Archive for the 'Classroom' Category

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– The digital textbook can be outdated very quickly if the  e-text does not contain links to current events.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

Intensity of Learning

People enjoy  intensity such as the intensity of a ski run, an amusement ride, diving into a lake, a round of Jeopardy, or a Soduku puzzle.

Students enjoy and benefit from class when we provide them with intensity of learning  We can give them short  activities that  are highly focused on critical learning.  As we move our students from talking about learning to  using what they are learning, many opportunities exist for intense learning.

In my Spanish class, I have my students do many one to two minute speaking activities. Each activity focuses on a specific language function such as asking for information or  persuading.   For example, in groups of two, one student looks at a picture such as a people in a mall and asks his/her partner questions while the partner answers the questions.  They do not prepare for this activity, they just dive into it. They have to combine their already learned vocabulary and grammar from previous lessons to do this activity. After this intense activity, they debrief by going over what they could do better next time and then practicing to show that they can improve. This formative assessment activity provides a intense experience for students.

In my English comp0sition class, my student write essays but they write them intense part by intense  part.  After my students have selected a topic, narrowed it down, written a thesis, and generated ideas, they spend a few minutes in organizing the ideas into a graphic organizer.  They complete the graphic organizer if any parts are missing.  One student described this as putting together a giant puzzle with a clock ticking.  He also commented that sometimes he has to create a missing puzzle piece.  When the students finish, they feel a sense of satisfaction.  A writing partner looks over their graphic organizer for the logical flow of ideas and the support of those ideas in this formative writing activity.

These intense activities require the students to use higher level thinking and to perform on the spot. Students like a challenge and that   students can climb higher academically if we give  them the opportunity.

How do you provide intense higher level learning for your students?

I have Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

Check Lower Level Learning Immediately (Formative Assessment)

We all want our students to be learning at the higher levels of thinking.  However, they first have to learn  lower level information.  For example, Spanish students want to converse in the language but until they learn basic vocabulary and grammar such as the present tense; they cannot converse.  We can change the format of class so that after we have introduced the lower level learning and have them practice it enough to know whether they understand the concept, then we can have them practice the lower level learning at home.

If we have them use an online program that “drills” them, shows them the right answer, and shows them  how to get the right answer,  they can immediately know how well they are doing and be given the opportunity to improve.  They do not have to wait until the next day (or in terms of a college course five days or week) to find out if they can do this lower level thinking.  Since the teacher has put in the program   a full explanation of how to get the right answer, the students can overcome their learning gap (formative feedback aspect of formative assessment).  They can redo the program to verify that they can do this lower level activity well.  They feel successful.  They have practiced this learning in the safety of their homes.

Then, in class, the teacher  can move the students to higher levels from the lower level.  For example, the Spanish students can tell what activities they do that day, can describe the various activities of their family members, and ask others what they things they do during a day.

So how do you practice lower level learning so that students know immediately if they are right or wrong and if they wrong,  do they learn how to change their thinking to get right answers? How do you  use formative assessment to move your students forward in their learning?

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.

“Fake” Formative Asssessment by Companies

When I do formative assessment workshops, I always include a section on what formative assessment is not.

Many school districts are buying into systems that supposedly do formative assessment.  Usually these systems test students every 4-6 weeks and often  provide a list of what skills the students have and do not have.  The programs may provide “remedial” work to help the students.    How many schools district would tell their athletic coach to wait until 4-6 weeks  to assess  the strengths and areas for growth for each player?  Coaches want their players to improve each practice.  How many school districts would tell their teachers not to assess students until every 4-6 weeks?   Classroom teachers need to be the ones to assess and help their students on a daily or weekly basis.

How many schools would want their coach to say generic statements like “work harder at passing  the ball” without giving the players better strategies for  passing the ball?  Unfortunately many systems provide just vague feedback such as “Organize  ideas”.   These systems do not offer students a choice of strategies; they simply provide one way of learning the material or do not even provide a strategy. Many systems just drill  the students.

Unfortunately, much of what “sells” for formative assessment is in fact just summative testing.

I define formative assessment as ” based on the students’ present learning condition, providing strategies so  the students can immediately begin to  achieve the desired goal”.  The classroom teacher is the heart and soul of formative assessment. Formative assessment takes place as part of the normal  classroom. It happens constantly in the classroom.  The teacher always  focuses on what the students are learning and how to help them better learn.

