Editor’s Note: This guest blog post was written by Ryan Schaaf, Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Notre Dame of Maryland University, and author of Reinventing Learning for the Always-On Generation.
Today’s learners, the members of the digital generations, are awash in a sea of information. In the past, the ideal learners were the ones that could memorize and recall information at the drop of a hat. But that time has passed us by - the human brain cannot and should not attempt to memorize all the data in existence.
Nowadays, successful learners are the ones that can transform this massive amount of information into solutions for problems or new inventions that help all global citizens. In the future, it is the designers, creators, programmers, and inventors who shall truly flourish.
“Children learn best when they are actively engaged in constructing something that has personal meaning to them-be it a poem, a robot, a sand castle or a computer program.” -- Seymour Papert
Papert's theory of constructionism believes the best way for learners to construct new knowledge or understanding is through the creation of something new and shareable, outside of their heads. These educational artifacts provide evidence of the learning process.
Getting Wixie with it
Digital tools like Wixie are an ideal “slate” for student’s digital construction projects because they allow learners to create artifacts using a mixture of visual, text, and audio tools. Here are ten quick ideas for constructing knowledge with Wixie.
Don’t downgrade the importance of visuals! Learners can demonstrate just about anything through illustrations. Ask students to open a blank canvas and draw to share their learning and thinking.
2. Before and after
Learners can demonstrate cause and effect by using the paint tools to create a before image on one page and an after image on another. As a bonus, students can record narration about each image and discuss the relationship between them.
Use the symmetry options available in the Paint tools to explore symmetry in mathematics (lesson plan) with geometric drawings or in science as they illustrate their very own butterfly or animal.
4. Visual podcasts
Learners can illustrate newly acquired knowledge using the imaging tools in Wixie, record audio narration, and share. Wixie projects are automatically online, making it easy to publish for an audience beyond the classroom.
5. Graphic organizers
Learners can take advantage of the templates or create their own using the text and clip art capabilities to create a truly meaningful and relevant graphic organizer with Wixie.
6. Mind maps
Learners are able to brainstorm and organize their thoughts into structured visuals. Similar to graphic organizers, they can incorporate both text and images into their maps.
Learners can create and publish their own stories, eBooks, journals with relative ease.
Instead of PowerPointlessness, learners can create their own slides with their own artwork. Coupled with either learners presenting the slideshow’s content or with embedded audio narration, they can use Wixie to demonstrate what they have learned.
9. Social stories
Social stories are learning tools that supports the safe exchange of information between parents, educators, and learners with autism. The authors create short descriptions of situations students with autism may experience to prepare them for the experience or model how others may respond in these situations. Since Wixie supports visual and audio mediums, creating such a story is much more meaningful.
About the author
Ryan Schaaf is Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Notre Dame of Maryland University and faculty member in the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Graduate Program. He has published 5 books on teaching the digital generations and how educators can use digital gaming for modern-day learning experiences with their students. His 2015 book, Reinventing Learning for the Always-On Generation received an IPPY Award for its contributions as a resource book for educators.
His passion is helping teachers, students, and thought leaders see the potential of using digital tools for instruction and how to leverage their incredible potential for meaningful, real-world, and relevant learning experiences.