Blog

Digital Citizenship

At Biteslide we’ve made it our mission to help students develop the skills necessary to to face future challenges, and one topic that’s close to our hearts is digital citizenship.

To help you get to grips with digital citizenship, I would like to explain the key elements and tell you how Biteslide can be used to put digital citizenship into practice in your school.

Firstly, what is digital citizenship?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) defines digital citizenship as “a framework for using technology responsibly and appropriately at all times in schools.” (http://www.iste.org/docs/excerpts/DIGCI2-excerpt.pdf)

They identify nine key elements in their framework: digital access, digital commerce,  digital communication, digital literacy, digital ettiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health & digital security.

In all but one of these elements (digital commerce), Biteslide can be used to help teach digital citizenship to your students and I’d like to show you how.

1. Digital access

For most students, technology is an ever-present part of their lives.  This is primarily through websites, social media, games, apps, and instant messaging tools.

In an educational environment, schools have to ensure students understand their responsibilities when it comes to using technology, whilst at the same time finding an adequate balance to ensure students are able to embrace the opportunities that it brings to their lives.

Biteslide helps schools with digital access

Biteslide can be used by every teacher or student around the world via a laptop or PC at school and at home.

Biteslide is a ‘walled garden’ which means that teachers can safely control the content students have access to and how they can share their work.

2. Digital communication

Social media, video, instant messaging apps, email and text messages are just a few ways that students can express themselves and communicate together.

This means it’s vitally important that students get to grips with what is appropriate to share via these channels and what is not.  They need to be aware of how they create a ‘digital footprint’ over time and that’s why they should think twice before publishing anything to the web.

Biteslide helps students to understand digital communication

Students can work on projects collaboratively by developing slidebooks together.  They can peer review work through the use of commenting tools and also interact with their teachers.

Biteslide is a safe place to learn the rules of the web and to understand that once you post something to the web – it stays there.  Of course on Biteslide, teachers are able to add, edit, and remove anything as needed.

3. Digital Literacy

Using different technology can be quite intimidating for some and a breeze for others.

This means that teachers can find it difficult to teach students digital literacy at a similar pace to each other.

A good way for schools to overcome this is to use common software and devices that every student is likely to have access to at school as well as at home.

Blended learning

The concept of blended learning has also been very effective in increasing digital literacy.

Lessons are typically a mix of traditional ‘chalk and talk’ teaching methods alongside the use of digital tools or services  that enhance student engagement and output.

This gives students the perfect opportunity to use technology in a collaborative manner and to successfully achieve their tasks.

Which information is relevant?

With so many resources available on the web, identifying a reliable source of information can be a tricky task.

One of the most critical aspects of digital literacy for students focuses on teaching them how to assess the legitimacy of web resources.

Giving students suggested websites to further their project learning is a simple and effective way to guide them to trusted places on the web where they can expand their knowledge of a specific topic.

Biteslide promotes digital literacy

Biteslide is used by thousands of teachers around the world to adopt a blended learning approach to teaching in their classrooms.

With smart research, creation, and presentation tools, students develop a broad set of 21st century skills that will support them for the rest of their lives.

4. Digital etiquette

Students should to be aware that different mediums require different ways of communicating and use language in different ways.

They should understand that their actions can have consequences, and may lead to serious repercussions for other individuals and that they have a responsibility to stand up for others who are being bullied online by reporting it to an adult.

Biteslide promotes good etiquette

Students learn about how using the internet creates a ‘digital footprint’ in a safe and secure environment where if they do make a mistake it will not be visible to those outside the walled garden.

They also learn how to work with one and another on projects, encouraging good communication skills and build confidence to talk to different groups of people.  Teachers are able to monitor their students online behaviour within the walled garden and correct any inappropriate action and educate the student as to why it wasn’t appropriate.

5. Digital law

For students, understanding the laws around content usage are particularly important.

With many resources on the web for inspiration and guidance, students must understand the fine line between citing content as a source versus plagiarising someone else’s work entirely.

This leads into the understanding of copyright law which protect content owners and the mis-use of their text, image and video content online which students should be aware of when doing online research and project work.

