Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Instagram for Collecting Observation Artifacts

Students enjoying water colors in art class.
Saipan International School uses McREL Power Walkthrough for teacher observations. It is a great tool that I really enjoy using, because the program focuses on the learning that is happening in the room. I noticed in a recent update that McREL added a camera icon to the walkthrough forms, so an observer can add a photo. I was happy to see that now it would be easy to click a photo of what was happening in the classroom at the moment I was there as a visual record. Photo artifacts are a great extra tool to use and it is nice to be able to show a photo of a teacher teaching or students learning when you talk with parents, students, and teachers about learning. I loved the idea, but felt that it needed to be taken one-step more -- social media! If you are an avid or casual follower of my blog, you knew I was going to go there, because I'm Mr. Social Media, right? But I think it is wonderful to be able to share what is happening in classrooms with the community. Parents should see their children actively engaged in classes and enjoying their school life; plus, it is a great advertisement for our school. What I have been doing this year during walkthroughs is to take a photo or two of what is happening and then sharing the photo with Instagram. Instagram is great because I can do some simple editing of the photo and then send it out to Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, so I hit all my major social media outlets in one quick share. It spreads the word about the great things are teachers are doing with their students to the entire community. Especially when I throw on a few hashtags to the post like #saipan #cnmi #sisgeckos and then a hashtag for whatever the subject is like #art in the case of the first photo in this post or #english for the second photo. The teachers are enjoying it as well, because many of them don't have photos of them in the actual act of teaching to put in a portfolio or to share with their families. Everybody wins!
Ms. Bevas providing feedback and guidance.