Here’s an article that gives some additional information.   http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/11/10/12assess.h30.html

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.

Improve learning through a screencast program.

Some uses of a screencast/screen capture program such as Jing. I prefer the paid version ($14.99 a year).

* Create a mini- teaching lesson so that students can view it 24/7.

* Create a mini-teaching lesson that you will teach  more than once. Instead of  your having to say the same information for five classes such as explaining the fall of the Spanish empire, create a movie to show.  Save your voice.  In addition, you can observe the students as they watch the movies.

* Provide a video as homework. You can create short videos that prompt the students to think or do something about a topic before the next class.  Foreign languages teachers can provide a picture and have students practice answering the video questions about it.

* For a project, do a screencast of the instructions and assessment so students and parents can be sure of what is expected. For example, walk the student through the “comparing two works of literature” project.

* Create a screencast of some exemplars or model work so students can understand the high quality of learning expected. You can narrate what makes each work exemplary. A Social Studies teacher can tell  how a “history in our community” screencast represents several different historical time periods.

* Produce a formative feedback movie in which you suggest and show several ways to overcome a common learning gap. Students can view this as often as they want as they practice their  new strategy in the privacy of their own homes.

* Narrate or provide appropriate sound  over your PowerPoint so that you can emphasize certain points by changing your voice quality.  Simply record your voice as you go through the screencapture of the PowerPoint.

* Make a video in which you  narrate  a series of pictures.  A science teacher can narrate a walk through a bog to explain each part.

* Make a screencast of how to use a new program. For example, you show your students how to use the  new class wiki.

* Capture a short  first part of a show from a DVD, NetFlix, Hulu, etc , a middle part  and a near-the-end part  that are all on the same topic such as the  Mexican economy  so you can show all three together without having to search for the next part.

* Record some short  instructional movies for when you are out.  Your sub can show the movies and you’ll still be teaching the class the way you want it!

* Have students make their own Jing movie in which they peer teach.  Students can record themselves as they explain  a difficult concept. They can come in a few minutes early, record their planned out video, and show it in class. Also, Jing can be part of a learning station in the class where student groups  produce their peer teaching movie.

* Interview people in the community who use your subject area content  and show students that video. For example,  a builder talks about the various angles in building a house.

How have you used a screencast program 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.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, my book

My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available at

http://tinyurl.com/writingtuttle.

The book provides a systematic approach of observing students’ written work, diagnosing ( strengths and gaps and identify strategies to overcome the gaps),  giving feedback, allowing time for growth and reporting the growth within your classroom.  This formative assessment book breaks down the writing process into specific steps so that you can help the students be successful at each step.  The students build on their successes, not their failures. This book contains numerous strategies to help the students overcome each learning gap in the steps of the writing process. Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment applies theory to the classroom in a practical easy-to-do approach.  Formative assessment creates a truly student-centered class where the goal is for each student to be success in a very interactive manner of self, peer and teacher reviews.

I developed the book by using the techniques in my writing classes.  My this year’s writing students are at the same level of writing after their first essay as past students were at the end of the course!

My new book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

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

Reponding to Your Students

Web 2.0 Learning Only Works With Critical Learning

Web 2.o  allows students to have more access to information through the social interactions. Collecting information is not creating knowledge.  Some  of my writing students have a ton of information about a topic through Web 2.0 tools but they cannot put the information together in a coherent fashion. The problem is not access to information; the problem is thinking.  As we get more into Web 2.0, we need to get more into Critical Thinking.  Students need to be able to analyze, synthesis, and evaluate information (Bloom) . They need to be able to see information from various perspectives (Chaffee) and to think through various aspects of the issue  such as purpose and  consequences  (Noisch). If we want to “teach” how to use Web 2.o tools, then we need to teach Critical Thinking.  Instead of  Web 2.o courses/”new literacies” courses, we need “Critical Thinking with Web 2.0” courses. The thinking skills will be transferable as new tech tools quickly evolve.

Let’s focus on critical 21st century thinking skills so we can use Web 2.0 tools wisely!