Biteslide introduces students to digital laws

Using Biteslide for project work means that students must abide by copyright laws when using images from Google or videos in YouTube that we provide access to in the platform.  Biteslide is also an excellent place to learn to properly cite content that has been gathered from the web.

If teachers are worried about copyright infringement for projects, they can upload project assets directly to a class project folder and restrict access to resources outside the Biteslide platform.

6. Digital rights and responsibilities

All digital citizens are entitled to share basic rights such as privacy, freedom of speech and so forth.

With these rights also come responsibilities and in some cases, severe consequences for exerting them in the wrong way.

For students this can require a lot of education to ensure they understand their responsibilities, including when to report instances that threaten their rights to friendly and safe communications.

Biteslide helps students understand their digital rights and responsibilities

All Biteslide project work is carried out within a private area shared by the class.  Students can always communicate safely and transparently with one another.  In this safe area students can learn their rights and responsibilities without the fear of making mistakes in public.

7. Digital health

Whilst technology brings amazing opportunities to discover ways to enhance their lives, it comes with many physical risks (e.g. eye health, repetitive strain injury) and psychological dangers (e.g.internet addiction, cyber bullying) if not controlled.

Students should be made aware of how to balance technology use with every day offline social and physical activities to ensure they don’t over-expose themselves to the digital world throughout the day.

Biteslide gives students control with respect to digital health

Teachers set the project work in Biteslide, which means individual projects can be time-boxed to ensure students maintain a healthy level of digital usage.   Students are also able to collaborate to split the workload or support one another.  Teachers can control access to a project and restrict access to it if so desired.

8. Digital security

Students should be aware of the importance of keeping their data and passwords private and safe, never sharing information that doesn’t belong to them and ensuring they log out of any accounts they sign into.

And for schools, it’s vital that schools are able to adequately protect the private information of both their teachers and students, and ensure that students browsing the web are able to do so in a safe way.

Biteslide can help students learn about digital security

Biteslide takes security very seriously, our website is a “walled garden” meaning that data and project work is stored privately and securely, and teachers always have full visibility over student online behaviour in our platform via a management dashboard.

Teachers and students have individual accounts on Biteslide and that means that students have the responsibility of looking after their login details.  This is much like any other e-commerce or social media website on the web and teachers young learners how they need to manage their security.

If you’re ready to start teaching your students about digital citizenship please sign up now for a 30-day free trial of Biteslide.

 


Student teamwork and collaboration

As the calendar year comes to a close most teachers are breathing a cool and collective sigh of relief. With their classrooms packed up for the winter break, they now have the opportunity to put their feet up and relax.

Or, let’s be real, create plans for the next year.

A teacher’s job is never complete and the winter holidays are often filled with reflection and general curriculum overhaul. With activities and field trips still fresh in everyone’s mind, teachers often find themselves asking, “Have my students really retained anything this year?”

Yes, motivation in those precious few weeks before the winter break can be likened to running a marathon in the mud. Thankfully, there are so many easy-to-use programs that can make cumulative review a fun team building exercise.

Biteslide’s platform is adaptable, making it applicable to a variety of curriculum areas. It is also easy to share meaning that students can work together in a variety of ways to create anything from peer reviewed test questions to projects for the students to look at the following year.

Here are three ways in which you can integrate both Biteslide and teamwork methods into your end of the unit (or end of the year) lesson plans.

1. Peer Reviewed Games and Test Questions

Reviewing for a test can become an insurmountable drag with incredible speed. (And not just for the students!) Of course you can load them down with the review questions at the end of the unit but do you really want to read hundreds of scribbly notebook pages?

Alternatively, Biteslide can be used by the students to create a pool of review questions that are tailored to their specific needs. Start by taking a pretest to identify particular areas of struggle.

After you have your target areas, assign particular questions to each student or group of students and have them create a shareable project that can be added together for a cumulative review session.

Encourage your students to find interesting bites – pictures and videos that make the presentation interesting and memorable. As the students develop their presentations, pull specific slides for test questions.

2. Writer’s Workshop and Story Building

Although we have touched upon this before, Biteslide is an excellent resource for writer’s workshop classes.

