StudySync is one of the newest additions to my technology tool belt! I’ve used StudySync to supplement my traditional literature this year. It’s made it easy for me to expose students to nonfiction texts and rich media t0 honor some of the changes outlined in the Common Core Standards. Students are able to read digital texts online, annotate, listen to audio recordings, watch videos, complete writing assignments and provide anonymous peer reviews.
After a couple months of using StudySync outside of class, I discovered the mobile version! Mobile opens so many doors for me. I have a BYOD policy and encourage my students to use their devices in class.
Last Thursday, my students engaged in a Listen Edition Blast. I love public radio and was super excited to try it out. “Blasts” are Twitter-like engagements limited to 140 characters. They invite students to participate in a larger conversation with other StudySync students to discuss real world issues or topics.
I selected an public radio Listen Edition titled “Creep. Crawly. Dinner?” This Blast presented the question, “What do you think of insects as the next food craze?” which I thought would be a light hearted complement to our Lord of the Flies unit.
My students began their Blast assignment, and my room erupted in the sound of crickets. I had 32 students with a hodgepodge of devices listening to a public radio clip about eating insects. Their eyes lit up when they heard the sounds and their noses wrinkled as they imagined dining on creepy crawly insects! It was fun to just observe their reactions. They respond instantly to media!
After listening to the short public radio segment, they were challenged to articulate a 140 character response to the question of whether they thought insects would be the next food craze. Some teachers may scoff at such a short response, but it it a talent to express compelling ideas in so few characters. As social media permeates society, there’s definite value in teaching students these skills and connecting them with a global conversation.
Finally, my students were asked to take a quick poll completing the phrase, Americans and Europeans don’t eat insects because:
- they’re bugs!
- no one has yet found a way to cook or spice them deliciously.
- our cultural stigmas blind us to the value of a perfectly nutritious snack.
Click here to view a screencast of the StudySync Blast I used, so teachers can get a better sense for what it looks like!
My students clearly enjoyed the variety of short tasks wrapped up into this Listen Edition Blast. I can’t wait to hear what they think about “Tattoo Blues,” which explores the role of government in our personal decisions, or “Running Dry,” which challenges students to question who should be responsible for water conservation!