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

Reponding to Your Students

Contractors – Summative and Formative Assessment

I had several contractors in to give me estimates for some changes to my house.  The first one measured the room and left.  The second one measured the room and then spent double that time in asking me questions about the room and the house. I went with the second one because he understood what I wanted and how that fit in with the rest of the house.

I see the first contractor as a summative assessment- get a number and leave.  The second contractor was formative. He had numbers but he needed to know what those numbers meant in terms of what I expected in terms of the room (the end goal) and in terms of the whole house (all the other data from the house). He gave me several suggestions for improvements (getting me from where I am to where I want to be) and let me select the one I felt was the most helpful.

Which type teaching contractor are you- summative or formative?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Having Students Go from Proficient to Above Proficient Through Improvements

In my Oral presentations (speech) class, I’m grading their final speeches on how much they have improved from when they originally gave the speech. They have to show me their original speech, the rubric in which I indicated their strengths and gaps, and a sheet which explains how they are overcoming their gaps. Their final (two speeches that they select from those they have done) are graded on improvement.  If they show the three  improvements, they get an A. For each learning gap that is not changed into a strength, they loose ten points.  So far students have shown drastic improvements, their speeches have gone from being below proficient or being proficient to being above proficient. They have learned to support their speeches with image-based PowerPoints that drive home their messages. When we raise the bar and prove ways for students to improve, they go over the bar!

How do you have your students improve and become above proficient?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Fixed or Flexible Learning

I recently talked to someone who teaches an online course.  She says that the college has supplied the lectures for each class.  I questioned how a college could think that the fixed lectures would fit the needs of the class. Then the person reminded me that high school textbooks,  textbook websites, textbook DVDs,  textbook PowerPointsand content websites present the material  in a fixed manner.  I think it is good for a teacher to see an exemplary lesson and then to modify the lesson for the class or  for the teacher to use the fixed  lesson as a jumping off point  but I do feel that teachers should not follow a book lesson blindly. Based on our students’  intellectual, physical and emotional needs, we, as instructional leaders, need to decide how to teach the selected goal.  We need to modify the lesson to meet various learning styles and learning levels in our class. We need to know when to abandon a lesson to teach a missing skill or a complimentary skill. We are the ones to show the students the connections between what they are learning and the big picture, to bring in our life experiences in that learning.

How do you teach your course?  Do you strictly follow the textbook (fixed) or do you modify the learning in a flexible manner based on your students’ needs?

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

Reponding to Your Students

Break your class now!

For many years a favorite book of mine was If it is not broken, then break it by George Morrison. The author stresses that the time to improve something is when it is working, not when it is broken. If you fix something when it is broken, you usually only restore it to its original condition but not an improved one.

If you spend time in reflecting on the lesson or unit and breaking the present level, you improve it to a higher level. Your students learn better.

When do you stop and break your class? Do you consciously say “What can I improve the next time I do this?” Do you rewrite your lesson plans? Redo your PowerPoint? Find different websites? Think about wording things differently on your handouts? Do you ask your students what worked for them such as rating each part of the unit on a 4-very helpful for learning the goal 3- somewhat helpful 2- a little helpful 1- not helpful at all” scale and do you ask them “What would have helped me better learn this goal?” Do you honestly consider their suggestions?

Break your class to help your students better succeed!

One way to break your class is through formative assessment.

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

Reponding to Your Students

Two Observations, Two Different Approaches

I was talking to two teachers from the same school. Both teachers were going to be observed. One supervisor not only did a pre-conference a week before the observation but also gave the teacher the evaluation rubric. This supervisor asked about any special conditions in the class or if the classroom teacher wanted the supervisor to look for anything in particular. As soon as the class observation was over, the supervisor gave some positives and some suggestions for change. Then within a week, the supervisor sent out the formal evaluation.

The other supervisor showed up two minutes before the class for the pre-conference. He looked over the lesson plan. After about two weeks after the class, the teacher received the formal evaluation.

I’m wondering which technique we use when we observe our students?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Panic Attack: Chalk is the Technology in the classroom

I’m teaching as an adjunct at a community college which is part of the state system. I was shocked when I went into my classrooms and discovered that chalk was the technology. There was a dusty overhead in the corner. There was no computer and no LCD. For as many years as I can remember I’ve had a computer and projector in my classroom. Now when I want to use images in the classroom, color coded items in a paragraph, graphics to highlight a writing aspect, Youtube clips as a writing prompt, I cannot. Apparently, English teachers do not need technology. This English teacher does!

