Authors & Voice – Using Google Classroom/GAFE

Storytelling is about discovery; discovery of oneself, discovery of our relationship with the world, discovery of questions within ourselves. Purposefully and intentionally immersing technologies that are simple to grasp, amplifies the discovery allowing the power of voice to lift off.

This year’s joint project between Learning Technologies and Literacy accessed the collaborative nature of Google Classroom to strengthen writing, voice, and empowerment in every student. The simplicity of the environment made it the best alternative to focus on writing communication, not learning the tool. Pre-assessment set the groundwork in maintaining the focus. Activities ranged from heart maps, personalization to self-reflection of goals. All classes learned and accessed the many tools embedded to support inclusion (eg. audio, voice-to-text (sometimes it’s easier to speak and watch it flow out on a page), dictionary with images, integrated web research (no leaving your page), auto translation (ELL inclusion from day one), text-to-speech, word prediction…). Again, these were done purposefully when need arose and all students engaged when they felt the need or wish. Immediate timely support through teacher and student comments provided opportunities to focus on growing the writers voice. The values of core competencies were evidenced throughout their writing process. 

These stories of learning are captured in the words of students and teachers.


More stories are on their way and will be posted as our project teams round off the year. 

Mid November Reflections – Voices

It’s mid November and the leaves have displayed their Fall colours (either still hanging onto trees or splashed across the landscape). We truly live in a wonderful part of the world. 

One of our concentrations is to provide a written voice for every student. Six teams of classroom and LSS/ELL partnerships from six schools launched, each with their own set of laptops or ipads. These teams are using a variety of tools to support voice: Google Apps for Education, student blogfolios to reflect, Solo software (focused on CoWriter offering word prediction) or ipads with DoInk green screen, Explain Everything and padcaster. As part of the journey, the teams meet together to share and push their learning as well as document their ongoing story. Lessons learned and nuggets of connections will be shared here on our Teams page. Even better – ask them yourselves:

  • Maywood – Satpaul, Jason, Halina; 
  • Edmonds – Hayley, Angela;
  • South Slope – Grady, Deb, Jennifer A; 
  • Chaffey-Burke – Carlene, Alan; 
  • Suncrest – Balbir, Joe;
  • Parkcrest – Sheila, Scott;
  • UHE – Kristina (year 2);
  • Marlborough – Ann (year 2) 

We’re looking forward to strengthening our strategies. 

Stories Told: Risk-Taking and Connected Relationships

We left off last year with celebration events for all of our teams. Many things stood out from those gatherings: risk-taking is built on trust, possibility thinking and time to ruminate, ideas start from what we know (a launch page), integration of purposeful technologies requires focused play, assessment is not an afterthought, articulating clear goals and process with students offer a stronger chance at connected learning, explicitly sharing the learning offer opportunities normally not experienced by teachers (eg. standing in front of peers). None of these are new. In each instance, what rose to the top was the consistency of story.

Story plays a valuable role in both grounding a culture (as in the discoveries in Sheila’s class) as well as generating ideas and connections in others (as in Carlene’s or Vicky’s story). They tug at emotional heartstrings. Some may question the need for blogging as another “add on”. I will suggest however, as Clay Shirky put it, “Our ability to connect with one another is transforming the media for organized sharing…”
Our conscious use of blogging or sharing digitally allow our stories to fly to others outside of our brick-and-mortar walls; they invite conversation and grow ideas. imagineercollage640They are not meant to end with us but spark connected thoughts and creativity, going deeper and broader.

These stories are captured for you to explore (click here, or on the image). They are also found under TEAMS > ImagineerTech. If you would like more information, consider contacting the teacher so they can share their story.