Exciting updates at ShowMe!

Major changes have arrived for the ShowMe website this week! Take a moment to check out these new features:

  • New buttons on ShowMe lessons — Really love what you’re watching? Send some applause so the creator knows! If their ShowMe needs a little improvement, clicking Needs work will let them know.
  • Topic pages — We’ve grouped the most popular topics in one place for easy discovery. Start by browsing and then follow topics to make sure you never miss out on the new lessons being uploaded.
  • Updated news feed — We’ve expanded your news feed to let the ShowMes sit front and center. Make sure you follow teachers that inspire you so you can watch ShowMes as they’re created!
These are just a few of the updates we’ll have rolling out over the next few weeks so stay tuned!
 

Let’s thank our Teachers

Looking back, I know that I have more than a few teachers who guided me to where I am today. Their knowledge, kindness, and ability to challenge me built a foundation for the way I learn. So, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to thank them! Years have gone by and I’ve lost touch, but TBD has set up a site to show teachers just how valuable they are to their students. It’s called Thanks for Teaching Us and anyone can write a letter to a teacher which will then be posted on the site. If you browse through it and see a teacher you know, you can send the letter their way.

How awesome!? Teachers deserve appreciation, no matter how much time has passed.

 

How should we be bringing technology into the classroom?

Technology has come a long way since I was in school taking touch typing classes every two weeks. While I did hone my keyboard skills relatively fast for a 5th grader, children now have technology ingrained in them before they even enter school. Which keeps on bringing us back to the question, how should we be teaching technology in school?

Technology shouldn’t be a separate subject that needs to be taught, it should be integrated, the same way it is in everyday life. Using ShowMe to have a student work through a problem in math; Having students use Brain Scape to create flashcards to study for a History test; Collecting notes and ideas for writers workshop with Evernote; there are so many possibilities for adapting clunky traditional ways of operating the classroom.

I spoke to an educator in New Zealand recently who told me that every year, educators at a school must complete a teacher inquiry of effective pedagogy. Instead of turning this inquiry into one that looked at where students were failing and not meeting the mark, the school turned this into an appreciative inquiry that investigated questions like: What do our students love doing? What projects and subjects are they really excelling at? The school found to no surprise that students really loved using apps and devices in their learning. They enjoyed making videos to explain their learning and websites to broadcast their work to the world. This small school in New Zealand did something awesome, they listened and learned from their students. They haven’t changed the content of their curriculum but rather adapted it for a new generation.

This all said, technology isn’t the future of education. It’s just going to make lives easier and allow us to take our learning everywhere. It will aid us immensely because to students of a certain age (myself included) technology is magical and exciting, also it generates inquiry which is wonderful. Like at the school in New Zealand, if students are more engaged in learning when they are having fun, I say we should let them have it.

 

Featured User #4: Meet JR Ginex-Orinion

JR Ginex-OrinionMeet JR Ginex-Orinion, one of our original beta testers who has created numerous outstanding chemistry ShowMes. He’s been very busy lately with a happy new addition to his family, so it was great to finally sit down and catch up over Skype!

Visit JR’s awesome ShowMe Portfolio:
http://www.showme.com/jr_orinion

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I currently teach chemistry at my alma mater in Orange County, California. It was a bit strange at first when I started teaching though since I taught alongside the same teachers who had taught me in high school!

What are some tips you can share with other ShowMe teachers?
Avoid creating ShowMes that are too long – I recommend sticking to 2-4 minutes per lesson. People usually go online to search for specific topics, and you need to maintain the audiences’ attention and segment information so the main message is clear and direct. This is especially true for instructional videos.

Prep the brain by writing the ShowMe topic on the video screen from the start so people know what to expect. Remind the viewer why he or she is watching the lesson.

When you’re recording, make sure you’re in a room that has sound dampeners (ex: curtains). This will greatly affect the quality of the sound recorded.

What are some other cool tech products being used in the classroom right now?
We actually use Google applications quite a bit with the students. It’s an easy way to communicate outside of the classroom and disseminate worksheets and assignments. Doceri is also a great classroom tool, which automatically projects what’s on the iPad onto a large whiteboard screen.

