For those that have been following my major project, I have thus far examined the nuts and bolts of ShowMe and Book Creator. We have looked at the features that they provide, how to use them, and what the privacy policies for each app entail. I want to now write about how I see these possibly being used in classrooms.
I am writing a single blog post for both of these apps because they have a main similarity in that each app provides a medium for an individual to essentially tell a story. Now each medium is geared towards different stories, but they could be used interchangeably if you really wanted to. ShowMe is designed more as a whiteboard and so the message here is that it’s more for teaching concepts and ideas whereas Book Creator takes the form of storybooks and cartoons and so it’s more of a medium to tell personal stories, fiction, and to be creative.
Both apps allow for any user to create what they want. I see Book Creator being more of a medium for students to create with than myself as a teacher. I can see students telling biographies of historical figures, telling their own personal stories, creating mini ‘textbooks’ even. Because you can include text and audio it can be a great tool for students struggling with reading and for our EAL learners. Another particular use I can see of Book Creator is as a kind of student portfolio to document their learning. What a great way to create an end of unit summary by creating a book of text, pictures, and video of the learning journey of a student. Chris Loat (@loater) also provides ‘4 compelling ideas for using Book Creator in the classroom‘ and ‘4 (more) compelling reasons to use Book Creator in the classroom‘. What I really like about the ideas he provides and what I didn’t think of is having different people working on different components of one book and then putting it all together into a fully finished book. The one idea he provides of having classes from around the world working on putting together a single book is amazing.
Now ShowMe, being more of a whiteboard, has perhaps as much use to teachers as students, or perhaps more so the teacher. Many teachers who are flipping their classroom are relying on teacher made video lessons, and ShowMe provides a great tool to allow for easy video lessons. I don’t have a flipped classroom, but I have experimented with simply creating video lessons for short concepts that I have available so that if a student misses a class they can watch the video instead of me having to spend time re-teaching that idea.
On the other hand, I also experimented with having students use the tool as well to each create a presentation of particular diseases so that at the end we had a collection of short video lessons about various diseases. Instead of the teacher spending many classes trying to explain each one, groups of students became experts on particular diseases and shared their learning with the others in a format that was convenient as some students missed the day of presentations and so it was easily viewable the next day for them. You can also read about how another teacher uses ShowMe for differentiation in his classroom and if students are needing to improve their grades, perhaps simply having them explain the concept they need to improve on through a ShowMe video will provide the evidence that the teacher needs to say that they understand that concept.
Both apps put the user in the position of creator and when we talk about 21st Century skills, students as creators are found in all of the lists of essential skills that I have seen. Using these apps shows a teachers commitment to student reflection, collaboration, and independence.
ShowMe has the added bonus of student work being shared in a public space. Contributing to the learning of others outside of the classroom provides a meaningful experience for students. When you encourage these types of products being created in the classroom, you are removing the walls of the classroom and teaching kids about the power of community, collaboration, and how to add meaningful contributions to the world.
Live long and prosper