Thursday, August 01, 2019

Best of the Katch

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in August 2019 and is re-posted here with permission.

As I approach the end of my seventh year (and 84 posts) on Kathy’s Katch, I decided to look back and highlight some of my favorite posts.
As you grab those last days of summer vacation, remember how far we have come with meaningful technology use in the classroom. A big thank you to Discovery Education for continuing to lead the way with tools and resources to support our efforts!
My first post, in September 2012, “Your virtual blue binder”, concentrated on the teacher and student toolbox of online tools to support curation and organization of virtual information.
Although some of the tools are no longer with us (RIP Google Reader), using online tools to organize information, and get to it easily, is still as important today as it was then. Although the search engines built-in to a lot of these tools help, keeping assets organized still works best, IMHO.
The types of organizational tools I included were:
  • Aggregators
  • Capturing tools
  • Curation tools
  • Online file storage
  • To-do lists
If you are still at a loss on how best to help students organize their virtual lives, take a look! Many teachers also added their favorites in the comments of that post.
Early on (2012), I began to think abut the use of infographics to support teaching and learning. My first Katch post on the topic was in November of 2012.
The focus of that post was how to create an infographic to use for advocacy or promotion. There are some many things in schools we need to advocate for (budgets, student needs, scheduling, need for a new SETM lab, etc.) or promote (statistics from the Media Center, growth in test scores, etc.). I felt that using infographics could be a unique addition to a formal presentation on a topic.
I have included infographics in many of my Kathy’s Katch blog posts, but, in my series of posts “Literacies for the digital age”, I again targeted the use of infographics as a summative or formative assessment in the Data Literacy post in 2015. In this post I outlined the different types of infographics and supplied additional tips and resources.
From September 2014 to June 2015, I published a series of blogs posts targeting the literacy skills our students needed to attain. In each post I provided information and tools to use for educators and students.
The literacies I have identified are:
Here are direct links to each of the posts:
I think the most popular Kathy’s Katch post was the August 2016 post entitled “Pokémon Go in the Classroom”. Pokémon Go was all the rage, and we were all searching for ways to use it to support teaching and learning across the curriculum.
With the help of others, I was able to come up with some interesting ways to bring the AR game into the classroom. Here are some brief overviews, but the post goes into more detail!
  • Data literacy: students can track the time and date stamps in the program or their hourly/daily/weekly collection of “captures”
  • Virtual reality: have students take a 360° image of the Pokéstops, special places in the game that showcase historical landmarks and attractions
  • Digital storytelling: students could take their screenshots from within the program and use them as the basis for a story
  • Mapping: as students travel around, the program collects GPS points of their “captures” so have them map these points on a map
  • Infographics: Have students use the data from their daily journal or number of steps taken to create an informational infographic
  • Poké podcasts: Have students create a podcast about their experiences
Pokémon Go is still alive and well, and since there new additions to this massive multiplayer reality game, like the Harry Potter Wizard’s Unite and Minecraft Earth initiatives, this blog post might be worth taking another look it to embed these new games into the curriculum!
I began to investigate augmented reality to support teaching and learning in 2017, and the August 2017 post reflected that interest.
AR was just in its infancy at that point (pre-Merge Cube), but creative teachers were already finding ways to use it in meaningful educational ways. Take a look at the post for some background information, and then check out my AR information on Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything site for the newest, coolest stuff!
I really enjoyed doing the research for the July 2018 post about Creative Classroom Configurations. To sit back and think about all the ways a classroom is used and be able to move things around when necessary is great! Classrooms should all be designed like kindergarten classrooms, with large group areas, work areas, quiet single spaces, and small group areas.
In this post I include some of the research dealing with how to foster creativity in your classroom, which is helped along by flexible classroom design. I also include tons of ideas from other to do this “on the cheap”!
The March 2019 theme for Discovery Education was STEM education. I decided to concentrate my post on the various thinking processes and how they can be used to support the areas of STEM.
In the post, I provided an overview of the the three main thinking processes I felt would work — Bloom’s Revised and Digital Taxonomies, Computational Thinking, and Design Thinking.
Design thinking can be used across the curriculum, as can the others. However, as s process, I believe it is a perfect one for the STEM area. The higher order thinking processes, design, iteration, creation and reflection all are life skills!
There is a great K-12 model of design thinking, developed by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani, called the LAUNCH Cycle. Take a look at the video below to learn more about it, and then visit the post to find out even more!
I also covered STEM resources and college and career readiness in an earlier Kathy’s Katch post in May of 2017.

What are your favorite posts from Kathy’s Katch and why? Please share your thoughts on Twitter! #kathyskatch