We are so happy to have Mrs. Villamil and her fifth grade class with us in the AT&T Classroom. Over the next two weeks the students are exploring several digital tools for supporting their projects and assignments in social studies.
The students started their week by exploring Google Earth. Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that allows you to view satellite imagery, maps, roads/streets, terrain, and 3D buildings. The fifth graders explored the tools in Google Earth and practiced navigating and searching for locations in satellite and street views.
This past week the students were also introduced to two design and writing tools. Adobe Spark Page is part of the Adobe Spark platform that offers tools for sharing and creating visual stories in three different media formats. Adobe Spark Page can be used for creating digital stories, newsletters (such as this one) and web pages that include pictures, videos, text, and web links. In addition to Adobe Spark Page, the Adobe Spark platform includes two other tools - Adobe Spark Post and Adobe Spark Video. Adobe Spark Post can be used for creating graphics for posters, flyers, and social media. Adobe Spark Video can be used for creating movies/videos by adding text, images, and voice-over to slides. The tool includes access to a library of free music that can be used solely or added in the background of voice-over narration. All Adobe Spark tools can be used at no cost in your web browser (including Chromebooks) or via their free mobile iOS app for ipads.
The fifth graders were also introduced to Buncee EDU, a free multi-platform tool that students can use to create multimedia projects. The platform offers an interactive digital canvas with thematic background templates that can be used to create stories, books, presentations, pamphlets, posters, etc. Students are able to customize the templates by adding animations, pictures, text, drawings, and videos. The Buncee platform also offers a very large gallery of searchable media that students can use in their projects or students have the option to import external media from their computers or other websites. Completed Buncee projects can be viewed online and/or saved as PDFs.
This past week the fifth graders also explored other countries and continents in virtual reality. Students worked in pairs using Google Cardboard Viewers, a foldable cardboard template that when assembled allows a user to experience virtual reality on a smartphone.
The students have been very self-directed in approaching their research and assignments. Mrs. Villamil has a class Padlet wall that she uses as a “warm-up” to prompt students to set goals for their project work and also uses the Google Classroom Stream as an “exit ticket” for reflecting on their learning. Padlet is a free web-based tool that functions as a virtual wall or bulletin board where people can exchange thoughts on a common topic. Users are able to post several forms of content including text, images, and videos.