I am finding it very hard to go backward in terms of teaching. I’ve covered the chalkboard, erased it, and written over it again. So much wasted time. Each class is in a different room so I have to rewrite the same thing. I certainly am not going to write a long paragraph on the board.

I may have to  resort to buying transparencies so that at least I can show some items- about $1.50 per transparency. I may use up my pay for the courses just in transparencies.

I need  technology for my classroom so that I can spend more time teaching and less time writing on the chalkboard.

Meaningful Learning for Students

A squirrel got in our basement. He is hiding and will not come out.

I wonder how often students get trapped in our classes. They attend and they do the mandatory work. They eat away at all the homework.  I wonder how often they get motivated by the learning to come out of their “do not bother me” hiding place.  Do they see the classroom learning as critical to the lives?  “When am I ever going to use this in my life?” How do we constantly show them the big picture of their learning so that they see how it does relate to their lives?   One high school teacher I know teaches themes (reality/illusion; fantasy love/real love; work/ideas) that are important to his students through literature. Each piece of literature helps his students to deal with their current and future lives.  I’ve heard of a  science teacher who  incorporates his class science into household science so that the students see science as part of their daily lives.

How do you relate your course to your students’ lives in a real way, not a “someday you’ll need it” way? Do they want to learn your subject because it means something to them now?

Starbucks as a Classroom and Formative Assessment

A quick seven minute video http://www.masieweb.com/starbucks shows how Starbucks shut down its stores for three hours to do simultaneous training in all of the USA. Listen to the manager as he describes the learning styles and the role of the supervisors in improving the partners (workers). His focus is on improving his partners.  Substitute in “students” for “partners” and ask yourself if you sound like the manager when you describe your students.

Digital Classroom – Technology Rich or Technology Poor

In one room that I teach I have a desktop and an LCD. Not even a printer. It is very difficult to be a Web 2.0 class when there are not computers for students. It is hard to be a Web 1.0 when I just have the one computer. There is no Smartboard, no clickers, or nor other interactive technologies. I’m the only interactive technology. The Tech Director had to modify settings to allow me to use programs like YouTube. There are two log-ins. Sometimes technology is almost too difficult to use.

Yes, I do use technology in class but it takes effort to figure out how to do it interactively. Students answer questions in turn instead of individually answering questions like they would  do if they had their own computers.  Students cannot move at their own pace, they move in -lock step.  Students cannot take online quizzes to measure their progress.

Let’s get rid of digital divide! Let’s harness the  power for learning that technology brings to the classroom.

Class Blogs – Create a New One or Build On to Previous One?

This year I am using blogs in all my classes. One of the classes is another section of a class I taught last semester. I had to make a decision whether to start with a new class blog or whether to keep the old one.

Some advantageous of having a new blog are: the students can create their own work; they can feel a complete sense of ownership; they have a clean slate, not a slate already created by others;

Some disadvantages of having a new blog are: not learning what others have done; not building on what others have done; and having to re-invent the wheel/materials.; and my not having to enter the old essential material.

I’ve decided to build on the previous course’s blog. Students can read the previous class’ chapter summaries and add new material. They are adding new material to the blog that go beyond where last semester’s students went. For example, this semester’s class is adding business letter examples from the web so that we have real examples to react to. Since I do not have to recopy all the essential material I had in the old blog to recreate a new one, I can add new sections for the students. I can create more sections that provide more scaffolding.

Do you create new blogs or build on the old ones for the same class?

Having students assess classroom teaching and learning

We all think that we are good teachers and that we have great lessons. However, last year I did a study on the difference between students’ and faculty eportfolio perceptions and it struck me how different they were. It reminded me that when I taught in public schools, I would have my students assess each unit in terms of how well the various classroom activities helped them in doing well in the standard. I was alway shocked at that special activity that I thought was the perfect learning activity did not strike the students that way; the rated it as one of the lowest. I also included the open ended “What do you think would help you to learn this standard better?” question and I was amazed at their great suggestions which I incorporated into the next time I taught the unit.

The students can do your unit report card in an online system that will instantly give you the information by categories. Instant feedback on your teaching!

