Editors Note: This blog is a guest post from Jennifer Sturge the Coordinator for School Libraries in Calvert County Public Schools in Maryland.
In 2007, I attended my first Maryland Association of School Librarians conference where I still remember two stand outs: Joyce Valenza’s keynote and a little product called Pixie. After returning to my school, I promptly begged the Parent Teacher Association to purchase Pixie for my school library. It is hard to believe that 14, nearly 15 years later, I’m still in awe of the program!
Pixie evolved over time, becoming web-based Wixie and so much more interactive, intuitive, and accessible. I guess when you find something that works, you stick with it - through the changes and because when used instructionally, Wixie makes a huge difference in the creativity and critical thinking of our students.
So, yes, I am still wild about Wixie. Let me tell you why!
Wixie is for Everyone
Wixie can be used by students in Pre-K and beyond. The primary interface is simple enough that young learners can navigate and learn important skills such as mouse handling, click and dragging, resizing, and design. The standard interface is also sophisticated enough that pre-teens and teens can use it for creating green screen projects and digital animation!
Wixie is Accessible
Accessibility is everything. With Wixie, teachers can record directions orally, have them written out for students, and ensure every student has the method of understanding that works for them. Wixie can even run in Spanish to support our language learners and help them focus during content learning.
Students can use Wixie's text-to-speech options to not only hear text (and highlight each word as it is read) read aloud, they can select an image in Wixie to hear the name or alternative text entered by their teacher!
Students can type or record responses, as well as draw pictures, to explain their thinking and share their learning. Wixie works across devices and can be used with a mouse or with finger touches on a tablet, helping us meet the goals of Universal Design for Learning.
Wixie is for ANY Content Area
Math, science, social studies, art, library, physical education, English - you name it - Wixie can be used by any content area. The vast collections of folders and activities cover all grade ranges and contents. The templates can be used by any age and any grade and customized by the teacher.
Wixie is Student Friendly* (this is most important in my world)
Students love Wixie and this is the most important thing that makes using Wixie successful with our students. There are so many ways for them to show their creativity, show what they know and utilize the bells and whistles in the platform - that’s what it’s all about. Learning is so much easier when they want to and enjoy doing it!
That’s why I feel like in my school district that as long as there are students, librarians, classroom educators, and school, Wixie will be one of our most utilized platforms in our district. Where there is Wixie there is a way!