organising meetings with parents, to creating surveys to get quicker feedback and giving students the space to display online portfolios, Cady draws on her own experience of using the apps and runs through a wide range of the uses that they have in enabling the creation of authentic, engaging projects.
The video is divided into three parts, with each one focusing on a slightly different area of project-based learning that the apps help facilitate.
The first acts as a guide for teachers to using the apps, and covers teacher-to-teacher collaboration, interacting with your students and more. The second, beginning at 21:20, shows how to actually build projects with a particular focus on how the apps allow students to exhibit, critique and create multiple drafts of their work, the three crucial stages for building a successful project. The final part, starting at 41:20, focuses on how the apps engage parents, bridge the gap between learning in and out of the classroom, and better enable project-based learning to connect to an authentic, real-world audience. Cady provides real examples of websites and portfolios made by her students and colleagues, as well as practical first steps for teachers to get started.
For teachers interested in how to better enable project-based learning, this video is a fantastic resource. But even if you're not a teacher, it is important in a broader context insomuch that it provides a great example of how technology can relate to pedagogy in a practical and meaningful way. As detailed in Nesta's newly released Decoding Learning report, technology for technology's sake has very little impact on improving learning outcomes and is usually costly to boot. But if used to support great teaching that is focused less on assessment and more on engaging students to create meaningful work, it can be an extremely beneficial tool.
Enjoy the video below!