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Students using Biteslide for collaboration

Jerry Guttman has been teaching Business Education for over 30 years at Manheim Township High School in Central Pennsylvania. She teaches Accounting and Entrepreneurship courses in a computer lab with 28 PCs to grade 10, 11 and 12 students.

Despite being a fairly affluent community, as times have changed, so have the demographics of her students.

“As we become more diverse as a school, so too do our teachers strategies. Instruction to diversified learners has become a challenge”.

Jerry’s main project for her Entrepreneurship course involves writing a business plan for a startup company of her students’ choosing. Students typically work in teams of two or three to research various sections of the business plan on the Internet. The students would collate their findings into a word document and at the end of the course present their finished plan back to the class.

“In an effort to make this project more educational for diversified learners, I went looking on the Internet for something new and different that would encourage students to use their creativity to apply what they learned from their business plan research.”

Jerry discovered Biteslide whilst adding apps to her Google Chrome homepage and after experimenting with slidebooks, knew that she had found the alternative to writing a business plan that would be valuable to all types of learners.

“Using Biteslide’s collaborative features, my students have been able to continue working in teams to research the different sections of the business plans. Instead of just writing about it in the traditional way, they have been able to create visually interesting pages about each of the sections which they can present back and share with the rest of the class. This provided more meaning and made learning more fun for my students.”

Students presenting with Biteslide - Manheim Township High School

Biteslide’s project management features made it easy to track the progress of her students’ work throughout the duration on the school project.

“I found it really helpful to be able to provide comments and feedback for improvements to their projects, directly alongside their work.”

The change in the way her students undertake project research has not only enabled Jerry to better integrate students with diverse learning backgrounds into school project work, but also provided a way for her students to create work that they are proud to show off to each other.

Students working with Biteslide - Manheim Township High School

“With visual business plans, I am now able to print them off and hang them on my class room bulletin board to share my students’ project work.”

Having successfully integrated Biteslide as a learning tool for her students, Jerry plans to use it for a number of other projects including:

  • Classroom introductions to help students get to know each other in a visual and fun way;
  • Visual Learning using pictures to demonstrate the understanding of various Accountancy topics;
  • And as a Vocabulary Aid, building a collaborative class slidebook of vocabulary for various terms relevant to the course.

And this is what Jerry’s class is saying about Biteslide…

“I love how easy it is to use, and will definitely tell my friends about it.”
Amber

“Biteslide is a creative and easy to way to make a visual, more interesting report, versus a boring a written report.”
Aubrey

“Biteslide was fun and easy to use.”
Sara

“Easier to present and easy to navigate.”
Brett

“I like using Biteslide more than writing an essay because it gives you more options. You can use it anywhere and it allows people to edit the project. I think that’s really a good feature.” Sokhema

Here’s a few examples of Jerry’s students’ Biteslide school project work:

 


School project research online in library
As a teacher, you live for the “light bulb” moments- the scattered bits of the week that allow you to turn inwardly for a mental, and sometimes physical, pat on the back.

Yes, you actually are making a difference.

As a parent, you live for the moments when you can say, “Yes, this school project actually applies to real life!”

Rest assured, your child will be a competent adult one day.

Textbooks are an excellent place for a child to begin their learning process. They cover irreplaceable knowledge that will help them thrive and grow in an increasingly complex world. It is easy to access and usually has built-in review questions at the end of each chapter.

However, those coveted light bulb moments seem to often happen when the book is shut and the students are ready to apply their newly acquired data to the world around them.

As his or her understanding of the world expands it is important to help your individual student acquire a set of skills that will help them self-reflect when it comes to the multitude of information that they can synthesize from a variety of resources. Technology certainly adds its own level of complications. With IPhones and IPads abound, compilation and evaluation skills are a necessary component to Internet-based research.

Tools like Biteslide make it easy to transition students from textbook learning to self-propelled Internet research. It is an easy tool that provides a safe and controlled environment in which students can integrate secondary resources into their growing knowledge base.

Basic researching skills can often be boiled down into five basics steps:

1. Defining the Task
2. Discovering Important Key Words
3. Using Excellent Resources
4. Evaluating Each Result
5. Compiling Important and Pertinent Information

Before your student even touches a computer, have them define the task at hand. For example, “I want to create a slideshow that exhibits several different owls that we did not learn about in class.” Keywords or phrases for this task might include: owls, species, birds, owls in North America, nocturnal birds.

It is always a good idea to have the student include a list of places where he or she could likely find reliable information such as zoo websites, university journals, museum guides, etc. Have them answer the question, “Who are the experts?”

After a small bit of reflection, it is time to find some Internet resources that will help your student accomplish his or her researching goals. If you choose to use a search engine, remind your child that he or she will need to evaluate each individual page. Programs like Biteslide often do much of the weeding out for you. While it will still yield plenty of results, it is easy to look at all the pictures and “bites” on one screen. You can easily assess which keywords were helpful and that pulled up results that will add depth to the overall presentation.

After your student has clipped out several “bites” using Biteslide’s search feature and has also evaluated them for their credibility and usefulness, he or she can compile their research into a slideshow that can be visually stunning as well as accurate and effective. Biteslide makes it easy to assess numerous sources and allows students to ask important questions such as:

1. How can I narrow down my search to get the results I need?
2. How can I find information that reaches out beyond my textbook?
3. How can I respect ownership?

Below is an introductory example of a slideshow that a teacher could use when teaching students how to use Biteslide for researching purposes. It is simple and to the point. With any luck, your student will be able to use Biteslide to create their own full blown light bulb moment.

I hope this introduction to research skills using Biteslide has inspired you. If so, register now so your students can start their own school research projects.

Kathryn Rose is an full-time educator turned full-time mom and writer focusing on parenting and educational topics. After completing her Elementary Education Certification through North Park University, she taught middle school Social Studies in Chicago, IL. She still teaches part-time and loves putting together engaging lesson plans and activities that keep kids engaged and moving.