The slides are easy to save and share. For many students, the added ability to incorporate pictures into their slides makes the writing process fun and much easier to visualize.

English classes can use Biteslide to create progressive stories in which each individual adds to the previous slide so that they can build a unique story that can showcase a particular skill or strategy.

Bites are easy to search for and will add fluidity to the story. It is a fun exercise to tag on to the beginning or end of a lesson as part of a review.

3. A Letter for Next Year

For an end of the year project that will hopefully keep your middle schoolers from rolling their eyes, have the students create individual slides that can be put together for next year’s class. Slide ideas can include:

  • Introductions
  • Favorite projects
  • Rules that are important to follow
  • Favorite field trips
  • Tips and Tricks for success
  • What they will or will not miss about that particular grade level

Biteslide is a multi-use platform that can be bent and shaped to your classrooms particular needs. Whether it is the end of the year or the end of a unit, technology-based review that can encourage team-based projects is an excellent addition to traditional forms of review. It is easy for you to view and assess and allows students to really take ownership of their lessons and overall success.

Have any excellent ways that you use Biteslide for review? We would love to hear from you!

Kathryn Rose is a 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.


Three children doing math equations on blackboard

Mathematics for young learners, could there be a more straightforward subject to teach?

I think it’s relatively safe to say that almost everyone who has had an average elementary school experience also has workbook memories. While other subjects seemed to require different reading materials and critical thinking skills, the handy dandy math textbook was always there in the back of your locker, like an old and trustworthy friend that had long since run out of ways to surprise you.

Thankfully, for the math-inclined student, many teachers and educators do not believe that math has to be dusty or boring. Math surrounds us and is integrated into many important parts of our lives!

Sure, workbooks have their place among many outstanding tools that are at your student’s disposal, but who says they have to be the end all? Programs like Biteslide are adaptable which makes them easy to integrate into a large range of curriculum.

Biteslide Can Enforce Basic Math Skills

Math literacy takes time. It also is built up around basic and foundational math skills- mainly addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For students that are wired for visual processing, Biteslide offers both educators and parents the opportunity build slides based around workbook problems and a student’s particular interests. Below is an example of a basic slideshow that details a subtraction problem from a workbook.

As the student progresses in his or her understanding of a particular concept, it is okay to let go of the reins and ask them to build a slideshow explaining the steps they took to get to their eventual answer.

Biteslide Can Enliven Word Problems

Word problems are literally haunting. They show up in all levels of math curriculum and are generally assumed to be helpful when trying to explain to a student that, sigh, math is actually a subject that he or she will use.

Word problems are great ways to think critically. They can also seem very daunting.
Working through a word problem on Biteslide encourages students to use all facets of learning to solve every day problems. (Yes, you can draw a picture to solve an equation!) Slideshow presentations allow students to get creative while also zoning in on a particular task. The combination should leave your students feeling empowered to tackle word problems from several possible angles.

Below is an example of a slideshow that was started by a teacher and then solved by a student.

Biteslide Can Connect Math to the Every Day

After your students have a solid and foundational understanding of the basic mathematical concepts you are trying to convey, why not have them explore the everyday application of their newly acquired knowledge?
Biteslide is not only easy use; it is also easy to share. Breaking away from the textbook for exciting and interesting presentations is a good way to break up the week and to make students feel like their knowledge has applicable power. Here is an excellent presentation that uses basic math (addition and patterns) and applies it to Fibonacci’s sequencing.

Math doesn’t have to solely reside in between the pages of a textbook. Biteslide offers ways that for students to be involved in their learning process. Visual learners will benefit from the tactical nature of the program while learners of all varieties will have fun extending their newly acquired knowledge into a stunning and shareable platform.

Register now so your students can start their own math projects.

And please do get in touch to let us know the exciting ways are you using Biteslide to promote math skills.

Kathryn Rose is a 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.


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.


3 Creative Ways To Make Math Class Fun

For many, math class brings back workbook memories of nights huddled around the kitchen table frantically checking the evened numbered answers with the back pages. It seems rather repetitive. A child must be taught a concept, shown how to do it, and then bludgeoned over the head with examples. How else will they learn?