Are you willing to grow based on our students’ assessment of the unit? Students can be the best in-class professional development we can have!

Teacher Sharing and Technology WikiSharing: APA Reference List Practice

I talked with my son who was lamenting the fact that he could not find a worksheet on certain Spanish verbs as he searched the web. I shared that I had searched for APA style practice for a class that I am teaching and I could not find any. (By the way, I have a twenty minute rule for searching. If I cannot find it in 20 minutes, then I create it myself usually in less time than if I continued to search.) We both were amazed that with the thousands of teachers who teach and have taught the same subject for many years, teachers have not developed an Internet pool of resources. Imagine if all the high school English teachers pooled their resources (if each teacher contributed even one of her/his best worksheets), we could have a fantastic resource pool. We could build on what others have done instead of having to individually recreate materials. Instead we tend to keep our resources to ourselves so others cannot benefit. Maybe some educator should set up a wiki for specific subjects and then have parts of the wiki devoted to special areas of each subject. The wiki can be the sharing resource pool.

In the spirit of sharing, here is some mini-practice on developing an APA reference list for research papers.

Last Name:
In APA format,
last name, first initial (period) second initial (period)
so Maria Santiago
would be
Santiago, M.

Practice:
Robert Jones
Linda Tami Antone
Eileen Judy Tedun

If there is more than one author, an “&” goes between the next-to-last name and the last name
such as Smith, R.J. & Jones, E. I.

Practice
Robert Jones Marzini and Louis Samuel Lewis
Bonnie Pauline Frazer and Nancy Louise Davis
Connie Harriet Buly, Kevin Burke, and Alan Robert Potter

 

Year of Publication goes next in parentheses ( ) followed by a period.
a book published in 2004 will become
(2004) followed by a period such as Jones, R. J. (2004).

Practice:
a book published in the year 2000 by Jack Eugene Cooper and Albert Edward Stinson
Samuel Tobins and Grant Wigham published a book in the year 2006

 

Book
The book title follows the parentheses.
It is in italics. It is followed by a period.
For example, Everyday Candle Making becomes Everyday Candle Making as in Jones, R. J. (2004). Everyday Candle Making.

Practice:
A book, Country Schools, published in 1999 by William James Pophill
Kevin Patrick Connor’s book, Science Today, was published in 2006.

Location and Publisher
Following the book is the the location (city, comma, state abbreviation), a colon, the publisher (do not include words like publishing company) and a period. For example,
Berkely, CA: McThought.
Upper Sadle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice-Hall.

Practice:
Charlotte May Fish had her book, Ontario History, published in 2005 by History Heralds that is located in Shortsville, Vermont.

The Association for Supervisors which is based in Alexandria, Virginia published in 2004 Daniel Avery Tompson’s book, School Playgrounds

Website
Follows the basic format for a book.
Author (individual, group, or organization) + period
Date in parentheses + period. If there is no date, use (n.d.)
Webpage title + period
Retrieved Month, Day, Year, from web address + period.
(If there is no author, start with the title of the webpage)

Example:
Williams, J. (2007). Creating New Images. Retrieved November, 12, 2007, from http://www.pid.edu/curriculum/photographs.html.

Practice:
You want to refer to the article Data Power by Huan L. Long that you found at http://www.datamunchers.org/datapower/data.html on the fifth of May, 2007.

You want to refer to Vernon Nicholas Shafer’s website, Read On that you found today on the website http://www.readingpower/read.html

If you know of any sites that have shared quality teacher handouts, please share.

Student Response Metaphors


For the past few days, I have been reflecting on how important student classroom responses are to the teaching/learning process. I’ve created some metaphors to help us realize how important it is for us to elicit their responses and for us to dig deeply into their thinking about the standard. Here are some ideas:

Student Response Essential to Teaching

What other metaphors can you think of?

