Thursday, April 11, 2013

Amy Burns Explains How She Uses SoftChalk with Students

Amy Burns teaches speech communications, advanced speech, and film appreciation teacher at Dubuque Senior High School. While taking courses in AEA PD Online’s Online Learning for Iowa Educators (OLLIE) series, she was introduced to Softchalk. Read about how she uses it with students in her blended courses.

How do you use the softchalk in your blended classroom?
Amy: I use SoftChalk lessons in my blended speech class and offer access to the lessons to my “regular” speech classes through a wiki.
If you look at my informative speaking lesson found here, you can see how SoftChalk allows me to package content for my students so they can access the information anywhere or anytime...inside or outside of the school. I can communicate the learning targets to students. Once students are aware of the learning targets, I am able to to scaffold their learning by providing them with additional content, links to online resources and tools, quizzes, and videos of sample speeches.

How have students responded to the SoftChalk lessons?
Amy: Generally speaking, students have responded well to the lessons.  I keep instructional design principles in mind when authoring the lessons, and construct short lessons written in a voice students can easily understand. They find the quizzes helpful, because it allows them to prove competency around the lesson concepts and prepares them for larger assessments.

What you like about SoftChalk?
Amy: I started using SoftChalk when I was taking the OLLIE courses. I really liked the ease of lesson construction and the slick looking outcome.  SoftChalk makes it easy to create a media rich lesson that is interactive. I can search for appropriate media using the SoftChalk Media search. I have found that this feature has saved me a lot of time. In addition to the building of content, SoftChalk offers a number of activities and quizzes that help monitor student progress and keep them engaged in the lesson.  The students’ scores are emailed to me (something easy to set up in SoftChalk).  SoftChalk lets me add links, embed videos and webpages, add additional materials as enhancements, change themes and more! I can convert text documents into lessons and bring them to life with the technology SoftChalk offers.

Next steps for your lesson
Amy: I continually edit and enhance my blended lessons, especially as I see students “working through” the units.  I use students as a guide to what to change, rearrange, enhance with activities and media, etc.   I am always tinkering with my lessons.  I have found that it is easy to lose track of time sometimes when working with the lesson construction.  There’s always one more link to add, or a new video to use.  

Amy, thank you for taking the time to share how you use SoftChalk with your students.
To learn more about how you can access Softchalk for your courses, read our post, Tool of the Month: SoftChalk found here or view our Live! event here.

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