To add insult to injury, there is the inevitable math class back row critic who raises his or her hand and slyly asks the question, “So when are we ever going to use this is real life?” Yes, mathematics can feel like it has barely graduated from the era of dusty chalkboards and one-room school houses.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

With some creative energy and a bit of classroom participation, Biteslide can transform an incredibly important life skill and class into projects that feel relevant and fun.

Here are three creative ways to start using Biteslide in conjunction with your Math curriculum.

Biteslide Helps Students Visualize And Create Word Problems

In terms of real life problem-solving, word problems are an excellent way to bring the importance of mathematics into every day situations. Often riddled with numerous operations and superfluous information, word problems offer children the chance to put their workbook skills to practice. However, for some students, internally visualizing word problems can be a problem all its own.

Biteslide can offer children an opportunity to watch or recreate word problems for easy solving. Below is a simple example of a word problem slide show.

For a child, breaking down word problems into bite-sized ideas helps them think in sequential steps. The best part about Biteslide is that it can be used to introduce a problem that will be covered or it can be used by the students to work through a problem that is already troubling them. The bites can be collected together by the teacher ready for the students to use. All the student has to do is drop the bites straight onto their slides.

Biteslide Can Help Students Learn About Daily Mathematics And Current Events

For the class skeptic, Biteslide can a fun and engaging way to apply the class math lessons to every day events. Learning about percentages? Have the students track the price increase of various products such as gas, food items, and school supplies using an interactive slide show presentation.

Use the YouTube tab in the slidebook to find videos about bridge construction and trigonometry. It can even be used to present the context in which certain mathematical principals were contrived.

Below is an example of a short slidebook presentation that uses a video bite to explain the Pythagorean theorem.

Biteslide Can Create Interactive Problem-Solving And Review

One of Biteslide’s best features is the ability to share presentations with other teachers and classmates. This opens up a world of opportunity concerning both review strategies and interactive problem-solving.

Consider, for a moment, a multi-stage math problem that can be solved by creating a slidebook presentation that gets passed around from student to student. The slidebook can then be presented to the class and, if there is a mistake, corrected on the spot.

The problems can be passed amidst one class of students or shared with other classes for both review and fun competition. Students can submit slides with questions and concerns, review problems, or images and clips that have helped them understand a particular concept.

It is a completely different way to review for a math test and it can center around very specific and problematic areas. The best part is that students can participate in building slides and sending ‘bites’ that help others learn. Who could argue with that?

Math doesn’t have to be a dusty subject – especially since it is so relevant to our daily lives. Interactive programs like Biteslide can entice students to take responsibility for their own learning process. With Biteslide the possibilities are endless and the effort will certainly be worth the result for you and your students.

If you don’t already have an account on Biteslide, what are you waiting for? Register for your free account here.


Student Travel Journal Image

Social Studies and Geography open up a child’s mind to the many cultures, climates, and people in our world. With technology, students are able to talk to people from and see pictures of places that once seemed impossibly far away. Biteslide can offer teachers and students an opportunity to create “road maps” and “travel journals” that help students review special places they have learned about while also increasing their contact with the cultures, histories, and people they have learned about in their textbooks.

Common Core State Standards covered by this project

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1
    Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3
    Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7
    Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.10
    By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.2
    Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6
    With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.7
    Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.10
    Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3
    Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7
    Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9
    Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6
    With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.8
    Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.

Materials Needed For This Project On A Weekly Basis

  • Access to a Computer Lab and Biteslide.com
  • Relevant Textbooks/Social Studies Notes
  • Writing Utensils
  • Optional: Cheat Sheet of Relevant Questions

Activity

The students can work alone or in groups to create a yearlong “travel journal” that highlights different geographical locations that they have learned about in their classroom. The students should be able to extend their textbook knowledge into secondary websites that are informative and appropriate. The teacher might want to include or create a “cheat sheet” that the students can use all year to help them pursue decent and relevant information. Questions on the cheat sheet could include:

  1. 1. What types of animals live here?
  2. 2. Does this city have any special buildings?
  3. 3. If you had only one hour, what would you visit and why?
  4. 4. Was something invented here?
  5. 5. Is someone famous from here?

