MC Baker, Art Educator at the Fletcher Elementary School, has worked with students to produce an award-winning video featuring the technology tool, OSMO, and to showcase students’ use of the cutting-edge computer accessory with students.
OSMO works with students’ iPads and utilizes a small reflector that covers the device’s camera to allow the iPad to recognize moveable objects in front of it. Students can use the technology to learn everything from drawing and music to coding and core academics like math and reading, through hands-on games and activities. OSMO creators call the technology, “tangible learning.”
“Having our video selected as the winner by OSMO really validates how we have incorporated OSMO into our students’ learning,” Baker said. “It recognizes that technology tools are not separate and apart from academic content. Rather, they go hand in hand to support and enhance each other and offer engaging learning opportunities that would not otherwise exist. We are redefining the way students learn, and they love it.”
According to Baker, the making of the video provided students with a new and different way to showcase their work and demonstrate proficiency with academic skills.
“It was important to me to create the video with my students, not for my students,” Baker said. “It gave them an opportunity to use another art form – video – to tell the story of their academic learning to the world. That’s real integration. Each layer of the project was one more teaching and learning opportunity and allowed students to think creatively about how they show their skills.”
Fletcher students in grades three through six are currently part of the school’s “one to one” iPad program, ensuring that students have immediate access to a device when learning calls. Younger students share moveable iPad carts that may be brought into the classroom or used in the library.
Baker is one of a handful of teachers across the United States, known as OSMO Ambassadors, who participate in monthly challenges posed by the makers of OSMO. The video creation is the result of one such challenge. She frequently corresponds with the company to give feedback on the product, as well as to share and receive new ideas for its use in the classroom. Last year, Baker accompanied several students to Dynamic Landscapes, a technology conference at Champlain College, where they demonstrated OSMO and mentored fellow students and adults in its use.
“MC’s work as an OSMO Ambassador is important because there are many, many classrooms and schools that are resistant to trying new things, particularly when the new things involve expensive, fragile equipment like an iPad,” said Kira Westbrook, spokesperson for OSMO. “With the help of educators like MC, we can show other educators that not only is trying new things okay, but it’s necessary. MC does a fantastic job of that.”
“There are many different ways to learn and just as many ways to prove what you have done,” fifth-grader Lily Sweet, who helped create the video, said. Sweet and Baker collaborated to plan the major themes of the slightly more than two-minute documentary before Sweet took over videotaping and interviewing her peers and taking pictures of them using OSMO in the classroom.
The Fletcher video was selected from entries submitted to OSMO from across the country. According to Westbrook, “promoting and supporting educators, like MC, who have open minds and an eagerness for the future of education, will make a huge difference in the lives of students and teachers alike.”
As recognition for the award-winning video, Baker will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the International Society for Technology In Education (ISTE) Conference in Chicago in June, where she will showcase her use of OSMO with students
“This is a great opportunity to be proud of one way that Fletcher is integrating technology into its classrooms in a meaningful way,” Superintendent Ned Kirsch said. “It’s a bonus that they have received this recognition about technology, using technology to showcase their efforts.”
In January 2017, the Fletcher School began showcasing its work with OSMO through the FWSU Blog, Fletcher Students Explore Tangible Learning with OSMO.