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How to combine Wakelet and Flipgrid to promote teacher growth

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A Wakelet/Flipgrid mashup provides teachers with a unique tool for growth. Professional development expert Dr. Randall Sampson explains why  

One of the most empowering aspects of being human is the ability to be the author of your unique experiences. These experiences can be expressed through deeper thinking and the use of your unique voice. In K-12 schools, students have been asked to engage in deeper thinking, aka depth of knowledge (D.O.K.) Simultaneously, teachers are asked to create a learning culture that encourages students to be more self-expressive and empowered through the amplification of student voice.

Start curating content in the classroom

Typically, new philosophies and strategies for K-12 are rolled out with additional training and professional development sessions for teachers. And the typical teacher response might be a cynical, ‘Here we go again!’ But I can’t blame the teachers for their tepid response to the traditional sit-and-get professional development. In most traditional professional development models, teachers are gathered in a big room to listen to a lecture on the importance of deeper thinking and student voice. At the end of these lectures, teachers are sent on their way and expected to deliver the newly-acquired theory to their students. In my opinion, this is the exact opposite way that both professional development and student learning should occur.

The Choice Proposition

I believe that the entire K-12 professional development approach that teachers have to endure is painfully wrong! My proposition is to provide a Personalized Professional Development (Personalized PD) process that encourages choice in the learning experience and amplifies the voice of the participants. Personalized PD choice can occur through Wakelet and become a catalyst for deeper thinking. Schools are also using Flipgrid to amplify the voices of teachers, as they become the authors of their experiences. A combination of Wakelet and Flipgrid becomes a 5-in-1 Swiss Army Knife in a teacher’s professional development toolbox.

5-in-1 components of the Wakelet and Flipgrid Swiss Army Knife

1.Build deeper and more authentic relationships with your Professional Learning Network (PLN)

2. Produce on-demand and collaborative learning experiences with colleagues

3. Create a more relevant and user-driven experience

4. Curate the essential classroom learning resources

5. Create deeper and more meaningful learning by the user

How to build a ‘Big 10 Blog Review’ mashup

When teachers combine Wakelet and Flipgrid, magic happens in their professional growth. One of these magical mashup processes is the ‘Big 10 Blog Review’.  This blog review mashup is a way for teachers to customize their professional growth and align professional growth content with teachers’ self-identified specific needs in their classrooms. The Wakelet and Flipgrid mashup provides teachers with the autonomy to seek relevant resources and to develop more meaningful growth experiences. Below is an example of the ‘Big 10 Blog Review’ steps and QR codes to engage in the process. This blog review process might seem familiar to your college days of creating literature reviews.

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Wakelet has an awesome QR code feature for every collection created and shared. Instead of linking the QR code to a specific blog article, the QR code is linked to a specific Wakelet collection, which contains multiple articles. I’ve created 10 collections of blogs that I deem to be essential for educators. After I published each collection, I clicked on the share button and the QR code option appears automatically. I simply took a screenshot of the QR code and added it to my ‘Big 10 Blog Review’ collection.

Additionally, I enabled the Wakelet copy feature, which allows users to copy a collection in order to add their own personalized content and create a new collection. Users will be able to choose the Wakelet collections that are of interest to them and add specific blog articles, text summaries, or Flipgrid reflection videos to create their own customized collections. The synthesis, evaluation, and extended thinking involved in this personalized Wakelet and Flipgrid mashup curation enhances the cognitive demands of learning. The ‘Big 10 Blog Review’ is an example of how teachers can engage in a choice-driven professional growth process, coupled with deeper learning experiences. Not only is this a great tool for professional development, it’s also something teachers can use in the classroom with their students.

Please scan the QR codes below and give it a go!

QR codes for teacher growth

Wakelet and deeper thinking curation

1.As a teacher, choose one blog, or a combination of blogs, that focus on a relevant learning theme of your choice

2. Organize the relevant blogs in your newly created Wakelet collection

3. Use the Wakelet text feature to summarize key items from each blog

Flipgrid and amplified voice

1.Teachers can read any combination of blogs or articles that seem relevant to their current professional growth needs

2. Use Flipgrid as a tool to reflect on the key takeaways from each blog post. Talk about what can be used in the classroom and how you plan on using it

Start curating content in the classroom

3. Curate your best Flipgrid reflections, that you would want to share with your colleagues. Once you upload your Flipgrid reflection videos to a Wakelet collection, don’t forget to add links to the blogs as well. This will provide more context to your reflection

The application of your ‘why’

1.Submit curated items for graduate credit toward your licensure renewal and possible salary advancement

2. Submit curated items as evidence for your formal or informal teacher evaluation appraisals

3. Share your curated items as on-demand Professional Learning Community (PLC) resources for your colleagues

4. Use curated items toward the development of your classroom learning culture

5. Use curated items as community engagement resources to share with parents

Case study: Wilson Preparatory Academy, North Carolina

The teaching staff at Wilson Preparatory Academy conducted a Wakelet and Flipgrid and Usable Knowledge literature review as their Personalized PD self-directed growth experience. The staff used one of the ‘Big 10 Blog Review’ components, Usable Knowledge-Harvard Graduate School of Education. During the staff’s Personalized PD experience, they were able to select an article of interest and use Flipgrid to reflect on the key components of the article. Flipgrid videos were then saved to a Wakelet collection, alongside links to the specific articles and additional resources. This is a great example of crowdsourcing and personalizing a more meaningful learning experience. The school also used this mashup experience to enhance their vertical alignment improvement goals, established through their AdvancED Accreditation.

Deeper thinking and student voice are both powerful as individual components. But bringing these superpowers together can lead to magical learning. All professional development should have the intent of being transferred directly to classroom practices by students. The ‘Big 10 Blog Review’ example is a process curated in Wakelet and one that can be used by students during their research or application of learning. The mashup is a personalized experience with unique outcomes. It will be interesting to see the reflective practices created by the humans as they use Wakelet with other EdTech tools.

Randall G. Sampson, Ph.D. is the founder of Liberty Leadership Development. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn @RandallSampson