PROBLEM-SOLVING, ADVOCACY, PERSISTENCE, AND CONNECTIONS: A STORY FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL

By Nancy van Arkel

While working on a project for 6th grade history, a student was frustrated that the Explain Everything app wouldn’t let him re-arrange his slides the way he wanted them. Instead of giving up, he found the support section of the site and sent an email. From their response, he learned that Explain Everything knew about the bug and would be correcting it in about a week. The next morning when Teacher Alicia Zeoli, one of our technology integrationists, asked if he wanted help with the work-around we had discovered for the bug, he said his project was complete. Not only had the company fixed the bug the previous night, but also they sent him an email to let him know so he could complete his project.

A few days later, T. Alicia was at EduCon, a national conference for educational technology, and she happened  to meet Reshan Richards, the co-founder of Explain Everything. Full of gratitude for the company’s responsiveness, she shared this story. Curious, Reshan asked to see the projects and Alicia happily shared them him (and took a selfie of the two of them together to show the 6th graders). Reshan was so impressed with our students’ work that he offered to talk with the students using Google Hangouts and asks to use their projects as examples on Explain Everything’s media site.

Education is about so much more than accumulating knowledge these days, and this story exemplifies some of the skills our students are developing – using technology as a means of synthesizing and presenting information, identifying problems and possible solutions, considering a variety of resources that might help solve a problem. Critical to this story, however, is the human element – the courage to ask for help, the responsiveness of both teachers and outside tech support, the connections that are later made in person, the use of technology as a means of connecting us across vast distances.

Want to know more? Here’s the project: As part of a unit on Vikings in T. Sue Gold’s history class, sixth graders studied Norse gods and goddesses. Each student chose a character from the Norse pantheon and researched the character’s role. Students sketched their gods, giants, humans or animals, and then animated their drawings using Explain Everything. Students brought their character’s myth to life and were able to teach their classmates about it in a visual, creative way.Click here to see the animations.

Kudos to 6th graders, T. Sue, T. Alicia, Reshan Richards and the Explain Everything team!

Watch a few minutes with the students and Reshan

This entry was posted in Action Based Education, Collaboration, Design Thinking, Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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