March is a time when many school teachers celebrate women’s history. If you are among those who are taking some time to recognize accomplishments of women, here are some ideas that innovative educators can use to enhance teaching and learning around this topic.
Xtranormal’s mission is to bring movie-making to the people. Everyone watches movies and they believe everyone can make movies. Their revolutionary approach to movie-making builds on an almost universally held skill—typing. If your students can type something, they can turn it into a movie.
Students can interact with all of these videos by using the online, free video editing tool to cut and remix these clips into Women’s History montages. Innovative educators can also visit the Remix America Blog to find featured content and commentary about why these source materials are important and relevant to today.
Create a Social Network
Capitalize on your student's interest in social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and Create a Social Network learning environment for your students. Innovative educators are coming up with all sorts of creative ideas to use social networks to engage students. How about creating a network with women historical characters? Students can take on the persona of a historical woman they admire, create their personal page for that character with questions you and your students agree upon, engage in discussions, join groups that character would be involved in engage in chats as the woman they have selected, upload videos (which can be rated and commented on), and publish blog posts. One of the most popular social network creation tools, Ning is allowing educators to create free educational social networks. For more ideas about using social networks in education visit Ning in Education. If you've never participated in a social network I invite you to get the experience of participating by joining The Innovative Educator Social Network. This will enable you to have a better idea of how you can incorporate a social network into your teaching and about the value of Social Networking for Innovative Educators.
Note: In some school districts Ning is blocked. Create your social network remotely and work with your administrator or technology specialist to unblock the site you have created in advance.
Voki enables students to express themselves on the web using a talking character.
Students can customize their Voki to look like and/or take on the identity of lots of other types of human and nonhuman characters. Vokis can speak with the student’s own voice which is added via microphone, upload, or phone. Students can also choose to insert text and have the Voki use a variety of existing voices with more than a dozen different male and female accents to choose from.
Once the student Voki’s are created they can be inserted into a class blog, wiki, website, and more. From there the school community can comment on and discuss one another’s work and keep the conversation going.
These are just some ideas to inspire innovative educators in their upcoming work with students in recognizing women’s contributions. I invite readers to share your thoughts, feedback, or experience implementing one these ideas or one of your own.