Archive for May, 2007

Reading Vocabulary and Technology



Vocabulary is the basis for good reading not only in English but in other subject areas.

English teachers can show the students a thematic based picture of vocabulary items at the start of each lesson. For example, the teacher may show a Google picture of twenty different animals and have the students, in groups of two, identify each of these. The teacher can have a whole class review. This brief daily vocabulary review helps the students increase their vocabulary.

When students identify which word in a group does not fit, they are sharpening their vocabulary reading skills. The teacher can show four words such as A-Robber B-Thief C- Villain D- Crook and the students respond with their Personal Response System clickers.


Students can be given a word and they create an Inspiration map with meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and the word used in a sentence. Students can compare each other’s maps. In addition, students can create associated word maps for a given word such as war. They can use the Flickr third party program of airtightinteractive to see various other words (tags) associated with the initial word.

As students use electronic talking books, the books read to them and pronounce words. These books can be CD-ROM or online.

How else do you use technology to improve students’ reading?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007





YouTube Instructional Videos- Let’s Improve Them!

Golden Star

Last night I watched On the Lot in which amateur movie makers have one minute to show their story. I’m fascinated by how much can be told in a minute. Look at the story that commercial tells – some in fifteen seconds. When I compare these videos to a multitude of teacher and student made YouTube-ish videos, I notice several startling differences.

Videos get you into the story immediately. Many teacher and student videos take a long time before we even know what the story is (other than the title). Music plays for 15 seconds and then a title slide appears. In another video 1/7 of the total time was in a song which had nothing to do with the teaching part of the video.

Videos get to the critical part of the story quickly. Many teacher and student videos describe what they are doing without telling what the students are learning. “We had fun doing this experiment. We opened the rocks……..” So what did “we” learn? Have students tell more about the important part (learning) than the description part (actions). Have teachers focus more on explaining what the experiment did what it did.

Videos do not repeat the same story over and over. Many teacher and student videos have groups of students saying the same thing. We do not need to hear five groups each saying “We had fun doing this experiment. We opened the rocks……..” Either have each group say something very different or only show one group.

Videos use close ups to show the details of something important. Many teacher and student videos use the same type shot for a group of students as for a critical object. Get in close. Let us see it clearly.

Videos do not include distractions. Every shot contributes to the purpose of the video. Students running around for the comedic value distracts from the learning. Videos showing all of the room are not important in a learning video about chemistry. Use a non-distracting background. Bring in a solid color sheet and drap it over things to create a quick non-distracting background

Videos focus on their purpose. If the stated purpose is for students to show how well they learned a certain letter like “D,” then there should be a multitude of clips of “D” things. Otherwise the video is just a glorified album of class pictures. Make sure your video is an instructional video. What will others know or be able to do after watching your video? I felt that after most videos, if I imagined myself a student, I knew nothing new nor could I do something. INSTRUCTIONAL video.

Videos let you hear the speakers. Have students and teachers speak loudly and clearly. Keep the background music soft so that the speakers can be easily heard. Do not include copyrighted music. Have the rest of the class keep quiet so their talking is not distracting. “Silence please. We are recording.”

Videos uses visuals effectively. Video visuals give information. Do not just talk, rap, or sing, show the information in visuals as well. Use arrows, signs, and other visuals to emphasize the information. 4×6 sticky-notes with large letters can be effective labels. Each visual moves the story along.

All of the previous suggestions are based on watching teacher/student videos.

Please plan out instructional videos so that other teachers and students can learn new concepts and can do new actions as a result of your video. Only upload instructional videos, not “here is our class” or “watch us goof off” types of videos.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


TeacherTube: A Good Start


An educational version of YouTube is TeacherTube-Teach the World. It was launched on March 6, 2007 and its stated purpose is to share instructional videos.

I did some searches:
Science experiment – 1
Science – 25 (9 are made of students telling about an experiment)
Civil War – 6
English – 25 (Many are ESL)
Poetry -18
Math -25
Spanish – 23 (Some for learning Chinese, some commercial websites)

Some things that TeacherTube could do to improve:

— Spread the word so that more educators contribute to it and use it.

–Have people use better tags. I did not find the Dr. Altman Generating Electricity video under science experiment or science. I had to know it was Physics or Electricity. Taggers should always include the subject area, grade level, the topic, and the specific aspect of the topic. Electricity could be several other topics such as hydropower, coal burning, and nuclear reactors. Numerous taggers only use their name as the tag.