While the students are clipping and creating slides, the teacher should supervise and discuss proper sources and crediting for photographs.

At the end of the year, the students should be able to present their travel journal to the class and to their parents. As an extension, teachers should print out individual slides to pull together a bulletin board that can be changed throughout the year.

Modifications

For students with special needs or who need extra monitoring, it is easy to add editors to any individual slide show. Students can collaborate with one another to produce the best results.

ESL students should be encouraged to add words that they understand into the slide but they can also convey what they have learned with well-placed pictures and collages.

Biteslide makes it easy to store and retrieve yearlong projects. There is no classroom clutter and the project is easy to integrate into computer class and testing weeks. With so many voices crowding the Internet, teachers can use programs like Biteslide to help their students become responsible web-based researchers.

If you don’t already have an account on Biteslide, you can sign up for free here.

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.


Creative Homeschool Projects

This is a guest post from Misty Bailey – a homeschooling Mom and writer at the popular parenting blog We’re Just Parents.

As a homeschooler I am sure your children have many projects they complete in school. Some may be Science Experiments, Book Reports, History Papers, or Geography Lessons. Biteslide allows your children to make these projects, and findings more creative. Here are some ways you or your children can make your homeschool projects more creative with Biteslide.

Tips to Consider Before You Start

When you use Biteslide for homeschool projects you are allowing your child to learn valuable computer skills. Skills learned can be web research, typing, using a mouse, saving images, uploading images, and many more!

Biteslide is really easy to use but some parental help and guidance at first may help. Give your child extra points for completing the project on Biteslide. Make the projects fun and interesting. Show the child how to use it before setting them lose to create a slidebook.

If your children learn subjects together, allow them to work together on a slidebook. When it comes to using photos for reports keep in mind copyright laws. The photos and slidebooks on Biteslide are for personal use, but to be safe always disclose where the picture comes from.

Homeschool Science

Did your child complete a Science Experiment that they loved? Do they have one they will be completing soon? Have them make a slidebook about it. On one page he can write his hypothesis, the next section pictures of the actual experiment. You can list the experiment step by step, or a general synopsis.

Ultimately the slidebook is yours, and how you complete it is in your hands! On the last page the student can write out their findings from the experiment. The Slidebook can bring his Science Experiment to life!

Homeschool Book Reports

Giving a book report for a homeschooler is different than having to give one in front of a class of 20 kids. There is not a real challenge involved, you write it and turn it in.

But, with Biteslide you can assign a book report that the child will have fun presenting, and challenge them at the same time by allowing them to learn valuable computer skills!

The child can make a slidebook showing the author, genre, characters, settings, summary and more with Biteslide! He can find pictures to add online, or draw and upload them himself. Biteslide also allows you to add stickers to your slidebook. These can help the child show the mood in the story as they retell or summarize it.

Individual Homeschool Projects

Do you have a child who wants to learn about airplanes, trains, giraffes or another subject that she finds interesting?

Help the child look up and research information. Or, if they are old enough allow them to do it themselves. Write up the information and turn it into a fun individual project with Biteslide!

For example, let’s say a child wanted to do a project on planes. They could write down the information they found about when planes were invented. They could write down some about the Wright Brothers and their first flight. They could save pictures that they found on the Wright Brothers, and use them in their slidebook.

They could write down books that they found on planes, and refer to them as resources in their slidebook. How have planes changed through the years? Make a neat collage showing the way planes looked a century ago compared to now.

The slidebook can be full of information the child found on their point of interest. You could also take this same scenario and turn it into a project and report for History or a Geography lesson.

Is your child studying a particular country or state? Are you learning about presidents? How about a great scientist or inventor? Take the information you have found and make a slidebook out of it – the opportunities for individual projects are limitless!

So, the next time you decide to do a fun project with your kids take the opportunity and make your homeschool project more creative with Biteslide!

Register Here For Your Free Biteslide Account.


Running track

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.

