BISD Educator Spotlight

Who says that teaching stops when the bell rings? Josh Grizzelle, a 5th grade science teacher here in Birdville, is using Web 2.0 tools to take advantage of “teachable moments” whenever and wherever they occur. Among the tools Josh is using:

  • WetPaint wiki–This serves as Josh’s class website and hub of student information. The wiki includes curriculum information, assignments, student video projects, external links, videos for reviewing concepts, class materials, discussion threads, and more.
  • YouTube channel–One of the coolest things about the resources Josh has made available to his students is that most were created by either Josh himself or his students. On his YouTube channel, visitors can see examples where Josh took advantage of opportunities such as a lizard he encountered locally, a trip to Yellowstone, or an expedition to the Big Bend area of south Texas. Rather than letting such events pass by, he used a video camera to create a teaching tool, passing on knowledge to his students as he learned it. Youtube
  • Student videos–Assessment is, of course, an ever-present reality. In our district, focuses on programs such as Continuous Improvement place even greater (excessive might be more accurate) emphasis on assessment. Students can grow numb to the repetitive pre-testing, formative testing, and post-testing. In Mr. Grizzelle’s classroom, students are given the opportunity to forego the paper-and-pencil drill each six weeks period. Rather, they create videos to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts. The videos are hosted on Josh’s YouTube channel and embedded into his class wiki.

Josh’s students are applying and gaining many critical, 21st century skills, including media literacy, creativity, collaboration, communication, initiative/self-direction, etc. They are also very likely to be much more motivated to create and use technology-rich, real-world products, as opposed to the resigned compliance so typical of many students being force-fed traditional curriculums, assignments, and assessments.  The level of technical ability required to do the things Josh is doing is relatively small, by the way. The main commitment is the time it takes to do initial setup (of the wiki and YouTube channel), ongoing maintenance (similar to writing lesson plans, creating materials, etc.), and some time to edit/publish video projects. The payoffs include engaged, highly-achieving students and a wealth of resources available 24/7.

2 Comments

  1. Good stuff, Randy. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. carmen stanfield

    March 5, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Hello Randy,

    Your blog is information packed. This is great? It has many useful tools that I really enjoyed. I had to get a plethora of plug ins to see many of the sites like an updated flash player, javascript, and Microsoft Windows Media Player, Quicktime. The steps are always so unexpected. For instance, I had a dialogue box that said I had to validate my Windows program as genuine. I got a reading that my Windows program could not be validated. I ran the install program again, and the validation came through. But, these type of problems are constant in trying to learn new programs. You forge ahead and hope for the best.

    I am trying out http://animoto.com/ to learn to do multimedia projects. I have not figured everything out. I am trying to figure out how to transfer video clips as saved items in my Flash player. The site at http://usend.io/ (Send files up to 100mb via email.) will be useful, I hope, because video clips take up a lot a file space. This site may use video streaming that will help transmit and view the files a lot faster.

    Thanks again for the informative sites. They are very helpful.

    Carmen Stanfield

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