SWAY IS HERE.
There are many ways to use digital tools in the classrooms, but one of the most relevant uses is for students to learn how to cooperate with reading and writing. Using the new tools Sway – students can create their learning activities as a group or as a class.
Involve students in creating
a learning activity with Sway
THE GOAL. The motivation for this assignment is for the students to develop a learning activity together in Sway. This in itself will result in a new learning activity that can be used by the teacher in class. The activity can be for two class hours, or more – and it would be smart to use brainstorming for coming up with ideas.
It’s important that the teacher in advance has informed the student about the curriculum, or key activities for the subject.
The learning activity in detail
1. Present the assignment and the tool (Sway) for the students. Show how brainstorming can be used.
2. Have the students create groups, or let the teacher decide members. They must know that they have to collaborate so that each member of the team have their say.
3. Let the students work as self efficient as possible. Sometimes inspect the progress both by talking to the students, and following the evolving Sway as they add ideas.
4. As the Sway is complete with ideas, let the group present the ideas for the class and the teacher. Commenting in a positive way, each of the suggested ideas.
5. Either let the teacher decide what activity to use for class, or sort out the most fit ideas and have the students vote. The more the students can be involved, the better the motivation might be.
6. Evaluate the activity with the students, and set a date for the activity to be implemented in education. Hopefully the students will be motivated to start their own activity if it’s set in motion shortly after finishing the idea.
THE TEACHER PREPARES. The teacher must have tried and have some basic understanding of Sway for the assignment to be successful. The students must find if they can access Sway.com and if they do not have an account – they should be helped in making on before the assignment is set in motion.
It might be time efficient to include the assignment information in the Sway, and share the Sway with one member of each group early in the project. That way the ideas of the group might be discussed before being posted – adding a level of quality insurance.
DIGITAL ASSESSMENT. For the teacher to examine if the activity has been a learning exercise for students it would be possible to use a tool like Kahoot to make a Survey (or a Quiz) – where the students can give their feedback about how they worked with the collaboration, what they learning outcome was, and what they liked or disliked. (Will add more about use of Kahoot later).
A SIDE-NOTE. Some schools might have their own guidelines in what the students can or can’t be asked to register for of digital services. Be sure to check if this will be an issue at your school before starting the assignment. The content will also be visible online, so it’s important that the students know this in advance.
BENEFITS. By using this assignment, the students will firstly get used to a new tools and a new way of putting together content as a group. They will become better at coming up with ideas together, and be more understanding about what they should learn in the subject- and how to learn.
Another great benefit is that the students will be directly involved in making their next lessons – with themselves being responsible in what they want to learn. In giving them the choice to build their own lessons – motivation should be higher than from students that are only passengers in their classes.
FEW PITFALLS. As a new tool in preview, Sway is not yet finished for the classroom. Some functions are not yet open for testing, and being an online tool (for the time being), a stable connection to the Internet is important.
Also a class with students that are not used to creative exercises will need a bit help getting started. If the ideas are to hard to make into a real lesson, the teacher must help simplify the assignment for it to be employed.
If the activity is not used, the students might feel the work they put into getting to know their subject goals and work with the brainstorming is a waste of time – lowering motivation.
SWAY FOR A NEW DAY. I have now used Sway for three months – both for presentations from the teacher and from the students. It’s a powerful tool that is easy to use, and very much centered upon content creation. It enables the teacher and student to pull content from other resources. It frees up time – and it let’s the content being created take center stage.
I will try to find more uses for Sway in the classroom in the following months, and I’m waiting in excitement for more tools and functions to be added by the developers.