Throughout this school year, we have been using technology to enhance our practice and programming but most importantly we've been experimenting with how it can truly push our students' thinking and learning. After being introduced to PicCollage by our friend and colleague Angie Harrison (@TechieAng), we have been finding new ways of embedding this incredible app into our classroom!
As the company description outlines, PicCollage lets you instantly arrange your photos into frames - or get creative with freeform collages, cutouts, filters, borders, stickers, and text. It's like photoshop with your fingers! That being said, I felt inspired to share some of how we've been using PicCollage on my blog with hopes to inspire others.
Since before the Holiday Break, my DECE and I have been chatting about ways we can use technology to support student reflection, sharing of ongoing learning, and act as a medium for celebrating our successes. After seeing examples of how PicCollage could be used on Angie's blog (http://techieang.edublogs.org) as a way of documenting learning, showcasing problem-solving, and illustrating observations and recordings, I was instantly inspired!
To begin, we decided to create something called a "Learning Collage." This collage is created using pictures (approximately 5) that have been used to document a day's learning and embeds simple sentences to describe each learning moment.
Once put together, we showcase our Learning Collage the following morning by hooking our iPad up to our SmartBoard. We use this framework as a way to build dialogue during our Morning Meetings and it gives students a chance to think back to the previous day's learning, make connections, ask questions and give compliments.
Using different strategies like "Talking Partners," "Think-Pair-Shares," and independent think time, our students have blown us away with how they're able to articulate what they see, think, and wonder based on the learning collage! Once we share our thinking back as a whole group, we turn to our Daily Goals for the day. We decided to use "2 Stars and a Wish" as a framework for our goal-setting since this strategy allows us to give ourselves two stars for yesterday's learning (e.g. "We did a good job drawing pictures and writing our words") and one wish to pursue for the day (e.g. "We can use a book to learn more about ice").
Furthermore, our students have used our Learning Collages as a springboard for learning by looking to their peers as a form of inspiration! We have noticed them approaching each other to ask questions, practice learned skills and challenge themselves by trying something new that they saw on the Learning Collage from the morning.
Witnessing their independence, self-regulation, and pride in their learning has been more than we had hoped for when we first started this idea! To top it off, we used our students' interest and engagement with the app to introduce "PicCollage Teachers" within our classroom. After exploring the app with a small group, three SK's have taken on quite the leadership role within our classroom and have been teaching their peers how to use the app in order to create their very own Learning Collages! Safe to say, this idea has gone above and beyond what we had anticipated and we couldn't be happier! Our students are able to utilize this technology by documenting the learning of their peers, talking to them about what they are doing, and using such a user-friendly app to record their thoughts in simple sentences.
We are thrilled that our professional planning and exploration has reached new heights within our classroom and we truly look forward to seeing where it takes us next! We welcome any comments, questions or suggestions so feel free to leave me a note below! Here's to new adventures and happy learning!
Feel free to visit PicCollage's website to learn more: http://pic-collage.com
You can also follow them on twitter: @PicCollage