What are your future plans for ShowMe?
I found Showme to be particularly helpful last year during the end-of-year review process, and I will definitely continue using it as a review tool this year. As I continue to move in the direction of flipping the classroom, I hope to eventually implement a 50/50 hybrid instruction curriculum using a combination of instructional videos and on-site teaching.

Right now I’m still brainstorming some new lesson ideas. I might create some ShowMes that help other people produce showMes. I look forward to working with other people to help produce better lessons!

Any closing remarks?
I really hope technology changes the face of education. The tech is out there, and people are finally starting to use it.

 

Technology in Hong Kong Schools

We are happy to present today some insight from Iris Qiu on the state of education in Hong Kong and how technology is reshaping the way students are taught. Don’t forget to check out her awesome ShowMes on learning Chinese (like this one on making egg fried rice)!


Iris QiuI am currently working at 3D Avatar School (3DAS). 3DAS is an online education company that uses 3D gaming technology to run live classes. It is a school that is trying challenge the traditional classroom teaching model. Being a high-tech education company, we are willing to try any new tools which can help us to enhance our online offering. And guess what has inspired us so much lately? ShowMe! It is such a useful tool. We plan to use it in following ways:

1. A demo video on our website to show how our classes use our technology platform. It is up already: http://3davatarschool.com/mandarin/

2. Free ShowMe videos on our blog: http://3davatarschool.com/teamblog/

3. Produce some video lessons as a supplement to our classes. For example, there will be ShowMe videos about Chinese Characters, Pinyin Systems, Synonyms etc. (Under development.)

4. Post videos created by our teachers, so that our clients can choose teachers based on videos they like. (Under development.)

HK Schools Receive Funding

In fact, technology is transforming the way of traditional teaching and learning. In Hong Kong, we (as educators) are not the only fans of technology.

The Hong Kong Education Bureau has been promoted electronic teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools recently. There is a three- year project – School E- Learning Polite Project that has received government funding of HK$ 60 million. True Light Middle School of Hong Kong and its three affiliate schools received about HK$ 2 million from the project fund to buy 96 iPads for English teaching.

In the meantime, the City University of Hong Kong financed itself to buy 400 iPads and iPod Touches for the newly promoted “mobile- learning” scheme.

“Around 400 students from the departments of Asian and International Studies, Biology and Chemistry, Electronic Engineering and Information Systems have enrolled in the scheme. They have been given hundreds of iPad or the iPod Touch for learning. More departments are expected to join the scheme in the new academic year.” (CityU NewsCenter)

New "Mobile-Learning" Scheme

I would say using technology to enhance teaching and learning is a trend in this century. We found that both teachers and students love iPads. This is not only because iPad is portable and has a multi-touch screen, but also because there are so many innovative apps coming out. iPads , ShowMe and many other educational apps have great potential in teaching and learning. We are still on our way to maximize their potential. Finally, I hope under Hong Kong’s high pressure, exam-obsessed education system, technology would bring some fun to the students.

 

InspireMe Contest Highlights (Pt 2)

We met the first batch of InspireMe talent in last week’s blog post – check it out! Part 2 showcases more of the fantastic contest entries along with the creators behind the lessons. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next as we enter the school year in full-swing!

InspireMe Contestants

Terry Woolard
Watch now! The State of New Jersey

The State of New JerseyTell us about yourself
My name is Terry Woolard and I am the Supervisor of Educational Media and Technology K-12 Online Learning. I hold a Masters Degree in both Curriculum and Instruction as well as Information System Management.

What inspires you?
What inspires me is watching the faces of my students light up when they understand something for the first time, when they realize they are able to achieve, succeed, Be Better. I am happily married and the father of five, four boys 16, 14, 8, and 5; and a girl 6.