For the lone teacher, the implementation of a productive and enriching lesson plan can be an exhaustive and worrisome endeavor. Sure, your school district might have set-up a basic framework that meets benchmarks and standards but, like every educational checklist that teachers have to deal with, there are certainly those students that “fall through the cracks.”

Whether they entered into your classroom already reading below their grade level, struggle with a crippling learning disability, or just don’t invest themselves fully in school, finding activities that engage the more challenging student can feel like walking the tight rope in a failing circus tent.

At the very base of the learning pyramid are the foundational skills of reading, assessing, and internalizing information. For many students, being able to express and share what they have learned gives them an opportunity to further extend important classroom content.

Technology can offer an interesting development in what can feel like a losing battle.

Yes, kids love their social networking sites and chat sessions with friends, but computer-based programs might be the landscape change needed to provide students with authentic opportunities to learn.

Coupled with engaging assignments that have a personal or creative touch, many children would relish in the opportunity to breakaway from their textbooks and apply what they have learned to an organized and shareable project.

More so, tasks started on the computer are easy to store and retrieve for later use making them the perfect medium for projects that can showcase a students progress throughout the school year.

They can easily interact with archived ideas, ask themselves questions, view their growth, and share their achievements with others. Secondly- special projects can be fun and can offer a change of pace for both the student and the teacher.

Programs like Biteslide make it easy for teachers to integrate a variety of curriculum into student-driven projects. Students can create slides that integrate textbook learning with outside resources that can be found online and then clipped or cached for later use.

It offers them opportunities to assess content as they strive to put together something new and personal. They get to be the teacher and share, in their own words, what they have learned in the classroom.

While programs like Biteslide are perfect for review and one-time use projects, Biteslide is also an excellent resource for those teachers looking to have assignments that extend over an entire school year.

With Biteslide, it is easy to store information and clips for later use. The entire project is retrievable and printable. It can offer your students a special time during the week to hone in on computer skills that will take them the distance while also reinforcing curriculum learned from the previous week.

My next few blog posts will include lesson plans that can help you extend your use of Biteslide throughout the entire school year.

Some of the lessons are easy and will simply teach your students the basics of online slide presentations. Other projects will hopefully give you an idea as to how to extend your classroom curriculum into a yearlong Biteslide presentation that will be fun to make and reflective of a student’s progress throughout their year in your classroom.

If you don’t already have an account on Biteslide, sign up for free here.


Welcome Back To School

Before the start of every school year teachers browse for lessons or small projects to do with their students in between housekeeping, establishing routines, distributing a thousand school forms, and of course, administering all those placement tests. Teachers know it is critical that students not only learn about new classroom rules and routines quickly, but that they learn to work together and get along. To do that, they have to get to know one another.

The All About Me project is a classic. It’s one way for teachers to learn about their new crop of scholars while the students express themselves creatively through sharing about their families and their interests with posters, essays, and collages. All About Me is assigned to the wee ones, high school seniors, and everyone in between with the goal of facilitating introductions, giving students ice-breakers with which to start new friendships, and breaking down social barriers in addition to hitting Social Studies benchmarks.

Teacher Woes

With daily writing requirements being a critical part of the Common Core, teachers fret or become disappointed when the completed project shows too little original writing from the student. Teachers also want to avoid the project becoming an example of the parents’ best work, instead a reflection of the child’s. In some cases, teachers may even get a recycled project the student’s older brother or sister handed in the year before.

Parent Woes

Another concern with this project can be the push-back from parents who are apprehensive about using old family photos and potentially damaging them or losing them altogether. Budget-conscious families also have difficulty paying for additional school items such as expensive posterboard and craft supplies. Due to second jobs or odd work schedules, some families may not be able to offer the student much help at home with the traditional All About Me project, which may isolate the student even further come show-and-tell time.

Put An Innovative Twist On The Classic

Done in the traditional way, the All About Me project can be busy work, isolating, boring, and costly. With Biteslide, an innovative tool turns a tired assignment into collaborative project with curricular ties to Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math. Here’s how:

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Pair your students, send them to Biteslide.com, and take the role of facilitator. After a quick demo lesson, students will easily take to creating FREE lively slidebooks–digital scrapbooks with beautiful backgrounds and stickers in addition to the images, video clips, and audio files they can quickly and easily upload from Biteslide’s built-in Google search and drop feature. They will also be able to upload their own files, eliminating parents’ worries about ruining family photos or archives.