— List the time on the video in minutes. For Dr. Altman Generating Electricity the run time is in seconds such as 228 but when the video plays the time in minutes in 3:46. I think most teachers would like the time in videos.

— Some videos are very long -like 28 minutes. Student can pay attention to shorter videos of 3-5 minutes but longer ones may bore students and others. Dedicate one video to one concept.

– Limit the site to just teacher and student made videos, do not allow commercial companies in.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Big View of Students’ Learning


As I was flying back from my son’s wedding, the plane flew over the area about 20 miles north of my city. Yet, I could not recognize any of the area from the sky. I did not have a big view of the area, only a “I see it as I drive through it” view.

I think that view of the daily “what I see” in the classroom does not always translate into what we know about a student. When someone asks us, how a student is doing we often give a letter grade “Oh, he is doing about B+ work” or “She has high grades on all her tests.” We do not have a big view of how the student is doing on the standards. “He is doing great in English” does not get translated the more precise view of “He is above proficiency in the Standard 1 aspect of listening and responding.”?

Do you use a spreadsheet or some other technology to help you have a big view of students’ learning rather than just a grade view? Can you quickly tell a parent how his or her child is doing in terms of the critical standards for your subject area?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Excitement and Joy in Learning



Today my son, Alan, married Sarah. A wonderful happy time. There were many people taking digital pictures and digital movies. These digital images will capture the facts of the wedding but not the excitement and joy of the people there.

Do we have students use technology for the factual aspects of learning or rather we use technology for students to experience the excitement and joy of learning. Do we have our students look up facts, do fact-based WebQuest, and create fact-filled PowerPoints? Or do we have our students solve real-life problems, do compare and contrast WebQuests, and create aha PowerPoints? Does technology open windows to inquiry learning for our students or does it close the door on limited learning?

Spanish students can look at look at various Flickr images of Ecuador to compare it to their state’s geography, areas of settlement, types of buildings, and transportation. Social Studies students can videoconference with students in another state about local issues such as public transportation, private vs public schools, school security, drugs, and gangs.

It takes a slight modification of the usual way of doing technology-infused learning to change it into exciting joyous learning. The shouts of “Come look at this!”, “Wow, I never realized…..” , and “Amazing!” reveal their exciting joyous learning. Do you hear those shouts in your classroom?

Share your ideas about making standards-based learning joyous and exciting.


YouTube Educational Videos or Just Comic Videos

Unfortunately, at present there are not many worthwhile classroom videos that teach or share ideas about specific learning. Most are “commercial ” ones or ones ripped from TV shows. There are many student produced “This is an experiment we did” videos (So what science principle does it show? Why does what happens happen?). Many are put up for the comic value or ego value instead of their educational value. The K12 Educators area of YouTube has minimal teacher or student made instructional videos.

I would guess that about 20% of the YouTube videos are teacher or students made and of those about 5% are instructional. This translates as about 1% of YouTube videos are teacher or student made and are instructional.

If we work together we can change that percentage. Let’s try for 10% by Nov. 2007. Please help to put up teacher and student made instructional YouTube videos.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


YouTube Classroom Use When Blocked By School Filter

Video Downloader

At home you have found some great YouTube videos produced by other classes that directly address your chosen standard. At school the next day, you go to open the YouTube video and you find that YouTube is blocked by your school’s filtering system. You were not planning on showing the videos for a few days but you are still upset. You complain to another teacher. James tells you how to overcome the block.

The steps are simple:

Find the YouTube video that you want.

Copy the YouTube url

Paste the url into a conversion site such as TechCrunch. This is will convert it to flv format. Remember where you save it.

You may want to rename the file with a name to describe the actual video instead of the random letters that YouTube assigns it. I would not know what the file name v=tP34F8XSXe4 means but I would understand USCivilWar

(You can add a YouTube downloader as an extension to Firefox.)

Download a flv player from a sites such as Applian.

Install the player, open it, and open your chosen YouTube video. Enjoy.

Once you have a way to convert the YouTube movies to flv and to play them with a Flv player, you can show your students standard-based YouTube videos.

If you know of any non-commerical other easy ways of converting YouTube to flv, let me know.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


YouTube Stuff- Tagging it so Others Can Find it

When you post your YouTube video, please make sure to tag it with the major tag of Education; the subject area (Social Studies); the critical aspect of the standard (contributions of various groups); the specifics (Irish building the Erie Canal); and the general grade levels (4-11). Add any other tags that would help educators and students to find it such as Canal Songs, and Westward expansion, and New York State.