Student Talk or Assessments To Verify Standards-Based Learning

Student Hand up

A Social Studies friend complained that he showed his students the important geography of a country via pictures, maps and movies and his students, as a class, could orally say the geography. They could talk about the impact on the country. However, when he gave the students a map and asked them to label the geography and comment on its impact on the country, they could they not do it (average score of 45). He said that he realized his students could verbally talk their way through content but still not be able to really do it. He became aware that each student may be able to answer a single question but still may not understand the answers to several questions. He decided that to build frequent “reality” checks (assessments) into his class so that they students would have to demonstrate the learning. He began to use maps, outlines, charts, drawings, concept maps, etc. instead of relying on the verbal answers of his students. He found out that he could quickly assess the students’ learning in a comprehensive and in-depth manner. He could verify their actual learning instead of their verbal footwork. He created these assessments from the unit final.

What do you rely on- student talk or assessments?

Starting a WIKI in my Class

I started a WIKI for a class that I am teaching. It is easy to find free wikis (pbwiki, wikispaces,and wetpaint.

I find it difficult to find examples of how educators are structuring them and why the educators selected those formats. I do not know the advantages of using a no template versus a course syllabus structure. I could not easily find any list of what to do and what not to do in structuring a WIKI. I do not know what features I will need as the class uses the WIKI more. Why have some educators gone to the paid versions?

In additions, in terms of pure mechanics, I created a link from text and did not see the new page so I created another one. I found out that when I clicked on the link that the new page appeared. I did not find out that there was a File section under I had made a page for whole documents.

I wish that more information was teaching about actually using the WIKIs then “selling” them. Perhaps a think-aloud video of how an educator selects to do something within the WIKI would be a great teaching video that could jump start teachers at a high level.

What have you learned about using a WIKI in your class that can benefit others? What advice to you have for someone starting out? What mistakes can you help others to avoid? Let’s learn from each other.

——————-

Videoconferencing: Outside the Four Walls of the Classroom

 

I’m proofing a book chapter on videoconferencing that I wrote in Nov. As I re-read it, I am amazed about how little videoconferencing is actually used in the P-12 area. I know of a school district where every school has one or two videoconferencing carts. Yet,this year there has been only a handful of conferences in the whole district.

Why do teachers not want to videoconferences with others? Why do they not want to use the expertise of other teachers? Why do they not want to be the expert for others? Why do they not want their students to learn from students in other locations? Why do they not want their students to act globally?

In one school, I demonstrated videoconferencing with two live videoconferences that related directly to their English Language Arts curriculum. Has anyone used it? No!

Videoconferencing is one of the easiest technologies to use- dial their IP and connect. Probably teachers do not using it since it is an outside-the-class approach. The four walls of the classroom are visibly blown away by videoconferences. A class can just as easily videoconference with another school in the district as a classroom on the other side of the globe. A teacher’s book knowledge confronts real world knowledge.

How have you used videoconferencing this year?

 

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

 

Promoting Technology-Infused Learning During the Class

Attention

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

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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

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Techniques to Record Classroom Observation of Students

Observation checklist

The more we know about our students’ learning, the more we can help them. We have students for at least thirty some minutes each day. We can gather much information during that time.

Some techniques for observing standards-based student learning:

* Write the student observation on a sticky-note, and, after class, stick the note to each student’s page in a class binder.

* Write directly on the student’s page in the class binder.

* Complete a short checklist and physically add that checklist to the student’s section in the class binder.

* Use a computer, PDA, or tablet to record your observation in a word processor, database, or spreadsheet. With any of these technology tools, you can sort or search for patterns. You can let your fingers do the walking and your brain do the analysis. One observation on the student’s lack of measurement skills may be a quirk or abnormality. However, several observations showing a student’s measurement errors can pinpoint an academic problem; you can guide the student in overcoming those errors. You can print out information for meetings with the student, parents, team, or school guidance counselor.

How do you observe your students and record this information using technology? How does your technology use allow you to see the big picture about the student’s learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Developing Visual Literacy Skills in the Primary Classroom

The Three Little Pigs
http://www.bestprices.com/cgi-bin/vlink/0736423125BT.html

Very young children make choices about what they want to buy based on what the package looks like. They pick library books by the cover.

So how early should we educators begin educating our students in visual literacy and media literacy? As early as possible.

We can have students analyze two book covers and ask them what each tells about the main character. For example, there are numerous versions of The Three Little Pigs, each with a different cover. A search of Google images will reveal many book covers. We can ask questions such as “Who is on each cover? What action are they doing? Are they happy? Where are they?” and ask for the students to point to the part of the cover that answers each question.

