Archive for the 'learning' Category

Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus

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. I met with the curriculum chairs to learn about the curriculum, how it was taught, and areas in which teachers and students had the most difficulty. When I met with grade level or curriculum teacher teams, we talked about the curriculum. After carefully listening to them, I usually would suggest some technology tool that might help them in doing their favorite project or in teaching those difficult curriculum areas. I often would have a mock student product to show the teachers what the student learning with technology would look like. I focused on student learning, not on technology.

Likewise, when my Technology department provided professional development, we focused on curriculum such as “Inquiry Science,” “Collaborative Math Projects,” and “A New Look at the Writing Process.” We offered curriculum workshops that involved technology. Usually, the technology transformed the learning process.

People in  the educational technology  field are most effective when they focus foremost on student  academic learning; they are least effective when they “sell” technology to teachers.

Digital Badges: Naming the Badge

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 evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally” as the badge name? Will they use an abbreviated word name such as “eval media”? Or will the teachers use a number code such as SL2 or SL2media? Teachers may enter the full badge name in a badge program but how long will the actual name be when displayed on the screen with other badge names? For example, if a badge program lists all the badge names going across the screen, then each badge name may only show the first seven characters. Are the students familar enough with the abbreviated standard or proficiency name that they recognize it and know what it means when they see it? If the students cannot recognize the name of the badge learning, then the badge program is not effective for them.

Each badge name needs to be unique. If more than one standard or proficiency addresses the same or very similar topic, then the badge names have to distinguish between the two. In the NCSSFL-ACTFL (Modern Language) proficiencies, a Novice Low proficiency states “I can introduce myself to someone. I can tell someone my name.” while a Novice Mid proficiency states “I can introduce myself and provide some basic personal information.” Teachers will name each badge so that the difference is obvious to the students

What digital badge names will you use?

Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges?

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 Core Standards or other international proficiencies. That decision leads to additional questions. How much learning will the students do during the course? How many badges will be awarded during the course? Will the badges represent each individual proficiency or categories of proficiency? For example, in the beginning college semester of Spanish, students will achieve about 80% of the forty eight proficiencies in the Novice Level of the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Proficiency Statements or the equivalent of thirty nine badges. The semester is fifteen weeks long. Will the teachers group these badges together so that the number of badges gets reduced down to fifteen or fewer categories or will the teachers award thirty nine badges? If the teachers use categories, do the categories represent the same type of learning at the same degree of difficulty? Are the categories chronologically based or can a beginning proficiency category not be achieved until other more advanced categories are learned? For example, the third category of “I can answer a few simple questions” includes the proficiency of “I can respond to who, what, when and where questions”. However, students usually demonstrate proficiency in at least three other supposedly more advanced proficiences before they show proficiency in this beginning proficiency.

How have you selected the the digital badges for the learning in your course?

Your Contribution to 200+ Academic Activities with Mobile Devices

Dear teacher,

I invite you to submit a short paragraph description of how you help your students to learn or to demonstrate their learning through mobile learning for an ebook tentatively entitled “200+ Academic Activities with Mobile Devices”. I am trying to show the wide variety of ways that students improve their learning through mobile learning.

I will email you that I have received your submission and I will make the final decisions about all submissions by the end of May..

The following long form explains each of the categories. Then, a sample entry illustrates what your actual entry looks like. The emphasis is on students’ academic learning, not on explaining the technology.

Please email your submission to htuttlebs@gmail.com by April 30th. . Please put 200+ in the subject line. If you have a question, please email me at htuttlebs@gmail.com. I appreciate your willingness to share your ideas.

Harry Tuttle, Ed.D.

Long Form Explaining the Categories:

Personal Identification such as first name, last name, school, district, city, state or first name, last name, subject area, city, state:

Level : elementary, middle, high school, university

Subject: Art, Business, Computer Science English/Language Arts, Health, Home Careers/Life Skills, Languages, Math, Music, Physical Education, Social Studies, Science, Technology

Specific Subject such as English/Language Arts -First grade, English/Language Arts-AP Literature, Languages: Spanish Level II:

Student Learning Outcome: (what will the student learn/do and how well)

Specific mobile application or tool such as Camera, StoryBird App

Learning Activity:Please focus your paragraph on what the students do to learn or to demonstrate their learning, do not focus on the mobile device. See the following example.