The better you tag it, the better other teachers and students can benefit from your efforts and your students’ learning.

We can make YouTube (and other YouTube like places) an educational repository of all our educational videos that are made by teachers and students for teachers and students.

So what tags have you used with your YouTube instructional videos?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


YouTube Video Creation From Camera Still Pictures


You and your students can create a YouTube video from still pictures from a camera.

You or your students take still pictures to demonstrate the standards-based learning. For example, a Spanish teacher may take a picture of a spoon with “la cuchara” written in dark big letters underneath it (a word processed slip of paper); another of a knife with the label of “el cuchillo”, etc. A student group may take pictures of a map showing how the Roman Empire grew. Science students may explain a science concept step by step. Then you move these pictures over to Mac’s imovies or PC’s Movie Maker, add narration for each image (for the Spanish example, the teacher pronounces the word several times), add a descriptive title, give credit to your class and then save it in the appropriate format.

You might find the following tutorial helpful if you are moving items (creating a story/scene using Stop-Motion Animation movie )

If students have created a meaningful and powerful standards-based PowerPoint, take a screen shot of each frame (on Mac use the screenshot program and on the PC use the free MWSNAP), and move these shots into your movie making program, add the narration, title and credits, and save it in the appropriate format. If you know of a non-commercial program that does this conversion in an easier fashion, please leave a comment.

Please share your successes or failures in creating YouTube educational videos from camera stills.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


YouTube Instructional Video Creation from a Digital Camera


You and your students can create instructional YouTube videos by using a digital camera that can record short video clips.

Most digital cameras take 30 seconds or more of video (Check your camera’s manual for the length for your camera.) Plan your instructional movie out like you would a real “movie” script- what do you say, what do you show, and what background will be seen? How will these do the best job of “teaching” or “explaining” the learning? Practice it a few times. Then capture it by changing the digital camera to movie mode and click. If you make a major mistake, then reshoot it.

Some hints for creating a better instructional video are focusing on a short burst of concentrated learning, limiting the movement, having a solid non-distracting background, having you or your students speak loudly and clearly (their outside voices), use close up shots whenever possible, using big easy to see objects, and using easy to see signs with large dark colored lettering. Most important, have something very educational to explain or show. How does this video help students learn the standard to the highest level of thinking?

If you did not include a title and credits, you can move the video over to Mac imovies or the PC Movie Maker to add a title (Make the title one that represents the content such as “The Underground Railroad in Ithaca, NY.”) and give your class credit (“Mr. John Brown’s 8th Grade Social Studies Class, ABC School, Norfolk, VA.”)

According to the YouTube Team, save your movie in “either QuickTime .MOV, Windows .AVI, or .MPG files— these are the most common formats and they work well within our system. We specifically recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format at 320×240 resolution with MP3.” Saving in these formats helps compress the movie to a manageable size. YouTube will not accept videos clips over 100 megabytes. Some cameras automatically save to MPEG 4 s0 check your camera’s specs. Some other programs that can help you compress your large movies for YouTube format are found on How to Put Your Camera Video Clips on YouTube .

Please share your experiences with creating instructional YouTube videos from a digital camera. If you share what worked and what did not, then we all can become better.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


YouTube Classroom Video Collaboration

YouTube Stuff

I’m coming to see YouTube as the next wave of educational collaboration and sharing.

If you put your videos on YouTube, anyone has access to them so your students (and other students of the same subject) can see them at any time to view content. They can view and review the videos. Classroom videos that your students make can be put up for other classes to see. Your class and a class in a distant location can create videos on different aspects of the same topic and share then on YouTube. Your class and other classes can share how local history, science, language, and math reveal itself in your communities. Imagine if ten schools videotaped their local “underground railroad” locations and shared them. Imagine if ten schools interviewed local officials about what is being done to prevent global warming in the area and shared those videos. Imagine if ten schools asked local poets or writers about how to be better writers and shared those videos. Imagine if ten teachers shared their hints at helping students to do well on the same state exam in their subject area and shared those videos.

Instead of having your students create a PowerPoint, a poster, or a model, have them create a short video using a digital camera.

