The first session I attended today was all about bullying, with an emphasis on cyber-bullying. It was nice to refresh some knowledge on bullying, including what does and what does not qualify as bullying. We talked about the types of bullying, the types of bullies, and the types of victims. I also found it very interesting to learn about what schools do or do not do in terms of creating bullying policies.
We discussed common things that people think help, that really don’t, and things that we should do instead. While we didn’t get any real “cure” for bullying, we instead focused a lot on what we can do proactively in school to help eliminate bullying, get students to feel comfortable reporting bullying, and to involve bystanders to be more than witnesses.
The focused time on cyber-bullying was a little scary, in terms of what is going on, and what the trends seem to be. Many people, and schools, treat it as a gray area. When is it appropriate for the schools to step in, and when should it be handled by parents? It is a tough call sometimes. I am anxious to take back to school some of the conversation starters that we discussed and create posters to review cyber safety in my classroom, and have individual meetings with students based around bullying.
My second session of the day was focusing on using one app, which was great. Instead of seeing a whole bunch of information and having to go through it on my own, we went in-depth into Explain Everything. Did you know we had that app? And that it was paid for by our district? Maybe you did, but I bet at least some of you didn’t.
Explain Everything was described to me as a “core app” which means that it does the all the things that you might have had to use 4 apps to do. It is also an app that can be used for all subjects. While we all know that there are other ways to create slide shows and power points, this program is easy to use (it has a simple and complex mode) and allows for a lot of creativity.
We saw student examples of projects using Explain Everything, one of which related to our middle school D.C. trip. Take a look for yourself. You can post videos directly to YouTube from the app itself.
This program allows you to easily add animation and record your voice to make a slide show into a much more engaging experience for everyone. Story boards, experiments, solving equations, creating student-led lessons, newscasts, and music videos are just a few of the projects that this app could lend itself to.