Get Them Writing

The Common Core Anchor Standards demand that students “make a routine out of writing and that the activity itself be done for a variety of purposes including offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events.” Biteslide supports loads of text, so students can journal, free write, caption, and pop-out their thoughts to seamlessly connect their writing to images, audio files, and video files. Initially, have students create a short plan for what they would like to include in their slidebooks prior to starting their work–a peer conversation guide. This will get them talking and getting to know one another in addition to establishing the expectation of daily writing.

Show And Tell

Once students have completed their slidebooks on Biteslide, have pairs of students introduce one another while projecting their slidebooks, rather than having everyone take a turn and talking to a screen. Some presentation points might include: This is my friend ____. (1) I learned that my friend ___ and I have ___ in common. (2) I learned that we are both the youngest in our family. (3) My new friend ___ is a cool person because _______. While students introduce one another to the class, designate yourself as the recorder and jot down similarities, differences, and interesting points about your students. You may even want to jot down a quote for each student.

Show And Teach

The students’ presentations and your notes will be everything you need to showcase this project. There’s nothing more welcoming to a school visitor than a colorful, meaningful bulletin board. It can also be a source of great pride to the class who created it, but did you know it could also be your first math lesson of the year? Here are some ideas for math lessons taken directly from your All About Me Biteslide.com project:

  1. 1) Venn diagrams: Ask students to find common and uncommon elements between students or groups of students, such as boys and girls.
  2. 2) Graphs and Charts: Teach percent with the data being displayed.
  3. 3) Probability. Expose students to the concept of probability using themselves rather than two dice.

Sit Back And Enjoy

You now have:

  • A solid team-building activity to do with your students
  • Influenced the beginnings of school friendships
  • Students who can work together and get along
  • Your first bulletin board
  • Taught to Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies standards
  • Gotten nods from your principal
  • Integrated these curricula effortlessly with technology

Biteslide – not bad for the first week of school.

If you’re not already registered with Biteslide, register now for your free teacher account.


Simplify Project Based Learning With Biteslide

Introduction
What is Project Based Learning?
What is Biteslide?
Planning the project
The Entry Event
Researching the project
Creating the project
Presenting the project
Conclusion

Introduction

In this article I shall give you a brief introduction to Project Based Learning (PBL) and show you how Biteslide can be used as an end-to-end technology solution for PBL projects.

There is a dizzying number of EdTech tools on the market today. Some are good and will give you a significant return on your time investment, others aren’t so good, and will lead to wasted time and frustrated students. Using an end-to-end solution simplifies the integration of technology and keeps the focus where it should be, on the project.

What is Project Based Learning?

What is Project Based Learning?Project Based Learning (PBL) is a dynamic approach to teaching where students undertake extensive inquiry in response to real-world problems and challenges.

In response to a driving question, students create authentic products and presentations that are then delivered to a public audience.

PBL projects are designed to address the curriculum and also develop students’ 21st century skills – creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

If you’re new to PBL, two of the best resources around are the Buck Institute For Education and Edutopia.

What is Biteslide?

Biteslide logoBiteslide is a creative presentation tool for school projects.

Teachers use Biteslide to assign, manage, and give feedback on projects. Students create slidebooks – a creative form of self-expression combining images, video, and text.

Biteslide works well across the curriculum and with students of all ages.

Now let’s see how Biteslide can be used used in each phase of a PBL project.

Planning the project

Good planning is the key to running a successful PBL project. If you’ve never planned a PBL project before, here is a good place to get to grips with the basics.

When planning your PBL project it’s a good idea to organise your planning into a series of project documents. Commonly these are a project form, project calendar, and project rubric. Thanks goes to Manor New Technology High School for sharing these excellent sample documents.

So, how can Biteslide help? Rather than having a static series of PDF documents stored on your school server, you can use Biteslide to create a slidebook of project documents.

