Flat Stanley Redefined

This Flat Stanley traveled among 22 cities and 10 countries including Brazil, Chile, China, England, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, and the United States!

A group of second grade teachers was looking to reach a broader range of friends and global connections with the Flat Stanley project. They had progressed from the traditional stamp and envelop model to emailing and receiving Microsoft Word Documents that contained text and photos from different countries around the world. While this switch did increase the breadth of connections- the organization of emails, ever increasing size of Word Documents with numerous images added, and desire to compile all of the incoming information in one location proved a hassle. Upon sitting down and investigating which universal collaboration tool might create a more streamlined experience, we decided on Google Slides. The free tool allows for real-time collaboration and the only thing needed for functionality is an internet connection, as Slides is cloud based and software is not necessary.

The process was as follows:

1. The team of 8 teachers collaboratively created a single Google Slides template.

2. Each teacher “made a copy” of the original document, adding some minor personal adjustments pertaining to their classroom.

3. The presentation’s share setting was set to “anyone with the link can edit.”

4. A screen cast tutorial was made to provide directions for recipients on how to add content to the Google Slides presentation.

5. An email was sent out to parents introducing the project, and parents assisted in forwarding the link of the presentation and tutorial out to friends and family living abroad.

6. Friends and family added to the presentation.

7. As the presentation was updated, students and teachers witnessed how far their digital Flat Stanley was traveling.

8. Students and teachers broadened their global connections and understanding of different cultures.

Here is the “Travel Journal”

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DTs SCAMPER with Tech Tools

This SCAMPER activity was adapted from the MSU, MAET Overseas Cohort Year 2, lead by Sean Sweeney and Emily Bouck.

SCAMPER is a mnemonic device representing: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse. Generally, questions are asked around each of the different focus areas to provide a protocol when brainstorming ways to improve, repurpose, or create new products, from existing products.

Prior to getting started with the actual SCAMPER-ing during our DT meeting this morning, a few DTs voiced how they had heard of teachers using this tool for creativity lessons in the classroom before. Therefore, some prior knowledge existed and was shared. In addition, DTs were also asked to pre-read a brief article prior to our session together, so everyone who entered the meeting had at least a minimal amount of exposure to the topic. We then provided pairs of DTs with a random technology tool that is widely used at ASFM; a laptop, headphones, a remote, a USB, a wireless keyboard, an iPad, and a landline phone. Next, pairs of DTs worked through the SCAMPER model, inserting their ideas collaboratively on a Google Spreadsheet.

After approximately 10 minutes of working through the SCAMPER process, DTs were asked to use an additional lens while looking at their assigned tech tool: How would you put this tool to use without a power source- no electricity, battery, or alternative source of energy? Pairs were provided 5 minutes to develop their lists, they then shared their top 2 ideas with the rest of the group. Below is a screenshot of how our DTs altered the use of technology without the use of power.

Scamper

Of course, after the process we reflected on how teachers might use this SCAMPER process with their students to promote learning, or within their own daily teaching practice. Some discussion points were:

  • It is a great problem solving tool, it provides a process for considering multiple ways to complete a task.
  • It provides an opportunity for the exploration of alternate uses for a tool, and questions what you consider to be the original purpose for that device.
  • It opens the door for developing 21st century skills naturally.
  • It creates dialogue when tools are viewed as obsolete, if people were in need of a tool or device, how could we reuse it without throwing it away?
  • It allows for the repurposing of tools.
  • It promotes creativity and thinking outside the box.
  • It allows students to combine ideas and tools to improve what they are already doing.
  • These tools were not initially designed for educational purposes, yet we see them being used in education frequently, which means SCAMPER-ing has already been done in both education and at ASFM.

In our next meeting, the ELEM DTs will be preparing for a full staff tech training. Following that, we will be having guest DTs sign up, plan, prepare, lead, and reflect on their own activities during our team meetings. I’m looking forward to further collaboration, creativity, and learning from within the DT team at ASFM.

Here is a video that might be used for introducing the concept of SCAMPER to students: