Archive for January, 2013

Mobile Learning, Not Mobile Students

Up until now we have not had 24/7 learning.  Students  had to go to their laptops/computers and, then, do their work.   Their computers might be in their bedroom, in the family room, in a school  computer library or in a library computer lab.  The students had to be mobile, not the technology.

Now students can use the mobile device that they always have with them such as their smartphone to truly have 24/7 learning. In the middle of the night, they can reach over to their night stand and use their smartphones to do any online work.  As they take a walk in the park, they can take their smartphones  out of their  pocket and  find out some information.  They can even use their smartphones to communicate/ collaborate with others in any location (As of March, 2011, over 50% of people text while in the bathroom).

Does your school let  students have a mobile device with them at all times?  Or is mobile learning confined to a specific class or to the school day?  Are your students mobile or is the technology mobile?

My three formative assessment books, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, and Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Replace Your Textbook with QR codes

Many  teachers dislike their textbooks. The textbooks may include too much or not enough about a learning goal. The textbooks may not arrange materials in the most logical fashion. The textbook may not have enough authentic up-to-the-date materials.  The textbook may not provide  visuals as learning tools.  These books may not provide multiple approaches or differentiated  learning. The textbooks may not provide assessments that assess what the district, school, team, or individual teacher deem as being the most critical.  These heavy textbooks  may not be convenient for the students to have with them outside of class.  These print textbook’s presentation and practice of material may be boring!

School districts, schools, teams or individual teachers now have a choice. They can create their own specially designed  virtual textbook, chapter by chapter or learning concept by learning concept with one page QR  sheets.  An advantage to a QR code textbook is that  the teachers can quickly and easily  change any critical material.  They change  the information on their website page,  wiki page, etc. that is linked to the QR code and the QR code is updated automatically.  In addition, each QR code can contain multiple links to allow for differentiation or choice.

The educator can use a separate QR code for each critical aspect of the learning.  Students simply click on the first QR code to start their learning.

A possible format can be  a separate  QR code for
– the essential question, the media situation/project, the “hook” into the lesson
– the learning goal stated in student language such as  “I  can” statements.  The learning goal can start with low level activities such as basic vocabulary and then work up to concepts.
– various ways to learn the content (videos, podcasts, screencasts of a presentation, a website with written text, an app, etc.)
– various ways to practice the initial  content (an app, a website, etc.)
– various ways to assess  the learning of the content at the lower levels (quick 5-10 item  online quizzes; short performance tasks, etc.)
– various ways to give feedback to students with learning gaps through providing new strategies (links to differentiated strategies such as visual, auditory, physical response, etc.)
– a project with a  higher level thinking activity (PBL, interdisciplinary project, etc.) and its assessment (rubric, checklist, etc.)
– if needed, a formal summative assessment at the higher thinking level.

Creating QR code chapters may sound  like a formidable  task.   However, within one week I had my students, as an end-of-the-course activity,  find  three videos that they felt taught a specific  learning goal well,  find an online quiz that tested the concept, and find a picture that showed an application of the learning.  When students evaluate material, they decide what really helps them to learn.  The materials are “student- approved”.  You can incorporate online materials that you presently use.  If you can work with one other teacher, then you can share your resources.

Get unchained from your textbook so students can learn better.  When will you start on your QR learning textbook?  You might want  to try a QR learning sheet  for a part of a unit or for a unit to figure out what format works best for your students’ learning.

My three formative assessment books, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, and Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

E-Texts: Innvovation or Status Quo

Many textbooks now have an e-text version.  Do these e-texts improve  student learning?

Some advantages:
– No heavy or bulky textbook to carry; portable
– Font size can be adjusted so students can more easily read or see information.
– Text can be searched
– Often has an online assessment; allows online quizzes  to be graded automatically online
– Often has an online homework management; allows  homework  activities to be graded automatically online
– Has organized the content into  chapters; chapters have various sections
– Text can be copied and pasted from the  e-text into a word processor
– Text can  usually be highlighted
– Usually includes multimedia (pictures, video, audio…)

Some disadvantages:
– Often is an exact  reproduction of the textbook. An E-text probably is   not linked,  therefore,  students cannot  click on words or images to get additional information.
-The e-text is still mainly print (word) based.
– Many images  may supplement  the text but they do not add new information;  images help explain the text instead of the image being the main source of information.
– Usually a student cannot write in the e-text such as writing  comments in the margin
– The user needs an e-reader, a computer or a mobile device to read the e-text.
– Additional exercises are  predominantly word based.
– Most e-text homework managers and on-line quizzes only tell the students if they are right or wrong. They do not provide new strategies for learning the material.
– Since homework and quizzes are done online, the teacher may never review what the students do not know. If the teachers do not review student progress, then the teachers cannot provide formative activities for student  improvement.
– Interactivity  may include activities such as  moving some words around or rearranging pictures but  the e-text interactivity  usually lacks high  interactivity such as simulations.
– Additional exercises are still  predominantly at a  low level of thinking.  They do not engage students in real-life use of the learning.
– Often multimedia is an add-on, rather than an integral part of the basic textbook.  Often multimedia comes after the main learning.
– An  e-text cannot be customized; teacher cannot rearrange parts such as  combining a part from chapter 1, a part from chapter 3, and a  a part from chapter 8 to create a new chapter.
– The digital textbook can be outdated very quickly if the  e-text does not contain links to current events.
– May not show the learners  the priority of the learning concepts within the chapter. What part of the chapter is the most critical? Is the most time and space spent on that critical learning or do minor  concepts get equal time and space?
-E-texts are boring since they are still traditional textbooks.

What are your reactions to using e-texts?

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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


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