Example of an actual submission:

Name: Robert Tuttle, Roxboro Middle School, Lakein School District, Shortschester, NY

Level: Middle School

Subject: Modern Language Spanish I

Outcome: Students will narrate eight sentences about a picture or pictures in Spanish

Mobile: Camera

Learning Activity: Joellyn listens carefully as her teacher explains that for the topic of “food-restaurant”, each student will narrate eight sentences for a given picture or pictures. That afternoon, Joellyn uses her mobile device’s camera to take a series of eight picture showing restaurant actions. For example, she takes pictures of restaurant actions such as ¨to enter,” ¨to look at the menu,¨ and ¨to order,¨ etc. Then, the next day in class, she shows her pictures to her partner, John who narrates a story using those topical actions. John says at least one sentence for each photo. For example, as John looks at Joellyn’s first picture, he says, “Ron enters the Italian restaurant.” For the next picture, John says, “He sits down in a chair.” John continues until he has narrated all of Joellyn’s pictures. Joellyn counts each sentence to make sure that John says eight sentences. Next, Joellyn narrates John’s’ pictures while John counts her sentences.

Example from Tuttle, H. G. 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, publication date of May 2013.

Please share this with your colleagues and other mobile using educators

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

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

I have developed 25  Spanish activities  and 4 Modern Language Visual activities that allow students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

Analysis of Learning with Mobile Learning

Use the following grid to analyze student learning based on  how you will be or are using mobile learning.

If you are planning for mobile learning, how can you modify your present plan to maximize learning with mobile learning?

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My formative assessment books: Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students,   Student Writing Through Formative Assessment Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. http://bit.ly/Tutbks

My 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

5 Formative Assessment and Technology Myths

Myth 1: The big computer assessment every three to five weeks is formative assessment. By three to five weeks, the students have learned and practiced the wrong way of thinking so that learning has become cement. When he assess on a daily or weekly basis, we catch learning gaps in the process and correct them.

Myth 2: The teacher uses technology to collect student work.  Yes, the teachers can use many web 2.0 tools such as wiki, voki, Google Forms, Glogster etc but the teacher has to move from collecting the evidence to recording  the  student data. If a teacher does not collect and make decisions based on the recorded data, then the teacher does not do formative assessment. Without recorded data, the teacher cannot measure progress over time.

Myth 3: The teacher can use technology such as voki, audacity, Word to talk to the students after seeing the students’ work. The teacher needs to do more than talk, he/she needs to give the student a new strategy to improve. If the student is stuck, he /she needs a precise way to get unstuck.

Myth 4: More practice on Quia, Google Forms, Blackboard, etc. will improve the students’ learning.  Only when the students learn why they got the answer wrong and learn how to think differently will they get the right answer (way  of thinking). A “you are right/you are wrong” quiz program  does not help students to grow.

Myth 5: Once the teachers see the students’ work through technology, the learning is done.  Formative assessment requires re-assessing and giving different strategies until the student shows improvement to the desired level. Often the students’ technology project is a draft and not the final version of his/her learning.  The student takes many assessments until he/she shows the desired mastery.

Link to Tuttle’s Formative Assessment books

Harry Grover Tuttle's Three Formative Assessment Books

Class increase of 12 points over last semester

I give a pre-test and a post test in my Spanish course.  From the pre-test I can measure the students incoming knowledge.  From the post-test I measure their departing knowledge.   More importantly, I analyze the results of each unit test by the various categories on the test. If many students do poorly on a certain section, I reteach it.  The next semester I start out that particular point with  the reteaching material.  I also do many formative assessments so that I can give students new strategies to do better.  This semester my students did an average of 12 points better than last semester’s students.  I have analyzed the final to see the area in which they lost the most points – writing mini-compositions and have begun to figure out ways to help them. We will do more writing in class and on our class wiki. I will focus on the verb forms to tell a story such  as what I did last weekend. I will have them write out their weekend in a chronological order and make sure that they use a different verb in each sentence. We will do mini-writings over several class periods. For the final they do not need complicated sentences; they just need simple sentences that communicate different ideas.  My goal is to increase this coming semester’s average by 10 points over last semester.

By how much will you increase your class average  this coming year?

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.

Android Apps for Spanish – categorized for your use

Many wonderful learning apps exist for the Android devices.  However, neither the Android Market or AppBrain list the apps within any categories. For example, a search for Spanish reveals a random listing such as a vocabulary app, then a grammar app, then another vocabulary app.

Therefore, I have created  a categorized and alphabetical within that category listing of Spanish Android Apps at http://spanishandroidapps.pbworks.com.  I have the categories of dictionaries, vocabulary, grammar, culture, and lessons. So far I have gone through all of the Android Market and am half through AppBrain.  I have not listed every app;  for example, I limited the dictionary apps to about 15.

I am amazed at the number of droid apps that exist for the learning of Spanish.  I am hopeful that newer apps will be context based and develop communication skills.

What are your favorite Android learning apps?

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.

Why a physical textbook?