Imagine what could happen if each school district in the USA (and in each nation) put up an instructional video by Nov. 2007. We would have a gigantic library of YouTube videos that would be powerful instructional tools created by educators and students for other educators and students. What a positive collaboration!

So when will your district (or your class) put up an instructional YouTube video? How will you help your students and other students to better learn your subject area through YouTube.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


OpenSource: Open Use For Teachers At Home

OpenOffice logo

Often when I work with a professor, teacher, or a student, I hear “I don’t have that program on my computer at home so I can only work on it in school.” I respond with the magic words of “Open Source and FreeWare.”

Professor, teachers, or students, can use OpenOffice for their word processing, “PowerPoint”, spreadsheet, database, and some graphic needs. Open Office is the equivalent of or better than Microsoft Office. They can use GIMP to manipulate photos just as they would PhotoShop. They can use CMAP or Glippy which are like Inspiration. All of these programs are very high quality and are free.

I’ve receive more emails from professors, teachers, and students thanking me for telling them about these programs than any other type of email I receive. They are amazed at how good the programs are. They are amazed that people voluntarily contribute to constantly improve the programs. They are so pleased that they now have educational resources in their home.

How do you share the good news about OpenSource with your fellow educators? How do you give them tools for their work at home?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Blog vs Webpages in Education

Webpages vs blogs

Recently I had to create a website but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a blog would do the same thing. I created the whole blog in a fraction of the time that it would have taken me to design a website. I used the website mentality of one topic per blog entry (webpage) and then linked all the entries (four pages) to the front menu page. I put in numerous images per page. Because I used a professional blog template, the blog looks good.

I would suggest that educators do not think about creating webpages but that for 99.999999% of the time, a blog will be easier to create and update.

Do you have blogs or websites? Why?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Technology Gets to the Heart of Student Learning


I recently watched a pre-service teacher’s eportfolio presentation. She started each unit (Social Studies, Math, Science) with a book. I was amazed at how powerful each book was in getting to the heart of the learning and, at the same time, being very engaging. The book served as a wonderful springboard into related activities that built on the learning.

I wonder how many teachers use technology to get to the heart of learning through technology. A PowerPoint of bullet points doesn’t do it. Maybe the teachers use a short movie clip to highlight the critical part of an issue. Maybe they have a photo or image (or a short series of images) that clearly shows the essential part of the topic. Maybe they have a brief podcast in which an expert succintly talks about the problem. Maybe they videoconference with a person who tells his/her story. Maybe they have a graph that demonstrates the drastic changes. Maybe they do a quick experiment with digital probes to pose a problem.

How do your teachers use technology to get to the heart of the learning in an engaging way? How do they use technology to springboard into related learning activities?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


KISS with Learning and Technology

Kiss, technology and learning

KISS =Keep it Simple Stupid or, politically correct, Keep it Simple Someone
Do we use KISS when we help teachers figure out their true learning goal? A series of “Why ” questions can help teachers determine their true purpose. “Why do you want them to study the Civil War?” “Why is it important to know about wars?” “Why …….”
Do we use KISS when we help teachers decide on their summative and formative assessment? “So we can better figure out what technology-infused activities to do, how will you assess the students during and at the end of the unit?”

Do we use KISS when we help teachers select an appropriate technology? Do they need to create and maintain a webpage or can they use a blog?

Do we use KISS when we introduce technology to teachers and students? Do we teach them only the most commonly used commands/features?

Do we use KISS when we help teachers figure out how to implement the technology in the classroom? Do we share with the teacher the five most common implementation issues in using this technology for this project?

Do we throw supportive KISSes when we are in a room to support the classroom teacher? We offer help in non-threatening ways with comments like “Sometimes people click on the icon first and then….”

Do we KISS goodbye so that the teacher is independent in his/her technology use? Our goal is to free them from us, not to make them dependent on us.

Do we KISS and tell others of the wonderful standards-based learning that took place due to technology?

How do you KISS with learning and technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Summative or Formative Teacher and Technology Use?

Formative or Summative Teaching and Technology

During the past two years, I have visited two hearing specialists. Both diagnosed me with the same condition. My usual specialist reported the results and said, “See you next year for your yearly exam.” The other specialist reported the results, explained techniques I could use to make it easier to hear, and asked to see me in a year.
Which specialist are you like? Do you tell your students to check in with you at the next unit exam? Or do you tell them how to improve before the next exam?

