Making a Difference with Buncee: Amplifying Student Learning and Creativity

I'm often fascinated by the number of people I encounter at different professional development events, such as Edcamps, conferences, or even through webinars or Voxer group discussions, who have not yet heard of Buncee, or who have heard about it but not tried it. I absolutely love sharing the student creations with them, and even showing some of the ones that I have created for friends, invitations, and even birthday cards for my parents.

Having taught for the past 21 years at my current school, I have used a lot of different technology tools in my classroom, some of which have been welcomed immediately by students eager to try something different, and others which have been met with resistance by students who just didn't want to use technology at all. We all know that using technology just for technology sake is not the way to go. There has to be some purpose behind it. Always question the “why.” What is the tech tool going to do that makes it better for students, that helps them to not only retain the information, but enables them to learn in a different way.

Students not only learn the content but can learn about themselves and their peers in the process of creating and sharing their Buncees. We want students to be able to apply their learning on higher levels, not simply, just for lack of a better word, “regurgitate” the information. For example, when looking Webb's Depth of Knowledge, (DOK) we want students to move beyond the simple “recall” and to extend their learning and apply it in different and unique and authentic ways. Students need to connect the content material with their experiences, which will lead to higher learning potential as well as increase intrinsic motivation and student engagement.

We have used a lot of different tools in the classroom in the past few years, but none of them has provided what Buncee has for student learning. The students are excited to use Buncee and share it with their peers and teachers. You know that the technology is serving a true purpose when it enhances student engagement and promotes more authentic learning through student choices.

Benefits I Have Seen (and Students Have Shared)
There have been several occasions this year where students pleaded with me to use PowerPoint to create a project. I told them that I really wanted them to try something different and most of their hesitancy was based on fear of not knowing what to do, and of not wanting to learn something new. My solution was for them to give Buncee a try, and I offered very little in terms of instruction other than to just point out a few of the icons to get them started. I really wanted them to make it their own and figure things out as they created. One of the things that I like the most about Buncee is that it offers so much regardless of grade level, content area or even line of work. Young students can use it, teachers can use, adults can use it because it is not specific to any one area, which makes it a great choice for anything that a person would need to create. And that is the key here, Buncee really enables the user to create something wonderful in a very short amount of time. It is not just a tool that you can put fun pictures and animations into, it helps to foster the development of skills such as problem solving, working with different layouts, visualizing and displaying student learning. It is one thing for me as a teacher to express what I feel are the benefits of using Buncee, but I would rather listen to the students to understand what they think about it and its impact on their learning. What difference does it make for them?

Gathering feedback from students
I selected some of my students to ask about what they thought about Buncee for learning. I chose a few students who have been hesitant to use technology and others who only wanted to stick to one digital tool. I teach students in grades 8 through 12, and I wanted a diversity of opinions and different age levels involved so I could get a clearer vision of what students thought overall.

Jorge, a 12th Grader
Jorge has been a very avid fan of technology since being in the eighth grade and has continued to seek opportunities to go out and speak about the tools that he uses in the classroom and why he finds them to be beneficial. Jorge states “I really like Buncee because of all of its unique features such as being able to draw, choose to add animations, and even being able to add videos from right within the search tool, without having to look elsewhere. It really helps to engage me in learning and exploring my options. I can express my ideas more easily and make presentations which are much more interactive for myself and for my classmates.”

Jorge
Marisol, an 11th Grader
Marisol also enjoys trying new technology tools and said she really enjoys using Buncee. “It is simple to use but provides an outlet for creativity and a lot of variety in your creation. For me, Buncee’s distinctive characteristic that makes it better than other tools out there is how much fun it is. While using Buncee, everyone can enjoy the process of creating and deciding how to add in different items and selecting the layout and fonts for each part of their creation. It is made in a way that allows for students to make it really personal and specific to what they need. If students are enjoying their work and are able to make it their own, then they will be more willing to learn and will improve because of using Buncee."

Marisol

Gloria, a 9th Grader
“I love using Buncee and I have even started using it in my other classes! Buncee is better than using a Word Document or PowerPoint because you can add your own personal touch to it. I love being able to add stickers and decorating to make  projects my own. It helps me to learn better because I can relate topics to the stickers, which helps me because I am a visual learner. I remember what I created.”
Gloria

Mariana, a 9th Grader
“I really like how easy Buncee is to use and all the different options that I can choose from, especially the animations that bring life to my project. I can create anything I want and have fun while I design my Buncee.”
Mariana

Catalina, a 9th Grader
“Buncee is such a fun way to do a project. It allows students with little to no experience with computers (like myself) to create amazing presentations and projects. It is user friendly and has made my time on the computer much more enjoyable!”
Catalina
Eva, a 9th Grader
“I really enjoy using Buncee because it helps me to be creative, especially when I can create my dream room and dream house for a project. Buncee has helped me practice the vocabulary I am learning and apply it in a fun way.”
Eva


Buncee is more than just a fun way to create presentations, it provides truly authentic ways for students to learn. Not only can they use their imagination and design something engaging to help them learn, they add to the authentic resources for their peers. Looking for specific items to use to practice their vocabulary, tell a story, or whatever the task may be, helps students to focus more closely on the content in the process. They are becoming creative communicators, problem solvers, innovative designers, digital citizens, and most importantly, empowered learners. We have used a lot of different tools in the classroom in the past few years, but none of them has provided what Buncee has for student learning. The students are excited to use Buncee and share it with their peers and teachers. You know that the technology is serving a true purpose when it enhances student engagement and promotes more authentic learning through student choices.

 

Rachelle Dene Poth is a Spanish and STEAM Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. She is the Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, the President-Elect for the Teacher Education Network. She was selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology, the PA affiliate of ISTE) and by the NSBA as one of the “20 to watch” educators. She wrote chapter 3 of the Edumatch book “Snapshot in Education 2016” on Blended Learning and Chapter 4 on PBL. She is a contributing author to “Gamify Literacy” from ISTE.You can find her online at @Rdene915.

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