As a Librarian, I am often asked to help with research projects with my high school students. Some projects are truly great and engaging but too often I wonder just how interested are the students in learning something new or are they “just doing enough” […]
A team of teachers and administrators at my school identified 8 FACETS of LEARNING as part of our 1:1 Mobile Learning Initiative where we feel that mobile devices could really impact student learning. This is not an exhaustive list but represents how we need to really look […]
The school year has begun and I started a program in my Library called “Library in Your Pocket”. I was inspired by Shannon McClintock Miller and created small signcards and placed them around the Library encouraging students to download these apps on their mobile devices. I also embedded the following screencasts on our school Library page.
Gone Mobile? Download these apps on your mobile device and have informational resources at your fingertips all the time. Get access to Schoology, Destiny Quest – Library Catalog, AML Gale Databases, Google Drive, EasyBib, eBooks or general helpful educational apps. Click here for the full listing – or – click here to see a Listly list with links to the iTunes App store.
I attended an informal professional development session shared by one of our teachers at school yesterday on differentiated instruction. The session was informative and thought provoking. We all need to be reminded of ways we can best support the learning of our students. Recap of […]
For an upcoming workshop I am collecting real examples from teachers to help compare the difference between an assignment that is “a technology ACTIVITY” vs. one where “technology SUPPORTS STUDENT LEARNING”. Could you please help me out and fill out this short form:
Last Saturday during a two hour drive, my husband and I had a great discussion about learning, failure and success. We were discussing people’s attitude towards problems in your work environment and failure in general. Some folks are crushed by failure, beat themselves up, or […]
My friend and Google Certified Teacher Christine Southard tagged me with this All Students meme that was started by Martha Thornburgh in response to a discussion with her teachers about ” Do you believe that all students can meet standard?”. Martha was shocked to find […]
Jen at @injenuity shared her concerns in a post entitled, “Web 2.0 is Not the Future of Education”. She states that early tech adopters are focusing on integrating new tools in their teaching instead of focusing on LEARNING. She writes:
“Learning is the future of education. Students need to develop an awareness of how they learn. By student, I mean every human being with whom we come in contact… All people deserve the right to understand how learning happens and the power they have to control their own lifelong learning journey.
Why are we hording these technology tools like some kind of magic trick that can only be performed for those worthy enough to earn our approval? We must embrace a more holistic approach to teaching and learning…
I really just want people to start to build their foundational values as educators, without ‘Web 2.0? as part of those values. The tools can enable engagement, transfer of learning and collaboration and can open the world to the student. Please see the student before the tools and give them the power they need in order to be successful with them.”
As a technology teacher who has transformed her computer classes from skill-based to LEARNING based – I whole heartedly agree with Jen. Its easy to get caught up in the lastest gadget or software tool. I feel my goal is to teach students how to learn.
I think part of this excitement depends on your basic personality. I am a learner. I love learning new things. It excites me and motivates me.
Other people are more cautious. They question the need for change. Change makes them uncomfortable and are slow to adopt.
Is there anything wrong with either one of these approaches? No. They each have their advantages and disadvantages.
But in the classroom our focus MUST be on engaging students as learners. Technology does provide opportunities for students to connect and be creative in ways that are unique and tranformative. But it takes a passionate and educated teacher to know the best way to do that.
I admit that I am guilty of rushing to incorporate a new tool into my classroom and found the experience to be lackluster. Usually it is because I haven’t taken the time to determine how using this piece of software will best meet my instructional goals and demonstrate student understanding.
When I first heard about VoiceThread I immediately saw it’s potential to engage students and give them a voice. But without careful planning, my student’s first attempts were more like narrated powerpoints with a few audio comments that said “Good Job”.
I didn’t give up, though. My frustration with the results made me dig deeper and ask myself what is the unique power of this tool that I can’t recreate in person.
My students love to discuss and debate – but it seems that the only ones who speak up are those with outgoing personalities.
VoiceThread gives each student an opportunity to plan and share their idea or point of view in the medium they are most comfortable in – text, audio or video. The collaborative nature of VoiceThread also allows students to respond back in a way that is appropriate and safe. Eric Brunsell commented, “VoiceThread, just like PowerPoint, is pointless if students are not crafting an argument, creating art (visual, aural or written), somehow communicating authentic thinking.”
Whenever I assign a project, I like to give my students a choice on how they will present the information (video, blog, PowerPoint, VoiceThread, etc..). Students can now choose a tool that fits their personality and learning style and the focus is on the message and not the tool.
Last year I blogged about this concept of focusing on student learning:
Student-centered learning means that the focus is on the learner – not the teacher and how the material is presented. The emphasis is on how the student is learning, the choices they have for expressing their learning, and how the teacher comes to understand that the student is learning.
But at the same time, I also teach these students HOW to use the tools effectively so the project doesn’t become about the flashiness of PowerPoint or the coolness of video.
We need to do both.
Michele Martin’s comment on Jen’s entry summed it up, “It’s about using technology along with the right thinking and collaborative processes.”
One of my favorite parts about being connected in the edtech blogosphere is that bloggers freely share their professional development ideas and course goals. I was intrigued when Dean Shareski discussed his practices and his goal for his online students was to experience: Learning is […]