I first learned about Swivl 3 years ago at a state technology conference. I am astounded by the advances that they have made in that short time, including the C3 and C5 multi channel audio. Their latest addition of multi-camera capabilities with Swivl+ has me very excited.
In our first official foray into the Swivl+ world, I decided to address STEM. Often in STEM we break into groups that work cooperatively to address and hypothesize a problem. In this experiment, I split the students into 5 groups as that was how many tablets I had available. The purpose of the experiment on this day was for students to learn about a new technology in our classroom, Cubelets. These magnetically interlocking cube robotics perform differently depending on their configurations. Student were able to explore and collaborate on this.
Generally during an experiment of this type, I would rotate between groups which would give me some insights into the discussions my students were having. However more times than not, when I would have a chance to talk to a particular group they would have questions for me or I would need to prompt them tell me what they were doing and how they came to their decisions/conclusions. Whoever the most vocal student in the group was would answer not necessarily the student who had the ideas. There is always at least one group who even though they are doing the experiment, they have nothing to say about what they are doing. I would need to rely on students statements during the lesson wrap up, again by the most vocal in the group, and individual worksheet answers to gauge understanding. Often there are students who can explain verbally but not as well in writing, so their answers on these worksheets are minimal at best. There are also students who can be verbal when in a small group of other students but become shy when expected to speak in front of the rest of the class. Because of Swivl+, this was not the case this time. By placing a tablet running the app and connected to the session with each group, I was able to go back and observe each individual group's thought processes and conversations. I was even able to observe how the students interacted when they thought I wasn't watching. I was pleased to see one group in particular being very respectful when correcting a group member's behavior. This is not something I ever get to see close up with my 4th graders.
I can't wait to use it again!
This is also posted on the Swivl Pioneers Blog at https://www.swivl.com/2017/04/19/swivlstem/
Our principal recently talked to the staff about Happiness Advantage and how when you are happy you tend to work harder, clearer, and just in general better. We were encouraged to come up with some ideas about how to spread this happiness as we begin our end of the year standardized testing. One of my STEM sisters and I had heard something similar at the MACUL conference recently. The speaker, Jane McGonigal, focused on gaming in her explanations of work, play, depression and happiness. These concepts were also shared with the staff. A fellow teacher asked me if I thought we could do something to mesh the two things together and create a green screen video centering on testing tips and positivity with a video game theme. This is what I created with her insights and my intervention students. Click the image below to launch the video.
Thanks to two great friends and one amazingly random donor, the STEMland grant was fully funded this morning! It is overwhelming to have this happen so quickly. I am already receiving emails about materials being ready to ship. Because they like to get classrooms their supplies as soon as possible, I will be receiving about 20 packages this week. The students will be excited as I plan to let them open them.
That's Elementary Explains is a teacher with almost 2 decades of teaching experience and a technology degree who is still trying to figure out the new and unexplained.