Do you have them produce a technology-based final product or do you provide them with scaffolded technology-based learning so that they can be be successful?

Do you have them take their final unit test online or do you provide them with voluntary mini-quizzes online during the unit and then the final unit test?

How do you use technology to help your students be successful standards-based learners?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Encouraging Educators to Use Blackboard


Recently I talked to people at a college where some professors use Blackboard. However, many use it to just store the class readings.

How can we encourage educators to use online classroom management programs? We can let these educators know that

* The program will automatically grade quizzes and tests that are forced answers ones such as multiple choice and True False. (What a great time saver and accuracy saver for an educator!)

* The program will calculate the students’ end of the semester grades based on the graded assignments. (That’s really helpful for the educator at the end of the course.)
* Their students can check on their academic progress throughout the course. (No more students’ “So how am I doing in this course” questions.)

* They can quickly find out who has or has not done a certain assignment. Are certain students repeatedly not doing assignments? (No more that student fell through the cracks.)

* They have a record of online discussions so that they can review their students’ indepth thinking. These online discussions can extend the class thinking about the topic. (Anything that causes students to think outside of class is great!)

.* Their students can store their materials online so that they can always find assignments. (No more student
“The dog ate it.” or “I left it in my room.” stories.)

* They can easily email all students or post an announcement to notify students of changes in the course. (No more student “I did not know we changed rooms for the special presentation.”)

* Their students can have access to all assignments and the syllabus. (No more student “I did not know what the assignment was or when it was due.”)

* They can post website links, movie clips, audio lectures, PowerPoints, photographs, study guides, class readings, examples and other resources for the students. (No more student “I missed the class so I missed that material.”)

* They can provide online space for class small groups to talk and store their material. (No more student “We cannot do anything because Suzie has our notes and she is absent.”)

So what other reason do you give your teachers/professors to use online management programs such as Blackboard?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Promoting Technology-Infused Learning During the Class


As your students are doing a technology-infused (or technology integration) learning, you can promote it by:

Inviting your colleagues, building department chair, principal, district subject area chair, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and the Superintendent to visit your class during the exciting learning.

Inviting your students’ parents, colleagues, building department chair, principal, district subject area chair, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and the Superintendent to take part in the exciting learning such as mentoring a student during the project.

Videoconferencing part of the class learning so parents and district people can observe it from a distance.

Send out email updates as to what your students are learning and how they are learning it.

Update your webpages/blog frequently to show the complex learning that students are doing through this project.

What other ways do you use to promote technology-infused learning as it is happening in the classroom?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Promoting Technology-Infused Learning Done in the Classroom

Promote Technology-Infused Learning

Once students do a technology-infused learning experience, we want to promote it. Here are some ways:

* Have the teacher do a 1-2 minute presentation at a department meeting and the faculty meeting.

* Put up pictures, posters, or movies in the school lobby or cafeteria.

* Have a short write up for the district, school, or class newsletter.

* Put up information on the district, school or class website. You can include more photos showing the students’ learning.

* Publish the URL for the class blog, wiki or podcast site.

* Prepare CDs or DVDs of the students’ work for them to take home.

* Send information to the district curriculum person and/or superintendent.

What do you do to celebrate the success of technology-infused learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Getting Teachers Interested in Technology

Digital Camera

How do you get teachers interested in technology? Here are some ideas:

Have a Tea or Pizza party after school in which you very briefly showcase classroom examples of the technology

Put a flyer in their mailbox in which you tell of 1-2 classroom examples of how each technology can be used.

Distribute very short articles (1-2 pages) on a specific technology being used in a classroom.

Have a DVD running in the Teachers’ Room in which you show classroom examples of the various technologies.

Have a “We can do it in 20” mini-workshop on examples and the five most critical commands of any technology/program.

Have a technology party where if teachers attend at least five different four minute presentations their names are entered to win a flashdrive or an ipod drawing.

Present some stunning subject area technology examples at a faculty meeting or department meeting.

Have a Technology Club for students who will help their teachers. It is hard to resist a fourth grader who keeps on asking “When can I teach you learn PowerPoint?”

Use the “Keeping up with the Jones” factor such as “This is how another department is improving student learning through this technology” or “Here’s a (rival) school’s website where their teachers use this technology as a learning strategy.”

So what other strategies do you have?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Eportfolio Student Ratings With Mutiple Reviewers

So how does your university or school handle multiple reviewers of a student’s eportfolio?

