Archive for August, 2012

Criteria for selecting student mobile learning device (educational concerns)

As schools move toward mobile learning, they have to make decision about the type of mobile device that the students will use.  Regardless of whether the school supplies its own device or whether students supply their own,  there  are some basic minimal  requirements.

1) The device has to connect to the  internet so students can use qr codes, do internet searching,  bookmark commonly used sites,  watch educational videos and create online surveys.

2) The device should have enough memory for basic apps such as an  e-reader, a note-taker/ word processor,   spreadsheet,   media player, and a dictionary app.  The device will have other apps that help the students to climb the learning ladder from memorization to synthesis/evaluation  for their  specific learning goals.  There will be many more higher level learning apps (70%) than lower level ones (30%).  Those apps that simulate or duplicate real-world use of the subject area  learning will be the most useful apps.

3)  The device should have a camera and microphone so students can take pictures, record videos, and record audio. They will want to  capture and demonstrate their learning through images and sound (pictures, sound recordings, and movies).

4) Students need to be able to do texting  on the device so they can seek the perspectives of others and to learn from others outside the classroom.  As students learn to ask good  essential questions, they can seek the perspectives of others so they can go beyond the limited perspective of the textbook.  If we value diversity, let’s bring it into the classroom through seeing the opinions of others.

5) As students use their mobile device to explore concepts through productivity based learning, they will want to be able to call their experts such as their aunt or grandfather for things such as what is was like during the Depression,  how a farm business has been changed by technology, etc. so the mobile learning device needs to have phone capabilities.  Even better, if it can have videoconferencing.

6) Students need access to their social media sites on their mobile learning device so that they can distribute surveys.  When they want to receive many responses, they know they can distribute the surveys to their online friends.  The more people responding, the better the data to analyze and the more critical thinking involved.

If we want students to be prepared for their future in the real world, the world outside the classroom, then we need to start taking them virtually into that world and allowing them to bring that world into the classroom through their mobile learning device.

I have 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking/fluency activities  available at Teacherspayteachers: 
http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

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Aim For Real Learning With Apps

During the Olympics many athletes told about their training.  For example, swimmers lifted weights to develop stronger arms. They watched tapes of their turning around  and made adjustments.  They stressed that the most important thing that they could do to improve their swimming was to swim.

Do we use apps  in our classrooms to do  developmental drills or do we use apps to allow students to swim?  Students can do math app after math app of math drills without ever doing real world math; , can the students  figure out how much they are spending in a store and how much change they  are to get back?   Likewise, English students can do grammar drill after grammar drill on various apps;  can they write a persuasive essay about preventing the destruction of a forest for a shopping mall?  Again, modern language students can do vocabulary drills on  food in many different apps; can they, in the target language, order a meal and tell what is wrong with the meal?

Our students will use some developmental apps but then  they have to move up to  real life or simulation apps where students use the learning in real experiences.  For examples, you can give  your  math students a certain amount of  virtual pretend money such as $150.00 and tell them to go clothing shopping at an online store on their mobile device. What can they buy? How much will they have left?   Modern language students can visit a restaurant in their target language and explain to the waiter  what they want to eat  for each part of the meal.

Let’s use apps to do real world uses of the subject area and not to drown students in developmental apps.

I have 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking/fluency activities  available at Teacherspayteachers: 
http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

World Language Speaking – The Power of Asking and Answering Questions

As I looked at a modern language  textbook, I saw that it had mini-conversations of 2-3 lines.  For example, “Who is looking at the car? ….. Chris is looking at the car.”   In reality, such conversations simply practice the recently introduced grammar of the unit. These conversations do not communicate anything other than grammar.

For me, the ability to ask and answer questions is key to being able to converse in a world language. However, students do need to practice in asking and answering questions.  They need not only to understand what the question word means but also to know how to answer the question word. For example, the Spanish question word, ¿Dónde ….?” means “where” and the student answers with a place.  My students practice in asking and answering questions.  During a recent summer school final, my students, working in pairs, asked  ten questions and gave ten answers based on a randomly selected  common topic in a three minute period; they had no time to prepare to talk. They just began their conversation.  To develop that skill, I have my students do activities like Spanish Question Words Speed-Asking Partner Speaking (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Question-Words-Speed-Asking-Partner-Speaking)  in which they practice seeing how many questions they can ask about a topic and Spanish Questions Modified Speed Dating Whole Class Speaking  (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Questions-Modified-Speed-Dating-Whole-Class-Speaking) in which they ask a question from a card and their partner answers the question, then the partner asks a questions.  Students need much practice in asking and answering questions before they can do it spontaneously  to find out information from a partner.

How much do you have your students practice asking and answering questions about common world  language topics?  How well do your students communicate in a conversation.

My 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking activities such as Modified Speed Dating -AR verbs, Modified Speed Dating -Leisure/Sports, Spanish Conversation Topics- Partners, Multiple Sentences  Speaking Board Game, Describing a friend, Talking about classes, Preterite Game & Speaking, and Clothing Spontaneous Speaking Mat are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Also, my book Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education,  includes a procedure to assess all students in the class in just three minutes. It provides, for each of fifteen language functions such as socializing, asking for and giving information, and explaining, ten different speaking strategies to help students to improve. http://bit.ly/Tutbks.  Also, my Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students, and    Student Writing Through Formative Assessment books.


RSS Education with Technology

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