I have a major crush on integrating technology into student work displays. When I’m able to use technology to showcase the awesome creations of my students, my heart swoons. Read on for simple tech-based ways to display student artwork, group projects, class scrapbooks, and more!
Our Parent Teacher Organization produces fine arts presentations two times each year per class. A PTO representative presents historical information on famous artists, then the class replicates a famous art piece by that artist. Last year, we enjoyed a presentation and art project on Pablo Picasso. It was AMAZING! My students were so intrigued that we decided to do research on Picasso. Each student presented their findings in a creative format of their choice. Some chose to be living statues with a report, others created Prezis, some presented iMovies. All projects were uploaded online and linked to QR codes.
We took digital photos of the kids replicating a pose by Picasso. For the display, those photos were paired with their artwork pieces and the QR code to their project. I included posters detailing the PTO fine arts program, the curriculum and standards integrated into the learning extensions and projects, and even a fun artists’ autograph display showing off our cursive handwriting skills. It all turned out “picture perfect!”
In a previous post, "Hooray for Hands-On Math Games!," I showed how our entire grade level integrated technology into student math projects and hallway displays for conferences. Students worked in pairs to demonstrate and discuss hands-on math games. Their game write-ups were printed and displayed along with QR codes linked to each group’s video demo of their game. Additionally, posters were displayed with information and QR codes linked to Common Core State Standards math information for parents to view as they explored the hallway display.
Students learned about forces and motion, simple machines, and the engineering process. They worked in groups to create projects to be used to teach classmates, our kindergarten buddies, and parents about simple machines. Each group could create whatever type of project they wanted (Prezi, posters, iMovies, or rap songs), and all were uploaded online. Since each project format varied, using QR codes and explanatory posters to create a simple exhibit in our hallway was the perfect display option to bring student work to life!
We enjoyed a unit on figurative language, focusing on similes, metaphors, and onomatopoeia. I purchased a resource from Hope King to supplement my core teaching. As a culminating project, we read the book, The Snow Globe Family, by Jane O’Connor. Students created their own snow globe (ADORABLE craft-ivity, by the way!) and wrote a narrative about what life would be like inside the snow globe, using as many figurative language elements as possible to describe the experience. We displayed these inside our classroom, but the finished products were so wonderful, we wanted to share with others passing in the hallway. So, I photographed each snow globe and student narrative, turned the photos into a slideshow, and linked that slideshow to a QR code displayed in the hallway with posters describing the entire project process.
Do you ever feel like you accomplish so much during the year, but despite your best efforts it is difficult to share it all? Even if you have a class web page or blog, parents often miss posts due to busy schedules, tech glitches, or lack of technology at home. Last spring, I made a small display outside of my classroom during parent/teacher conferences. It included a collage of all of the topics we had learned and projects we had completed during the previous semester/trimester. Parents could scan the QR code on the poster and instantly be transported to our class scrapbook page where I house slideshows of all major events, assignments, and projects throughout the year. It was the perfect activity while parents waited for their conference!
I have found that parents love the interactive, tech-integrated hallway displays for many reasons:
Weaving technology into assignments and individual or group projects integrates 21st century learning skills and produces meaningful products.
Scanning and revealing a video, rap song, or student performance is exciting for parents!
The use of QR codes allows differentiated work to be displayed with some discretion and minimizes comparison of student work (which is more obvious and likely when every student has produced the same product for the same assignment, and all are on display next to each other).
Seeing the QR codes intrigues the parents to check out what they link to. Parents have commented on how much more they pay attention to the hallway displays when the QR codes are evident and reveal a “mystery” student product. What will they find when they scan the code? It’s fun to keep them guessing!
Don’t forget to include an instructional poster explaining to parents how to use the QR codes. Also, for events like open house or parent/teacher conferences, ask your administrator if you may check out a few iPads (or other tablet devices, if your school has them) to provide to parents to scan QR codes if they do not own personal devices. We want these displays accessible to all.