Eportfolio Ratings and Comments

Does the student see all ratings?

Are the ratings automatically averaged and only that average rating is reported to the student?

Does someone have final say over the multiple ratings? For example, does a seminar professor look at all the ratings and then he/she enters the final rating?

How does the student have access to the reviewers’ formative statements as well as a rating?

If the student does not have access or does not access the formative statements, then the eportfolio does not serve a formative assessment.

How does your university use the ratings and comments to better understand the student and his/her progress in the progress?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Eportfolio Public Presentation Tips for Pre-service Students

Eportfolio Presentation OK to Stellar

My tips for pre-service students giving their eportfolio public presentation:

Focus your comments on showing how you have met the proficiencies, not on your “wonderful and happy” times.

Show more than you tell. You say you believe in something but we need to see how you implemented your theory/belief in your classroom.

Use “I” statements such as “I structured the lesson so….” Avoid “You should..” or “When teachers….” Tell what you did.

Back up each general statement with a specific classroom example. “I assessed students” can be supported by “Here’s a pre-test, here’s a during the activity assessment, and here’ a post-test on their ability to write.”

Use reflection words to emphasize what you’ve learned such as “I learned”, “Now I know….”, “I found out ….. “, and “Next time I will….” Show your desire to improve.

Explain the richness of a learning experience instead of saying “My students did a map exercise.” say “I differentiate by having them put together a map, label it, and say the names of the states in the areas.”

Identify your areas for growth in specific terms. “I still need to improve in class management. I’ve tried ….. but I need more techniques.”

Show what your students did as a result of what you taught them. Don’t focus on what you taught but do focus on your students’ learning. Show the results of your teaching.

Be passionate and excited about teaching and learning. Gesture. Be animated.

Describe what you learned from doing an activity rather than dwelling on the details of the activity. ”

Don’t read the screen to the audience. Expand on it. Give more examples.

By using this presentation hints, you’ll shine in your eportfolio for the great teacher you have become!

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Eportfolio Creation – Through out the Semester or At the End?

Eportfolio During or End of the Semester

There is a tension in deciding when to have students create their eportfolios.

When students select what materials go in their eportfolios, there is a continuum of students doing an assignment that demonstrates the proficiency and putting it immediately in their eportfolios and, at the other end, of waiting until the end of the semester for the students to see all of the assignments that meet that proficiency and then selecting a particular assignment before they puts it in the eportfolios.

The immediate end of the continuum creates less panic and less end of the semester frustration; however, very likely the students may not be including their best evidence of achievement of the proficiency if they put in their first assignment for that proficiency. Often students grow in their understanding of the proficiency during a semester; they come to better comprehend the breadth and depth of the proficiency. On the other hand, when the students wait until the end of the semester, the students may feel overwhelmed by the task of selecting from all their possible assignments and may or may not select their best evidence. Usually their end of semester reflections are better since they have had more time to think over how an assignment demonstrates the proficiency.

When do your students create their eportfolios?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Eportfolio Panic and Technology Training

Eportfolio process improvement

Our pre-service teachers are preparing their eportfolio public presentations. The graduate assistants (GAs) have worked hard all year in preparing written documentation and showing each class how to use the eportfolio system. However, as the students enter the final days before their eportfolio presentations and they are still putting the eportfolio together, numerous students have forgotten the basics of the system.

Do the pre-service teachers forget because

They were not trained well?
Their training early in the semester did not match their need at that time?
The students did not see the importance of learning the eportfolio system?
The training was not embedded throughout the semester?
The program is not intuitive?
The students are now exhausted in rushing to finishing off other finals, papers, etc.?

Without interviewing students and finding out the causes, next semester will be no better. There will no improvement in the eportfolio process. There will be panic and students will not do their best in demonstrating the progress in the university’s proficiencies.

How do you build in evaluation and improvement of your educational technology practices?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Same Old or New Technology-based Learning?

Whenever I ask a colleague how things are in his school district, he responds with “Same old Same old.” I’m afraid that this is the truth in many schools. Nothing new.

Check your same old vs new technology-based learning score by answering these questions.

– Have we used any technologies to improve the students’ standards-based learning in the school?

– Have we promoted and have teachers used technology to promote students higher level thinking through technology?

– Have we used technology to allow students to interact with people from other cultures and countries?