We can ask students to predict what will happen next in a picture book based on analyzing the images on the present page. They can identify what in the picture leads them to think a certain thing will happen.

As we read a book to them, we can show them an image of what might be a house or a location from the book and ask them to decide if the house is the same one that they have heard described. They can tell why or why not based on the image. Again, an image search on Google for “Three Little Pigs” + house will show many different houses.

So what other visual literacy activities do you do with primary students? Intermediate students? High School students?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Popularity of Simulations: Why use Simulations in Schools?

SimCity4

In a previous post, I identified some online simulations around the Social Studies topic of nations. Simulations are an extremely hot-growing topic for many people outside of school. The phenomenal growth in Second Life is one example. “Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents.” When I checked the site at ten o’clock on a Saturday morning, there were over 17,000 people on line at that moment. Another very popular simulation is the Sims with all of its expansion packs. There are many thousands that play war simulations such as Gettysburg.

Why do I think that simulations are beneficial in K-12 or college education?

Simulations require a person to think about the complexities of a situation. The Civil War is much more than a list of battles and where these were fought. You have to analyze, synthesize and make decisions as you understand more and more about the situation. In-depth learning is not confined to neat little boxes.

Simulations require a person to think over time and to constantly make change. In Sim2, the situations happen and you have to respond to them. You interact with other people and live with the results of your actions.

Simulations present challenges. You constantly are presented with new challenges and situations that require you to act. You cannot rely on what you did in the past. Often simulations increase in difficulty and complexity.

Simulations are often action based. Talking does not get you very far in a situation although in most classrooms talking is the educational currency. You have to apply your ideas; you have to take action.

Simulations involve 21st century skills such as managing complexity, prioritizing, communicating, creative effective products

Some teachers have used a simulation such as SimCity to help students understand the complexity of creating and maintaining a city. I talked to a teacher who told me that she learned much about the complexity of a city through her students playing the game. Teachers can use a simulation like SimCity in Math, Social Studies, Science, or English classes.

So what simulations have you used in your classroom? What did you notice about students’ engagement and their learning? How did you assess the learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Classroom Observations Study and student learning

Classroom learning or busy activity

Some sobering statistics based on observations from 1,500 classes in 2005:

Classrooms in which there was evidence of a clear learning objective: 4%

Classrooms in which high-yield strategies were used: .2%

Classrooms in which there was evidence of higher order thinking: 3%

Classrooms in which students were either writing or using rubrics: 0%

Classrooms in which few than one-half of the students were paying attention: 85%

Classrooms in which students were using worksheets (a bad sign): 52%

Classrooms in which non-instructional activities were occurring: 35%

(Learning 24/7. (2005, April 7). Classroom Observation Study. Study presented at the National Conference on Standards and Assessment in Las Vegas, NV as quoted in Schmoker, M. Results Now. (2006). ACSD: Alexandria, VA, 18.)

So what would your score be if your class were observed? How can you use technology to improve your score?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Classroom Formative Assessments (Class and Individual) with Technology

Formative Vocabulary Strategy

Here are two examples of formative assessment using technology in an English classroom.

Formative -Class

I asked students to do their usual journal writing for their normal eight minutes. At the end of eight minutes, they counted the number of words in their writing and wrote it in their journal log. While they did another activity, I went around, recorded their scores, and then inputted the scores into a class spreadsheet on the computer. Within a few minutes, I showed the students a projected graph of that day’s writing fluency class average and compared it to the last time we did the activity. We talked about our increases and shared successful techniques that some students used. We did this at least once a week and their scores increased from 80 words to about 180 words in less than ten weeks.

Formative – Individuals

The students write down the vocabulary learning strategy that they used on each weekly vocabulary quiz. Each week when they got back their quiz, they entered their most recent score in a personal spreadsheet so that they could see a graph of their vocabulary scores. If they got below an 80, then they had to try out another vocabulary learning strategy from the class list that we had generated. They were to try the new technique for two weeks. They could monitor their own vocabulary learning strategy success and make changes to be more successful.

What regular classroom or individual formative assessments do you build into your class?

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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 […]
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    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 […]
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  • 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 […]
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  • 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 (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
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    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 […]
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  • 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 […]
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  • 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. […]
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  • 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 […]
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  • 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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