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Rock Brook School

Maggie Forsyth-Deeds is the Coordinator of Speech and Language Services at the Rock Brook School in Skillman, New Jersey.  She has over 20 years experience working with students that have special needs and is dually certified as a Speech Language Pathologist and Teacher of the Handicapped.

Rock Brook School is a private, not for profit school for Communication Impaired and Multiply Disabled children from ages 5 to 21. Some medical diagnoses of children who have been helped by their program have included: Language Learning Disorders; Autistic Spectrum Disorders; Hearing Impairment; Seizure Disorders; Pervasive Developmental Delay and other disabilities secondary to various syndromes.

“I prefer an eclectic approach to instruction as it allows me to incorporate individualized programming for the unique needs of my very heterogeneous group of learners”.

Maggie works in what she describes as a very ‘tech savvy environment’. Each classroom is fitted with two personal computers, two iPads, a SMART Board; Lightspeed Technologies Redcat Audio Classroom amplification system and personal FM systems. There is also a dedicated Technology room with additional iPads, new laptop computers, as well as a touch screen personal computer.

“Although we have access to lots of great technology, the ‘challenge’ within a school like Rock Brook is finding the most optimum way for students to access the technology, engage with it and use it meaningfully. The overarching goal is to ultimately generalize the skills to other environments.”

Due to the nature of her job, Maggie is constantly on the lookout for current trends in technology and came across Biteslide during a research session online.  After a quick use of the demo version she says she was instantly sold with the service meeting the needs of her students as well as meeting the flexibility and lesson management requirements she has as a teacher.

“I found the interface to be colorful, engaging and capable of fostering my students in using the program independently over time. As a teacher, I found the dashboard to be exactly what I needed to manage my various classes, students and different levels of projects. It is a great tool for teachers as it’s flexibility allows it to be worked into almost any aspect of lesson planning, curriculums and/or classroom activities ”

Maggie found that Biteslide’s research tools removed the ‘daunting’ and sometimes ‘overwhelming’ nature of research, allowing her students to get instant gratification when compiling their images and videos through the web to put their work together.

“Biteslide provides the students with the tools to complete research without it really feeling like ‘research’. I quickly decided that Biteslide would serve my students best in creating and presenting their end of the year projects”

With its endless creative possibilities and user-friendly interface, her students are able to express themselves through the Biteslide platform with ease which is having a positive impact in the classroom.

“Its dynamic display fosters engagement in my students, helping to keep their interest and thereby increasing overall participation”

In the future Maggie can see an implemtentation of Biteslide into the newly created High School Program as way for students to create social stories and daily schedules related to the “Activities of Daily Living” that drive the High School programming.

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

“Biteslide is a fun project because you can choose any topic you like.”
Ian

“Biteslide is awesome. I like the Google images and video clips”
Dominick

“I liked making the Biteslides and using my own pictures from home.”
Kyle

“I made my Biteslide by picking pictures, backgrounds and text.”
Kris

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

If you like think that Biteslide could help you and your students, please sign up for your 30-day free trial now.


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:

 


This is a guest post in our Educator Stories series by Maribel Martinez, Education Consultant for Editure/AUSSIE, New York, New York.

The arrival of the Common Core State Standards has set in motion major instructional shifts, revisions in curricula and deliverables, and new expectations for student evaluation, among other major changes in school and classroom practices.

In New York City, where my work as an education consultant demands eclecticism within expertise, technology projects and final performance tasks are born when the curriculum drives the innovation.

My work with Abigail Farahmandpour, 8th grade Social Studies teacher at PS/IS 204, The Holmes School, in Long Island City, New York began with a general conversation about her upcoming unit on World War II, her existing access to technology, the technology-infused projects she had done in the past, how she wanted to revamp old ideas to include technology that would engage students, and also give them a new way to demonstrate their learning while pushing their 21st century skills further.

Since Abigail’s goals for the project included student research and writing, she wanted to incorporate a technology application that would allow students to really develop their thoughts instead of just adding captions or short statements to images.

Abigail did not want the writing and the research to take a backseat to the technology piece; she envisioned a final project that told the story of WWII through the eyes of someone who experienced the conflict firsthand.

Enter Biteslide. Biteslide offers its users the ability to support lengthy text, audio, video, and images within a lifelike scrapbook–known as a Slidebook–that anyone can easily customize by dragging and dropping digital stickers, paper, borders, and die cuts. Because Biteslide is linked to Google and YouTube, students easily performed searches for eye-catching media and uploaded them in one step into their Slidebooks.

Best of all, nothing is ever lost in Biteslide. Whether you upload directly from the Internet or your own computer, Biteslide stores your media in Your Bites for later use, and you never have to worry about power outages or computer glitches because Biteslide autosaves while you work.

Lastly, group work is easily accomplished on Biteslide because users can collaborate with one another on the same Slidebook project, making group project work easy and fun.

Creating digital scrapbooks on Biteslide was a natural fit for the goals of this project and a great way for students to allow their creativity to put a personal stamp on their WWII stories. Some examples of our 8th Grade Technology-Infused Performance Tasks on WWII:


Aside from bolstering student enthusiasm and easing the pressures of traditional testing methodologies, developing technology-infused performance tasks with tools such as Biteslide accomplish important points with regard to student assessment:

1. Technology-infused performance tasks maintain the original intent behind authentic assessments, measuring what students do with what they know not just how much they know.

2. Technology-infused performance tasks are evaluations of both process and product.

3. Technology-infused performance tasks are designed using active verbs requiring students to manipulate, produce, and create application extensions as evidence of learning.

“The kids are loving Biteslide!” announced Abigail before students were even finished with their projects.

For teachers, a final performance task with Biteslide also means a permanent electronic work product to share on a blog, teacher website, or within a digital student portfolio, in addition to less time spent grading lengthy essays, and more time enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Bio
Maribel Martinez is an experienced educator, teacher leader, and education consultant who has worked to effect school change in three of the largest four school districts in the country over nearly two decades. Her areas of specialization include collaborative/collegial coaching, special populations, technology in education, and literacy. Sparked by her collaborative work coaching teachers, Maribel developed the New Teacher Residency Pilot Plan, based on her research in the areas of second-career teachers and new teacher preparation, as an alternative model for new teacher preparation in the United States. Maribel lives in New York City and can be reached via LinkedIn.