What I've Learned Creating with Crio

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Teachers can be the worst students. Just take a look at staff meetings: we’re playing on cell phones, passing notes, doodling, or making grocery lists. But give us an opportunity to expand our knowledge on our own terms, and we’ll run with it. We really do enjoy learning, which is why we do what we do! And we believe learning can happen anywhere at any time.

These ideas are the core of my school’s Choice Academy -- a learning opportunity for students who do not function successfully in a traditional high school setting. Perhaps the distractions (like cell phones) are too tempting, or the anxiety of being in a large group is overwhelming, or maybe students help support their families and have work schedules that conflict with normal school hours. Situations like these make a student eligible to participate in the Choice Academy. Courses are delivered online through platforms such as Connexus, Google Classroom, or Canvas. Because I’m an elective teacher, my Choice Academy courses can be administered any way I choose. I put the material together and present it to my students virtually. Last year I relied on some poorly voiced-over slideshows typical of an online college course.

Enter Crio, which has been a learning opportunity for me -- a new, exciting way to present information to students. My poorly voiced-over slideshows are all but deleted from my USB drives! Crio lets me organize lessons in a logical way while allowing students to work through the material at their own pace, exactly what Choice Academy is all about.

Crio's drag-and-drop interface makes creating a lesson easy.

Crio elements include text, audio, and video, along with multiple question formats and Google Drive items like Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Slides. Crio accommodates additional learning opportunities for students who work through material quickly and want to explore further while offering reinforcement for those students who may need the assist. Crio supports individual learning styles with a single version of a lesson. Show me a worksheet that can accomplish that!

Crio presents information in a non-threatening and expandable way. Traditionally, I would introduce a topic with a slideshow and spend most of the time lecturing. Boring! Even when I provided printed pages of guided notes with fill-in-the-blanks, students tuned out. With Crio, they don’t need to take notes. All of the information is right at their fingertips through a variety of interactive formats including tables, accordion-style dropdowns, pictures, videos, and audio files. Show me a slideshow that engages like that!

Crio also allows students to work through multiple-choice, short-answer, and long-answer questions while checking their knowledge, without the pressure of a grade. I can customize feedback for an incorrect response, encouraging students to rethink the question and realize WHY a specific answer is correct.

Crio features like this accordion allow teachers to scaffold key ideas for students.

Many students simply memorize information instead of truly synthesizing it. Crio supports multiple opportunities for comprehension and application, not just memorization. Show me a standardized test that supports instruction like that!

The possibilities are vast with Crio. I am still learning, and Crio teaches me more every day. Now I don’t just  imagine an ideal scenario for instructing my students; I can make it a reality.

Teachers are in the business of learning. And with Crio, the learning never stops!

Want to learn how to create with Crio? Here's an overview:

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About Author

Meredith Rakowski

Meredith Rakowski is an agriculture instructor at Clayton High School in Johnston County, NC. She holds a BS in Animal Science and an MS in Agricultural and Extension Education, both from North Carolina State University. In addition to teaching, she advises the Clayton High FFA Chapter, training competitive teams in agricultural industries for regional, state and national events. Outside of school, she and her husband David live on and operate a 35-acre farm with horses, goats, dogs, and cats.

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