Guest blog post by Dianne P. Krause, Instructional Technology Coach at Wissahickon Middle School, Ambler, Pennsylvania
As we strive to create classrooms and learning environments focused on student-centered, project-based learning that help foster collaboration and communication, teachers are always on the look-out for digital tools and resources that are efficient, effective and fun to use.
Sway is one of those tools. It not only gives teachers and students a new way to create projects and demonstrate learning, it also makes collaboration and communication a snap. In just minutes, teachers and students can create a stunning visual presentation with a unique web URL that can be easily shared for viewing and collaborating.
When interactive content – including photos, videos, charts, documents and maps – is added, students can easily present their thoughts and ideas without having to spend a lot of time on the presentation itself.
At my middle school, we are using Sway with a variety of grade levels and subject areas, and it has become one of our go-to tools for collaboration and project-based learning.
Here are just a few of the great ways our teachers and students are using Sway to collaborate, communicate and demonstrate what they've learned.
Breaking news! Severe weather approaching!
When our 6th graders study weather, they do it to the extreme with project-based blended learning projects. The students are pre-assigned a city and are grouped geographically based on the area of the country where their city is located. Then, as a group, they have to determine which type of severe weather could be prevalent in their area — tornado, hurricane, blizzard, etc.
Students watch videos and complete activities created in Office Mix to construct knowledge about their specific extreme weather or storm. Then comes the project! In the process of creating a complete weather report for an upcoming severe storm, including information about past storms in that area, students become experts on their type of storm, the damage it can cause, and what precautions to take.
All of their information is then put together in a live or video-taped special weather "segment." Guess what platform we use to pull this project-based learning unit together? Sway! This student Sway was used as the basis for one group's live weather segment in preparation for an upcoming blizzard.
Grammar comes to life
At the start of the school year, our 7th grade Language Arts students review the parts of speech. Instead of dry, boring worksheets and textbook pages, our students worked on a collaborative project to teach parts of speech to their peers, including some type of interactive activity to "quiz" each other.
Using Sway's co-authoring link, students collaborated on their projects from the start. They used key features of Sway, like text emphasis and accents to clearly communicate their points. A few students even used the stack group option to create flashcards to assess one another. Check out a few examples of our parts of speech project on Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs and Conjunctions.
Newton's Laws of Motion and sports
To demonstrate Newton's Laws of Motion, our 8th grade science students applied and explained the three laws to a sport of their choosing. They were required to include photos, text explanations and self-created videos to enhance their explanations. Sway was used as the platform for the final projects, complete with text, images and video. This Sway showcases many of the students' projects.
Building a town
During their study of geometry, 6th grade math students were given the opportunity to put their learning into practice by working collaboratively to create a 3D model of a town (otherwise known as a Geotown). Students worked in groups to not only design their town in theory, but to actually build their town and entice others to visit.
Students used Sway for the collaborative parts of their project, and to create a travel brochure in an effort to sell their town to their peers. Check out some of our Geotown Sways: World City, Seashell City, and ZAC Town.
Everyone's a poet
When our 6th graders read the narrative poem "Love that Dog" as part of their poetry studies, Sway also took center stage. Students wrote their own poems inspired by the poems in the book, and then created a stunning poetry anthology using Sway. Teachers then compiled all of the students' poetry Sways into one large anthology. We call it the "Anthology of Anthologies."
Sway is more than just another platform to present material and create newsletters. Sway lets students collaborate, communicate and create amazingly stunning products for their project-based learning units. What will you and your students create with Sway this year?
To learn more about how we are using Sway, Office 365, OneNote other innovative technologies in my school district, be sure to follow me on the new Educator community , Twitter , Facebook , or my blog – Dianne's Digital Discoveries .