Archive for July, 2007

A Summer School Mentality: Focus on Essential Standards Learning

Summer school fascinates me since the teachers have much less time (six weeks) to cover a year’s worth of material (40 weeks)- about 15% of the total time. They have to decide what is critical content that will help the students to do well on the final or state exam. They reduce the over all content to get to the critical essential parts. They do not have time for students to do fun activities that do not promote the student learning. They do not have time for long projects that only peripherially add to the students learning. They do not have time for random web surfing but they do have time for specific web sites that serve a precise purpose. They may show a small three to five minute clip from a movie instead of showing the whole movie. The teachers realize that each class activity has to relate specifically to the course’s goal. Although many students are repeaters in the content, there are some students who are taking course for the first time since they want to get ahead in their schooling.

If summer school teachers can boil down the curriculum and the students can do well on the final or state exam, it means that much of what teachers do during the year may be non-essential.

Let’s all develop a summer school mentality so that we focus on essential learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Super-educating a Document Camera/Elmo

Back when we had opaque projectors, we were happy to just project a book page, a picture, etc. Now the quality is so much better than you can super-educate with it. Some examples:

Using a pencil or pen point to focus attention on a precise part of an image or passage

Writing on a copy of a student paper as the class suggests comments for improvement.

Using pre-word processed mini-pieces of paper to add higher-level questions or comments to the shown item. Just put the piece of paper above or below the image or passage to be projected.

Using a sheet of paper to reveal line after line as the students read it. A teacher can do focused comprehension questions or improve speed reading.

Having a student draw what you are saying.

How else do you super-educate your use of an document camera or Elmo?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Technology as Device or Communication

I started my educational career by teaching Spanish. When I discovered computers (TRS-80), I realized that they could help with communication. I have always seen technology as a communication tool. It helps me to communicate better to my students, it empowers them to develop high-level thinking activities, and it permits me to let students know how they are doing academically.

I see technology not as a strange device that gets in my way but as an extension of how I am as an educator. I view each new technology through this lens: How it help me to better communicate? It helps me to judge the potential of a new technology for the classroom. For example, if my school prohibits cellphones in the classroom or my students cannot afford text messaging, then using a cellphone as a communication tool does not make sense to me. A videoconferencing tool like Skype that enables two people to talk to each other from any distance is a great communication tool.

How do you communication with technology? What lens do you use to evaluate new technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Formative Feedback: Rate your Feedback

Which of these best represents the feedback you give students:
_____1. Nothing
_____2. A grade / score
____ 3. A general praise such as “Good job!”
____ 4. A more specific praise such as “Good paragraph!”
____ 5. A very specific praise such as “Strong topic sentence supported by three different examples!”
____ 6. A general improvement such as “Do better next time!”
____ 7. A general improvement such as “Write better paragraphs!”
____ 8. A general improvement such as “Write stronger paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly indicates the point that you are going to prove.”

You get 1 point for #5 and 1 point for #8. You get a zero for all the others since they do not give the student specific information about how to improve.

What was your score? What will you do to do better the next time? How can you set up a specific help comments word processing file that you can cut and paste from?

Speaking World Languages Through Technology

Does technology contribute to conversations?

I am trying to help my son get ready for his first year of teaching Spanish. He’ll have three preps. I am amazed that there are not more online resources to help him in a conversational manner. There are plenty of grammar and of vocabulary sites. I have not found any that promote communication. (I’m counting basic restaurant dialogues as vocabulary since students memorize the conversation.) I do not see collections of pictures that students can ask questions about, pretend to be the people in the situation, explain what is happening, etc. A picture of a statue of Don Quixote does not promote communication. A street scene with a store and people doing things encourages real language use. Likewise, I do not find many real conversations that he can play/download for his class. Sure commercial companies have teaser ones but I could not easily find real conversations (a great use for podcasting). So much technology and so little real life language use. So much technology being used for lower level skills but not for the actual purpose of language which is to being able to converse with another person.

How do you promote real conversations using technology in your World Language classroom?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Reporting Standards Progress to Students

How often do you report to the students their progress in the standards that you and your team have decided on?

Do they find out on a
Class basis?
Weekly basis?
Every 5/6 weeks?
Every 10 weeks?

By reporting their progress in the standard, I do not mean giving back a quiz or test unless that quiz or test focuses solely on a specific standard. Likewise, simply giving the student back a standards-based grade or a standards-based rating is not enough. A 4/6 simply tells the student where he/she is but not what specifically to do to improve.

How many precise formative statements do you include on each assessment so that the student can improve immediately in the standard?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Avoid Strategic Planning for Technology: Educational Planning

I talked to someone recently who is writing a strategy plan for technology for the district. He was complaining how hard it was and how long he has spent on it. I wondered why. If he already knows the district’s academic priorities and already knows how well the students are doing on state assessments, then his major decision is how best to help the district students be successful in those areas. The district’s academic priorities and actual state results dictate the efforts of the district and all of its parts. He can find appropriate technology resources, talk to other schools who are using these resources, and then with the help of classroom teachers, department heads, and Assistant Supt. for Instruction make the decisions. He should not be operating in a vacuum by thinking of faster wires. He should be supporting the district’s goals. Buying 200 Elmos is not an educational decision; how the Elmo can specifically support the academic priorities and state results is an educational decision. Are there other technologies that might be more beneficial?

How does your district do strategy planning for technology? Does it plan for the technology or for student learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior ( Equally important, a letter […]
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]

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