This means your documents can be stored right within the project itself. They are accessible online, and can be easily copied into future projects.

Once the plans are in place and the project launch date has arrived, it’s time to introduce the project to your students.

The Entry Event

When introducing the new project to your students the aim is to activate their ‘Need To Know’. A simple handout just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Starting with inspirational and motivational content sets the tone and will energise your students.

A powerful way to activate your students’ need to know is to have an entry event. Entry events can be videos, discussions, or debates. Any format will work as long as it resonates with your students and makes them eager to learn more.

Slidebooks are a great tool to use at the heart of the entry event. During the planning phase of the project, use a slidebook to gather research and develop your entry event presentation. The slidebook format makes it easy for you to create a thought-provoking and interactive presentation as the centerpiece of the entry event.

And when your slidebook is ready, you can present straight from the slidebook to your students. You can do this from any computer or interactive whiteboard. Slidebook presentations save you time repurposing content and also provide an interactive forum for your students after the entry event has finished. They are the perfect catalyst to activate your students’ need to know.

Researching the project

Research

Typically the initial phase of a PBL project will involve some form research. It could be desk-based or out in the field. Students begin to develop their knowledge and gather the significant content for their project.

As part of this process, they’ll inevitably gather a wide range of assets that they’ll need to organise for use in their final presentation. These could be quotes, photos, videos, diagrams, and much more.

During the research phase, a slidebook is a brilliant way to scrapbook together images, videos, and text. Students can use their digital scrapbook to organise and re-organise their thoughts before putting together the final presentation.

Students can even collaborate on slidebooks and use them as a shared resource to gather and organise their research. And as Biteslide is entirely web-based, students can do this from anywhere they have an internet connection.

Biteslide has several simple, yet powerful, research tools built right into the slidebook. Students can drag and drop images straight from Google and Flickr, and even add videos from Youtube. And if they want to gather images as they are browsing the web, they can use the Nibbler bookmarklet.

But to be honest, the best thing about researching a project with Biteslide is that it’s fun. The drag-and-drop interface and easy-to-use tools take the strain so your students stay energised and can keep their focus where it should be, on the research.

Creating the project

CreateOnce students have gathered the resources they need to create their slidebook, it’s time to synthesise the research and create the project narrative.

Biteslide’s easy-to-use design tools mean that students all the way from K-12 can create stunning projects. Eye-catching extras (backgrounds, borders, and stickers) help students to bring their projects to life.

During the creative process, a project’s slidebooks are open for teachers and other students in the class to view. This means that teachers and classmates (if you’ve enabled the feature) can give feedback during the project creation phase.

Making projects authentic is fundamental to Project Based Learning. This means involving people from the outside world. Biteslide can be used to invite outside parties into the project to comment and review as the slidebooks progress. This is a great way for students to hone their final presentation with authentic input from the outside world.

Presenting the project

PresentA key milestone in a PBL project is the final presentation. As well as demonstrating what the students have learned and created, it provides focus and authenticity to the project.

Your students have used the slidebook to research, create, and now they can use it to present. A single button-click transforms the slidebook into presentation mode – an engaging showcase for your student’s work.

Presenting in person is undoubtedly valuable, but slidebooks can also be shared on the web. Embedding slidebooks into blogs, websites, and virtual learning environments (e.g. Edmodo or Moodle) is an excellent way to share projects with both inside and outside the school walls. Other teachers and students as well as outside parties such as parents or industry experts can all be invited to view and give feedback on a project.

Conclusion

We are living through a golden age of technology. Incredible new web tools for educators are appearing every day. Having choice is a good thing, but it also comes with two key challenges. Choosing the tools that meet your pedagogical needs and deploying your chosen tools in the best way.

There are no clear cut solutions to these challenges. Two good rules of thumb are to choose tools that are easy to use for both teachers and students, and keep the number of tools chosen to a minimum. As is often the case, keeping it simple is the key to success.

Sign Up For Your Free Biteslide Account Here

Are you using or thinking about using Biteslide for PBL? We would love you to get in touch. Your feedback will help us make Biteslide an even better tool for PBL.