How many definite “Yes” answers do you have? Are you same old or new technology-based learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Meaningless Assessments and Technology

As I look back at many of my assessments, I realize that they were meaningless. I had students act out scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and create PowerPoints about the characters’ routes, The students generally enjoyed these assessments and spend much time on them. I had them take quizzes on what happened in each scene. However, I did not assess anything critical such as their deep comprehension of the play, their ability to discuss major themes in the plays, or their analysis of how the play compared to other literature we read. My unit tests were “who did what” lower level tests.

No matter how good the technology I was using, I was using it for lower level thinking. I was assessing the non-critical aspects of the the play. The assessments were truly meaningless and technology’s role was reduced to a meaningless role.

How do you use technology for meaningful assessments?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Professional Development – Make it Real or I’ll Scream!

If I go to one more education professional development and see the presenter show a movie she made of her vacation to demonstrate imovies or a presenter show pictures of his cat to demonstrate PowerPoint, I will scream so loud that the windows will break! When will presenters use real educational examples? When will they show real examples from actual classroom? When will they show real examples from the subject areas and grade level of the teachers attending the professional development?

When will professional development people ask participants to create real examples for their classrooms instead of making something “for the fun of it”? When will professional development people focus on student learning of standards through the application? When will professional development people take participants through the whole process from presentation to issues in using the application in the classroom? When will professional development people show teachers how to use the application at the highest level of thinking? When will professional development people set up a schedule to visit the participants as they use the application in the classroom? When will professional development people meet with the participants to encourage them to do more in-depth learning of the standard through the application? I want to scream when I see “Let me dazzle you” professional development.

Professional development does not work because it is not real to the teacher. Get real and help classroom teachers. Then I’ll scream shouts of joy!

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Formative or Gradebook Teacher Mentality and Technology Use


The Living SchoolBook of Syracuse University has developed a goal/standard-based aware tool that can link students’ class assignments to specific standards so that educators can see the progress of the students in those standards. It has a data-point tool that allows educators to do observations and record those observations for each standard. These tools focus on formative assessment or assessment for learning where the goal is the constant improvement of student learning.

These are great tools but are these tools mentally where teachers are in terms of assessment? Or are most teachers into the gradebook mentality (give the students grades on assignments and the program will determine their 10 week grade)?

If teachers and administrators do not have the formative assessment mentality, then they will reject technology that can play a critical role in improving student learning. What is your mind set?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007





Learning Specialists and Academic Technology Directors Focus on Curriculum

Standards Based or Computer Literacy

It’s all about the academic standards-based curriculum. Learning specialists (my term for technology integration teachers) and academic technology directors should report directly to curriculum administrators. What they do in the classroom and district wide should directly and efficiently support students’ academic standards learning.

A learning specialist can have hours of fun in showing teachers and students all the wonderful graphics in a program or or the great commands in a program. However, that time is wasted unless it directly relates to improving students’ academic standards learning. The choice of spending four class periods to teach students how to use a program or spending four periods on having the students use the program to improve academic standards learning is not a real choice. If the percentage of training time on learning to use the program is equal or greater than the actual time for students to use the program for the subject area, then students’ academic learning is not the purpose of the training, “computer literacy” is. Most people only use 10-20% of any program so trainers can teach those important parts quickly and have the students use the program for academic learning purposes. The essential question is “How can students demonstrate better standards-based learning by using this program?” The question is not “How many program commands can the students be exposed to?”

What is your percent of “training time” on a technology to time the students use the technology for standards-based academic purpose?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Students Measuring Up in The Standards

Student Standards Growth

I remember when my boys were little, we would measure them against the door post. They could see their growth. “See how big I am!”

How do you enable your students to see their standards-based academic growth? Growth is not determined by grades. Growth is not measured by how many pages of the text were read. Growth is not assessed by how many units were covered. Growth is not determined by how many projects were done in class. Growth is not assessed by how long a term paper was. Growth is not determined by how many blog entries each student made. Growth is not assessed by how many websites they visited. Growth is measured by the students’ achievement in standards-based learning.

What “door post” will you provide your students with? Start with a list of performance indicators for the standards you are covering. What specific key standard components have the students mastered while in your class? How will you make visible their learning? How will each student become aware of which performance indicators he or she has mastered? You can use the technology of spreadsheets and word processed charts to start in the measurement process. When each student sees all of his or her mastered standard performance indicators together, he or she will see his or her growth! Then your students can each say “See how big I am!”

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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