Brian Davis
Watch now! Gerrymandering

GerrymanderingTell us about yourself
My name is Brian Davis, and this is my 9th year teaching in Memphis City Schools in innercity Memphis, TN. I taught computer literacy to middle school students for five years, and I am currently teaching U.S. Government to 11th and 12th Graders at Whitehaven High School where I also serve as the school webmaster. I completed the process for National Board Certification this past year, and I am waiting to hear whether or not I passed this December. I love using Showme, because it enables me to provide instruction to my students on their own time at their own pace, allowing me to give them more remediation and different learning activities during classtime that was being used for instruction. The ease of getting the videos to the website is a HUGE plus.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by seeing the faces of my students who dreaded Government because it is boring light up when they see that Government is a fascinating topic when it is taught with enthusiasm and a heavy dose of multimedia and technology. Students tell me all the time that they did not want to take Government and they took it only because it is required for graduation, but that they ended up learning more from this class than any other class because it is interactive. This really excites/inspires me.


James Sutton
Watch now! The bloomtrigger project

The Bloomtrigger ProjectTell us about yourself
My passion is in architecture, design, digital concepts and rainforest conservation. This has led me to launch ‘the bloomtrigger project’ as a revolutionary way for people to protect their own part of the rainforest. To discover more check out bloomtrigger.com. Little known facts about me… I’m learning (Brazilian) Portuguese, I keep bees and I’m part bionic (I have a mechanical heart valve).

What inspires you?
Baz Luhrmann “Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.” I agree with Baz Luhrmann on this, I think worrying is pointless. You’re much better spending your energy on thinking up creative solutions for problems rather than worrying about them. This one thing that inspires me why to develop simple, affordable and creative tools to help people to protect rainforest and I think Showme is an excellent example of an empowering educational tool.


Janine Ritter
Watch now! Chain Rule

Chain RuleTell us about yourself
I’m a secondary maths teacher from Brisbane Australia. I was fortunate to attend the ISTE conference this year and this inspired me to produce flip lessons for my math classes. The students view these lessons before my class so I only have to spend a little time at the board and the students have more time to work on questions in class. The students have responded well to the lessons and have told me they have also used them for revision as well.

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InspireMe Contest Highlights (Pt 1)

We want to extend a warm thanks to everyone who participated in the InspireMe Contest! We witnessed an incredible amount of talent and we want to highlight some of those fantastic contest entries along with the creators behind the lessons. Of course, there’s still a lot of knowledge to be shared, and we look forward to seeing what’s to come down the pipeline!

InspireMe Contestants


Spencer Leu
Watch now! Compound Interest

Compound Interest ShowMeTell us about yourself
I’m a financial guy (CFP(r) Professional) who enjoys helping people understand personal finance and investing better. I’ve spent over 10 years in the financial services industry and have held roles in service, marketing and sales. My favorite role has always been making financial topics easier to understand and helping people make better financial decisions.

What inspires you?
New concepts in education like the Khan Academy and technology that promotes this type of education like your ShowMe app.


Ixchell
Watch now! Writing a Conclusion

Writing a Conclusion ShowMeTell us about yourself
I am an ESL Instructor at a University in SoCal. I’ve taught ESL overseas, and have taught from pre-k to college level. Because I teach international students from all over the world, at all levels of Second Language Acquisition, my job is full of fun cultural and language challenges! There is never a dull moment.

What inspires you?
My ESL students, of course! They are so brave to come study a new language in a foreign country, so when I make them feel that they can overcome the fear of English, they try very hard to improve their skills. The best ideas for lessons have come from observing them. This quarter I taught English through Social Media and I’ve used ShowMe for many tutorials for students who were absent or needed review. They love it!


Laura Holmgren
Watch now! Stepping Up with ShowMe

Stepping up in ShowMeTell us about yourself
I earned my B.A in English from UC Irvine, a certificate in Web-based Instruction from Simon Frasier University, and a Masters in educational technology from Leslie University. A high school English for twenty-four years in private and independent schools in Southern California, I also coach my school’s fencing team and recently started offering an interdisciplinary, project-based elective course entitled New Media Psychology and Application. In the classroom, I might describe myself as a cross between Jane Eyre and Mary Poppins: a mix of seriousness of purpose and focus with the spirit of play that manifests in the creative use of technology rather than in magic, song, and dance.

