Archive for February, 2011

Meaningful Web 2.0 Tools Listings, Please

In searching for a good free web 2.0 program for making stories, I’ve found some common disturbing trends.  Often people simply list the tool’s name without even explaining what that program does.  Unfortunately, most Web 2.0 names do not reveal what type of program it is.  For example, Animoto is a presentation tool.  Some people even present an alphabetical listing of tools which does not help to find specific types of programs.

At least listers should include the category of the tool.  If people do categorize web 2.0 tools, then they usually do not tell what makes each unique.  For example, I recently opened a page that had  a listing of  15+storyboard programs. I had no way to tell how each program worked until I opened each.  Even a description such as ” create a story through selecting various characters and selecting scenes and typing the text”  tells me that students cannot record their own voices.

I would prefer that the educators list the “best” program in each category  and tell why it is the best.  I really do not care to see a  random list of 15+ programs of the same category.  Bigger is not better to a person searching for a specific type of program. Bigger is not better to someone who wants to know what a program really does.

Many times I wonder if the tool  listers have even used the program.  Rarely do I read anything practical about the program such as “The avatar voice of ….produces the  clearest  modern language voices.”  Why do listers  include programs that they have only heard about but not used?

Please, listers of Web 2.0 tools  be practical to really help other educators.  Do not try to overwhelm us!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

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Carefully teaching another culture to promote positive feelings

Anyone teaching about another culture has to be very careful in how the person presents the culture.  The person may create negative feelings toward the culture instead of the positive ones he/she had hoped for.  In addition, students enter our classroom with stereotypes about other cultures.   We tend to teach culture as a series of facts or as a feeling about a country.  Research shows that initially students become positive toward another culture by seeing similarities, not be seeing differences.

Salychivin analyzed that students respond to culture in a grid of similar/different  and positive/negative .  If they view the cultural item as similar and positive such as baseball, they feel positive about it.  If they view the cultural item as similar and negative such as pollution in Mexico City,   they see are    If they see a difference and that difference is positive such as all the parties during the Posadas in Puerto Rico from Dec 16 through Jan. 6, they feel positive.  However, when they see a cultural item as different and negative such as the Mexican Day of the Dead, then they feel negative. How we word information about the other culture can determine students’ reaction to the other culture

We can show our students culture in a positive way by

1) Showing how it is logically within the culture.   If people work 8 hours a day and work from 9-12, take a two hour break, and start work again at two, they will work until seven. By the time they get home, they probably will eat at eight (in Spain).

2) Showing how the same thing (a positive) happens in US culture.  Hispanic men tend to embrace frequently which may be seen as a negative.  However, if a teacher shows USA  football players embracing as a positive and then shows hispanic men embracing, the embracing becomes a positive.

3)  Using images and questions to present the culture.  As the teacher shows a picture of a heavy rainstorm in  June in San Jose, Costa Rica, the teacher asks about the rain and  the month and then explains that Costa Rica like many South American countries has two seasons, the rainy and the dry season.  Flickr provides a great source of fairly current images

4) Showing the variety in the other culture.  Do not only  show Lima (Peru) as the only part of Peru, show the cost, the mountains, etc.  If you show Machu Picchu, also show a  modern city.   Show how things change within the country such as in Spain paella changing from a seafood paella near the coast to a chicken paella inland.

5) Avoiding negative statements about the other culture:  “These poor people”;  “This war-driven country”;  “They only…”;  or “They are the opposite of /backward from us.”

How do you teach culture of another country to help your students feel positive about that culture?

Here are a few links to some Spanish images based on topics:

Deportes

Restaurante

Spanish Streets

(Type Spanish in the search engine for this site to find more).

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Backward/inverted Teaching and Formative Assessment

The Journal Recently ran an article on backward or inverted teaching where the instructor has the students watch a teaching video as homework and then in class they go over problems and the teacher does more one-on-one work with students.

As the students watch the 30 minute  instructional video, who is checking to see if they are comprehending  the video? Are there self-checks built into the video? What happens if a student gets lost at the beginning?  What happens if a student does not understand a major concept?  The students  have to wait until the class for which they will have to do homework.

Such backward teaching seems to go against the current formative assessment approach of constantly monitoring students and helping them to overcome the learning gaps that appear as the lesson develops.  According to formative assessment, students should be helped with their  learning gap as soon as it appears; the students are immediately diagnosed and given appropriate feedback to overcome the gap. The longer the time between the gap and the feedback, the less effective the feedback.

I think that backward teaching can be done well  if appropriate formative assessments are built in just after new concepts or ways of thinking are introduced in the video. Probably a video teacher does not want to go more than ten minutes without doing a check-in on the students.  The teacher might want to go over commonly made mistakes as he/she presents the lesson.  When students know they are “right”, they feel more confident about their learning. When they begin to have doubts, they learn less.

How do you use teaching videos/clips in your class?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.


RSS Education with Technology

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