Artifact #5: Romeo & Sophie Photostory (TE 831)

Artifact #5: Romeo & Sophie Photostory (TE 831)
Program Goals:
2, 3
2, 6

            In this informative Photostory, I created for TE 831: Teaching School Subject Matter with Technology, Romeo the Greyhound and Sophie the Airedale discuss who can run farther.  Unfortunately, Romeo is confused about customary conversions from feet to yards.  Sophie is a college educated pooch who helps Romeo learn about proper conversion techniques.  This digital story was designed for upper elementary students who are being introduced to the idea of conversions.  It addresses US Customary Conversions of feet to yards, and then again from yards to feet.  In my school district, this concept is part of our fourth and fifth grade math curriculum, and I designed this digital story as an interesting introduction.

            “Customary Conversions with Romeo & Sophie” is an example of one of the ways I have worked to strengthen my instructional skills as an educator.  The use of technology to help make curriculum accessible is connected to the TPACK theory that states, “[technology] integration efforts should be creatively designed or structured for particular subject matter ideas in specific classroom contexts” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).  In this TE 831 project, I effectively utilized technology to present curriculum through a creative medium, while relating to students’ lives in an interesting and meaningful way (Standard 2 & Goal 2).  Many of my students love to hear stories about my pets; therefore, I decided that using my dogs as the main characters would be helpful in gaining my students’ attention and helping them become interested in the topic of conversions.  I was also able to make a contribution to the field of education by sharing my Photostory on customary conversions on YouTube (Standard 6 & Goal 3).  Now other teachers and students will be able to access and utilize this curricular tool in ways that I may not ever know.  I am hopeful that my work will help at least one student understand conversions.

            This artifact has taught me the importance of understanding how to effectively capture the interest of my students.  Because I knew that many were interested in hearing short vignettes about my daily life with dogs, I thought the animals would be a simple and easy way to quickly create interest in this topic.  Many of my students accessed YouTube at home to share this video with parents and siblings.  I recall feeling their excitement and enthusiasm the first time they watched the Photostory.  My fourth graders were impressed that I was able to make a professional looking movie-clip, which easily led to the introduction of Photostory projects within my classroom.  This new presentation tool encouraged many students to select a Photostory project at the end of last year.  I am hopeful that I can continue to build my technology skills and bring my 21st Century learners an array of digital curricula tools to help invigorate our learning at school.


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