Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
- One student was sharing information
- The class was taking notes
- 2 students in the back were taking collaborative notes on a google doc
- After the presentation, the google doc was projected and students refined the google doc using their notes
- The google doc was made available to all students
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Serendipitously, the next issue of Educational Leadership ended up in my mailbox. (Yes, I still get the paper version as a part of my ASCD membership...) The issue was called "Teaching Screenagers" and the focus was educational technology.
Oddly, reading the article was compelling yet strange. As I read each page, I realized that I engaged with most of these people on a daily or weekly basis via my Professional Learning Network (PLN). Ideas and comments from individuals like Will Richardson, Shannon Miller, and Eric Sheninger littered the pages. I read blog posts, Twitter updates, and discussion boards that feature these individuals and others each day.
While I still benefited from reading the issue, it made me realize that I no longer need associations or professional journals to be the "knowledge broker" in my professional learning. I am in the driver's seat, and my new network provides anytime access to what is happening in my colleagues' classrooms and research settings.
How does this relate to students? Well, students no longer need teachers or textbooks to be the "knowledge broker" in their learning. They can get the information they need from their networks. However, they need adults to teach them how to access those networks and synthesize their ideas. Essentially, they need "knowledge mentors" to help them shape their future. What a great role for today's teacher.
Photo Credit: http://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/canadian_mortgage_trends/WindowsLiveWriter/mortgage-broker-fees.jpg
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Great news! Voki for Education will continue to be free from advertisements for the foreseeable future. They have just relaunched the site with new services for teachers. The new site will operate on a “freemium” model, but ad-free Vokis will still be free. As always, the site does not require a sign-in, so it is friendly for elementary classrooms.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use Voki:
- Have students create a character from a story they are reading. They should write a speech that embodies the main traits of the character
- Engage students when you are sick. Create a Voki of yourself giving a quick lesson, instructions, or homework. Students will be reminded that you will be back tomorrow!
- Have students customize their own avatar. They can create a test review by including the most essential information from a recent unit. Then you can embed the class’ Vokis on a single page so that students can study for the test by playing different Vokis.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
First of all, the curriculum must be flexible enough to embrace student passions. In my first session, Tony Baldassario defined passion as “when you keep doing something even when it’s not fun.” Getting our students opportunities to express their passions can help kids find the relevance of school. Students have to “own” the curriculum.
In addition, students must be held accountable without being held captive. Student progress should be documented for the purposes of noting growth. Students should not be “ranked, ordered, and sorted.” Identifying “winners” and “losers” impairs the system for everyone. Students should be given multiple opportunities to show mastery, and students should be in control of their progress. Students have to “own” the artifacts that are used to evaluate their progress.
Finally, students must evaluate information instead of simply collecting it. In today’s society, sources of information abound. Educators must teach students how to access the “firehose” of available information to determine what is valid and relevant. Every piece of writing (fiction or nonfiction) has a bias. Students must “own” the information that they discover and utilize.
In essence, it’s really all about student ownership. Students need to be in control of the curriculum, the instruction, and the assessment. When students take an active role in their education, motivation increases. It also gives them the skills that they will need to be successful in life (because life is MORE than college!).