As educators, we are always eager to find new and creative ways to engage students. We are even more eager to find ways to engage the students that are challenging. Overcoming student resistance is not easy, but through experience I have found using Buncee is one way to reach the “hard to reach."
Use of technology is a broad topic: you can use it to engage and empower students in various ways. Taking a closer look, Buncee’s user-friendly format allows for students to start the process without intimidation. I am currently the special education teacher in a fifth grade integrated co-teaching class. The students have a wide range of cognitive abilities and various learning styles.
Buncee is a web-based application for creating presentations with endless possibilities. It's a cloud based digital canvas, with the student as the academic artist. So, that all sounds exciting but how does that help the student who exhibits low motivation and who is seen as difficult to engage?
Let’s Discuss Strategies:
1. Allow for exploration, without teacher expectation.
Sit with the student, introduce Buncee and encourage exploration. Students become engaged by Buncee’s user-friendliness and simple design. The goal is simply student engagement. Begin a conversation with the student about their experience with Buncee, without giving feedback. There will be plenty of opportunities for teacher feedback later on. Teachers should have the student share what they have learned thus far, this will quickly increase motivation and empower the student. This initial experience will allow time for reading, problem solving, and increasing language skills.
2. Student Choice
After exploration, ask the student if they would like to create a Buncee. They are sure to say YES. This open-ended question allows students to explore topics that are meaningful to the student. In order to achieve full engagement, tasks must be meaningful. Some students may give up before they pick a topic. If that happens, think of what you know about this student and guide them through the decision-making process. Students with low confidence tend to struggle with this. It’s important to emotionally support this process by providing intermittent positive feedback. Students are in charge of their learning, choice allows for built-in differentiation of their work. Students can choose and create what they can handle. They will start with using basic slides, stickers, adding text and pictures. Quickly, students will discover the video component, 360 degree photos, as well as voice recording. Student often discover the multimedia options quickly. If students are stuck, teachers should show one feature at a time and let them practice. During future sessions, teachers are encouraged to conference with each student, allowing for edits and teachable moments to arise. I suggest keeping edits to a minimum; remembering the goal is engagement - teachers over-editing can decrease motivation quickly. Save other features such as clip and stitch for future sessions, however students may discover advanced features on their own.
3. Turn-key learning
Ask the student if they would like to show some of the other students what Buncee has to offer. I suggest teaching a small group over a whole class. Whole class learning does not usually appeal to the struggling learner. The teacher should have a close proximity; and provide emotional support. This type of lesson sharing will appeal to the whole class.
4. Built in Modification
Using Buncee, students can access content of their choice and on their level with ease. Students will begin their Buncee work exactly where they are academically. Students can can explore through print and music.Using Buncee students will begin the process exactly where they are. Differentiation provides different learning opportunities for different learning styles. Interests and academic level are always taken into account. Students will guide that process through their interests.
5. Share without judgement
Student sharing will foster empowerment. It allows for student communication in the classroom community. In addition, students can show what they have learned. Buncee is a great way for students to present what they have learned. This will allow the teacher the chance to encourage student reflection. This leads to growth, and strengthens the teacher-student relationship.
The best way to try Buncee, is just try it!
Lisa Stutts is a 5th grade special education teacher at Northern Parkway School in Uniondale, NY.