What inspires you?
The possibility to make a positive difference in students’ lives if I can engage their interest, spark or fan the desire to learn, and help them surpass their self-imposed limits to achieve personal growth inspires me to give as much to my students as they give to my class. Learning to communicate effectively and, equally important, developing something worthwhile to communicate empowers students to then make positive differences in the world themselves.


Iris Qiu
Watch now! Chinese 上

Shang (Up) in ChineseTell us about yourself
I am currently teaching at 3d Avatar School.  I installed ShowMe when it was still at testing stage.  I did not pay much attention on it at that time.  I was actually inspired by watching my son (7 year old) playing with Showme. He was drawing, talking to himself and laughing. Then  I thought I probably can create some interesting stuff for my students. The first idea came into my mind is about 书房(study room) and 厨房(kitchen) which my students always struggled on. Chinese character 上 is actually my third ShowMe entry. I believe ShowMe has great potential in language teaching.  It is such a great tool for us!

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Building an ePortfolio: add a ShowMe to the mix!

I’ve spoken to many educators about how they might use ShowMe as a tool in their classroom and the idea of using them in ePortfolios and ePubs has come up many times. This is a fantastic use case and one that I hope to see more educators adopting. Portfolios on a whole provide an opportunity for reflection, to demonstrate progress, and to exhibit pride in ones work. Pride, I think, is the most important of the three to a student’s long term education. Pride builds confidence, it creates a hunger for learn more, and it encourages growth. It’s something that is missing from a lot of traditional educational opportunities and we need to inject it back.

That said, why do we need ePortfolios? Simple: the internet is forever, paper is not. An ePortfolio can follow a student from grade to grade, it’s not static like a stack of papers or a binder might be, and it can be easily searched with tags or good ol’ command + F. Best yet, it’s available to whoever you like, no matter their location in the world (everyone’s grandma is on the internet now, and she wants to send your work to her best friend). At the same time it will teach students to instill value in their work and direct their own course of study. As a result, they will also learn how to be better digital citizens and navigate media.
I’ve found a few places to host an ePortfolio like eduBlogs and foliospaces, as well as standard services like google sites and WordPress. I’ve yet to see a sleek timeless and simply designed example so if you know of any, I’d love to collect more resources. Also, if your students are including ShowMes on their ePortfolios, it would be great to see some examples!
 

Team ShowMe creates lessons too!

The team at ShowMe is just as dedicated as you to spreading knowledge. For the past two weeks we’ve gathered in a room here at HQ with our iPads to each create lessons to share with all of you! We’re making this a weekly event so watch out for our new uploads. You can see them first by following Ling, San, Karen and me over on ShowMe.com.

Hopefully Ling will continue her chinese lessons tonight!

 I’ve discovered San is a music theory expert! 
 And I’m no Martha Stewart but I’m sharing some handy baking tips!

If you’re ever in the area and want a live and captive audience, come grab a slice of pizza at ShowMe HQ and get your knowledge on.

 

Innovative education, it’s everywhere!

Since our launch, we have seen many thoughtful, informative and innovative lessons uploaded to the site. We continue to be impressed with our community every day! I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few ways ShowMe is being used by our community of educators.

These examples come from Brette in Melbourne, Australia. As stated in her bio, Brette is a “Primary school teacher looking to use ShowMe for student-centered learning”. We’re excited to have her as part of our community! You can follow Brette on twitter @brettelockyer and on her class blog.

Writer’s workshop conferences: This is a great way to help students get feedback from their peers and build their portfolio of writing. I love the idea of students interacting with the iPad as a class and marking up the text.

Reader’s workshop and assessment: Brette let me know that she sent home this type of ShowMe home to parents to let them know where their child was at with their reading level. For the student, this is such a valuable way to remember what they’ve been taught and also a great way to reflect. Awesome to see “chunking” on the ipad!