Tech Skills

Joshua Hubbard

SMORE: Online Postings

Sometimes for projects, I find it very useful to allow students to use their technology for good, rather than for evil, or try and fight them over its use. I have become a big fan of using the Chromebook Cart that our school has, and having students create online projects using websites like SMORE (this website) in order to post their work. SMORE allows students to get creative with their work, and take ownership of it. I firmly believe that the more that students realize they have "ownership" of a project, the more they enjoy it. I try to let students incorporate personal aspects of their work as much as possible, so that they become excited about showing off their work to the class.

Does it work?

As a teacher, I feel much more excited about a lesson that I've developed from scratch or class discussions in which I can incorporate my own pictures, than one that I can not, and students frequently feel the same. I've been using Smore for a couple of years now, with great results. Some of the website's best qualities are than it is easy to use, easy to present with, and FREE! to use for both instructors and students. I've recently had my 9th grade students use Smore for their Erosion project (more on that in Keystone Assignment), and it was, for many of them, their first online project and presentation. I used to teach the Nutrition elective, which had become the "dumping ground" for most of the intolerables of the school to be placed in so that they could attain a half-year science elective in order to meet the "3 years science" requirement for graduation. Quickly I learned that these students do not respond well to traditional lecture-based instruction, and a lot of time was wasted on authoritative class management and dealing with rabble-rousers; when I revamped the course to be mostly project-based, I discovered that even the worst offenders typically became well-behaved, engaged students. Students benefited from being able to be creative, and I benefited from a class filled with less grief and angst. Students with writing disabilities benefit from being able to type, and the students who might be unable to get to the store for posterboards, glue, and scissors of traditional presentations benefit, as long as they have access to a computer and the internet, which is readily available in most school libraries.

As teachers, we should all strive to find tasks that make our lives easier, so long as students benefit; luckily, these go hand-in-hand, as there is an inverse correlation between student engagement and instructor grief.

Guaranteed to be relaxing and Fun!

Fortunately, this website I very easy to learn, navigate, and incorporate. Students and teachers need very little fore-training, other than making them aware of the website. Students should receive a brief overview of how to create a flyer, and most of their questions arise when sharing their finished work with the instructor. Instructors should be informed that student work auto-saves, as students will often have questions on how to save their work.