VirtCon Recap: Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!


David Fisher, DEN Guru from Florida, led an amazing session during the Fall VirtCon, titled Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead, where he shared a huge collection of ideas for using technology to build a multicultural learning experience. Here are a few of my greatest take-aways! If you are looking for a way to bring something new and fresh into the new year, this is the recap for you! Watch the full episode for more great ideas for implementing these tools, and more!


– Start with what you know! Comfort with a device leads to less anxiety, which leads to more productivity. We have our hands on our phones every day, so why don’t we take the connection that we have with our smartphones and bring it in to the classroom. Also, if you aren’t sure about handing your phone over to your students, don’t forget about all those phones that are taking up space in your desk drawers (and those of your students’ families). Even if they aren’t still being connected to cellular service, they will run on wifi. If you have wifi at your school, you have a lot of  FREE potential at your fingertips.

 – Make paper slide videos. The phone is a great way to do this because it’s a no mess upload! This are great for sharing and assessing content, but it’s also a great way for everyone to participate because it eases anxiety. Here is David’s YouTube tutorial

– Create Stop Motion videos for capturing changes over longer periods of time. Check out apps like iMotion HD (iOS) or Stop Motion (Android). Here are some extra resources for using Stop Motion in the classroom.

– Record your oral reading assessments using an audio recording. You can develop an audio portfolio, check back for errors, show growth, and more.

– Create Photo Conversation Starters from graphics, and use them as prompts for getting great talks started. Using your own photographs will help build familiarity and connections with our students, especially those who are developing language learners. These conversations can then lead to great writing prompts.

– Make Music…. Videos! Discovery Education and Dr. Lodge offer amazing ideas for  developing curricular understanding through music. Another great resource that my students love is Mr. Parr’s YouTube channel. He has tons of science songs written to modern songs.

– Video Scavenger Hunts are a lot of fun, too. Try letting students hunt down concepts to share, like a geometry hunt.

Wait, there’s more!

– Check out for building your own language puzzles to engage students.

Padlet (the artist formerly known as WallWisher) is excellent for sharing ideas, collaborating among peers, and breaking down barriers for our students who aren’t as comfortable speaking. These are easily shared and archived for reference later! Padlet also easily allows control of visibility for outside people.

Fake iPhone Text would be a fun way to show a conversation between historical figures or book characters. Short  snippets of writing samples, like this, allow students to build confidence and foundational skills.

Audacity can be a bit intimidating at first glance, but it’s really pretty simple to use. Students can use these to monitor their own reading for fluency, or partner up for a rich experience. Here’s a bit on the basics. Recordmp3 is a super simple alternative, that is web-based.

Blabberize is another fun way to bring animation to a still image, clip art or photo. Some more recent updates include the ability to create a “group blabber.” Students can share their learning, post to the class website, and more. The possibilities are endless! This would be fun for building characterization of story characters!

Google Story Builder is an excellent option for understanding story building and character interaction in a fun way. Students must have a clear plan and ability to concisely convey an idea. The music options are also a great way for students to begin gaining command of considering mood when publishing a story.

Learn more with David on Twitter – @davidfisher65


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