On this, the penultimate day of #Appvent22, our guest contributor is an educator with 17 years of chalkface experience and who is also a USAF veteran.
Dene E Gainey is an educator and lifelong learner from Orlando, FL with 17 years of experience in education, a BSc in Elementary Education and an MEd in Instructional Technology who is also currently a doctoral student. On today’s 23rd entry on the Appvent Calendar, Dene shares SpacesEDU.
I was fortunate enough to attend FETC in January of this year and happened upon the great expo hall where I learned about many new and interesting programs and platforms in the realm of ed tech. One such platform is Spaces.
What is Spaces EDU?
Right Space, Right Time
Spaces came to me, or I came to Spaces at the right time.
Spaces opened the door to being able to design a space where my 7th grade ELA students at the time, could interact in the class feed. The class feed is visible to all students in the classroom and is a great space to encourage students to read, watch or listen to items posted and respond to them. Every student can post and every student can respond. The teacher can also post and respond to others.
The collaborative ‘group’ space is where groups are established and can collaborate on and engage in interactive discussions. This space was used for dialogue through a novel study we engaged in on the book Schooled.
In the individual space, I could encourage them to reflect on and evaluate their learning. This student was able to reflect on the level of growth he experienced as a result of his learning in ELA. The reflection takes on a form of its own, however, challenges the students to think about where they were versus where they have gotten to.
Additionally, you have the ‘activities’ area where you can assign tasks to students and they submit their finished products in this area of Spaces. These products are only visible to the teacher and the student who submitted them. When you have completed the evaluation and feedback, you can post it back for student view and if necessary, additional iterations.
How can you use SpacesEDU?
Most recently, as a culminating project this school year, students were tasked with creating/developing/building a Word of the Day city using Minecraft. Over one hundred vocabulary words were taught this year explicitly, one word a day. These domain-based, academic or general vocabulary was introduced, practised, reinforced, and included as part of our focus on vocabulary. Students were even challenged to use them orally and in their writing all year long, as we learned them, earning ‘word wizard’ points for their identification and use, as an additional way to engage students. Students began using these words of the day in their posts on Spaces, whether in the class feed, group space, or individual space.
Back to Minecraft. The students’ finished products were presented in video format. Students were tasked with being the ‘tour guide’ for their word of the day cities and were to take us on a tour, elaborating on what they created (to include the name for their city), the 50 words they chose to integrate into their city and their interpretation of how that word is visually represented by the structure they built. In several cases, students used multiple words of the day within one structure. What a great representation of triangulation and higher-level thinking!
Students used the video recording features built into the platform to record their videos as they toured us. Some students opted to use the audio-only option as they were not huge fans of having their faces visible. Other students chose to use an application such as screen recording, where they recorded the screens of their Minecraft world while doing a voice-over recording. This finished video was then uploaded within the activity where the task was assigned.
By the way, additionally available within the activity were the rubric and even examples of potential ways to move forward with the project. All through the month-long process, students had access to these items to reference. One of the items included a picture of the word of the day wall area in the classroom so that students could work on their projects even when they were not physically present in the classroom. Such work could have included planning, sketching, and identifying their selected words.
The outcome of the Word of the Day Minecraft projects was that every city and subsequent video recording was tremendous! They are all authentic, representative of great work, and truly demonstrate visual-to-word association for students. Students who presented their projects ‘live’ were also recorded and their completed videos were shared with them via Spaces as a record of their work. One of the most rewarding parts of the project was the iterations. The iterations showed growth and development. Their process was tracked via Spaces. They posted updates, realizations, things they learned, and even from other students. Another great takeaway was the live conversations that occurred in the classroom while well of this was going on. Students learned from students, helped each other, and it fostered a sense of community.
Any feedback from students?
“I loved being able to refer to Spaces to find all of my work digitally from school or home.” Student 1
“It was awesome to be able to see the ways in which other students completed their projects.” Student 2
“I got a lot of good ideas from my friends.” Student 3
To Sum Up
Spaces have remained a valuable tool in both ELA and drama. Students are able to complete daily check-ins, respond to prompts and posts as well as initiate their own. It has turned into a space where students have become comfortable exchanging with each other. Spaces have also provided a means for student collaboration whether present or absent by way of group spaces. Individual spaces allow for personalized learning and one-on-one meetings with students. Lastly, all of the student work is attached to the student and the collection serves as a great demonstration of mastery learning, work samples, and communications. Parents can also connect with the learning process through this multipurpose platform.
“Getting in the right SPACE opens the door(s) to creativity, ingenuity, and productivity.” Spaces have led my students to see that learning is multifaceted, multifarious, and multimodal, and therefore learning is multiplied.”
You can access Spaces EDU here: https://spacesedu.com/en/