It seems so “yesterday” to use a physical  textbook such as in a Spanish classroom. Any instructor can easily find PowerPoints, Youtubes, etc. that teach and practice the   grammar and vocabulary in Spanish.  Any instructor  can easily find online sites that explain grammar and drill that grammar.  An instructor can find Internet sites that have vocabulary lists or can easily post such lists to a class  wiki.  Imagine if a department asked each instructor  to create one activity such as a spoken conversation or  a listening comprehension that takes the grammar and vocabulary to the level of communication. The instructors can find current pictures of the culture from Flickr and other sources.  Students can converse about the daily culture that relates to  the situations in the virtual textbook.  Students can communicate about the situations.

With a few handouts made in Google docs and the links to the grammar, vocabulary, communication activities, listening, reading,writing,  and culture, the instructors could run a whole course without a physical textbook.   All the resources can exist in the class wiki.  Students can have access to theses resources 24/7.   Since the resources come from various sources, there is more of widening  of the students’ learning. When instructors use  virtual textbooks, they can add more resources in areas where students demonstrate weaknesses (formative assessment).

In addition, students can contribute to the virtual textbook.  As they do activities such as writing five important questions about the situation, these questions  can be posted to the virtual textbook for other students to answer.   I believe that within a year, instructors could have a virtual textbook that outshines the limits of the physical textbook. I have used  a virtual text and feel that it best meets the needs of my students.   The virtual textbook can fit the specific goals of the instructors while meeting national goals. The virtual textbook can be easily modified as better resources become available.

The virtual textbooks will not cost any money! Also as students migrate to smartphones, their phones become a valuable learning tool in 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.

10 Reasons to Use Online Practice Quizzes (Formative Assessment)

Students benefit greatly from being able to take online practice quizzes. These quizzes focus on the critical lower-level thinking learning for the students. The students can practice these activities on online quizzes, therefore, freeing up class time for higher-level thinking activities. Here are some reasons based on my use of Quia.

1) Students do not have to wonder if their answer is correct or not as they answer a question, the quiz programs tells the student.  Students get immediate reaction to their answer; they do not have to wait until the next class which may be 24 hours, 48 hours or more away.

2)  The online quiz program focuses on parts of the learning goal details that students might have overlooked.  Spanish students soon realize that they need an accent on a the preterite tense  such as hablé.  English students see that difference between “metaphor” and  “analogy”.

3) Students can read the teacher-provided strategy for improvement for each wrong answer.  The students do not just know that they are incorrect but they see an explanation of how to improve. They learn how to do it right;  they improve through formative assessment.

4)  Students can begin to use their new strategy  as they encounter a problem using the same concept that they just missed. They can verify if they are applying the strategy correctly.

5)  Students can answer without  feeling badly about having a wrong answer as can happen in a class. No other student knows.

6)  Students can retake a practice  quiz as often as they want to improve their score. The program can be set to keep the highest score.  If the practice quizzes are truly formative, then no grade will be taken.  Students will demonstrate their learning in classd and on  summative tests.

7)  Teachers can quickly analyze in what areas students are successful and in what areas they have demonstrated  learning gaps. They can select an appropriate learning strategy for each student for class.  The teachers can use the online quiz’s graphing analysis to see if any learning gaps are class wide. Such real time data improves the formative assessment process.

8)  Teachers do not lose time in going around the  classroom physically checking in homework. I figure that I save 10 minutes for my college class. 10 x 30 classes = 300 minutes, 5 additional hours of class time, or 3.7 additional class periods. Therefore, teachers have more time in class to help students improve and to work on higher level skills.

9)  Likewise, if teachers do go around the room checking in homework, they do not have the time to check each individual answer of each student. If students do twenty five questions, the teachers can only glance over the homework. The teachers probably do not have time to explain individually to each student which answers are incorrect and what strategy will work for each incorrect answer.

10)  Both  students and teachers can see the students’  progress over time as they see the online quiz scores.  In addition, teachers may notice patterns such as Tom does well on vocabulary quizzes but has trouble on grammar quizzes; teachers can then determine how to help Tom with his general learning problem of grammar.

How do you use online quizzes as part of your formative assessment?

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.

Web 2.0 Use May Not Be Formative Assessment

As I look at articles, blogs, and conference sessions, I see titles like

Formative Assessment Through Clickers

Formative Assessment Through Cell phones

Formative Assessment Through the Class Blogs/Wikis

Formative Assessment Through Online Quizzes

Formative Assessment Through Twitter

Formative Assessment Through Flickr

These people are generally  using Web 2.0 tools to monitor students, the first stage of formative assessment.  They collect information about where the students are  academically.

However, formative assessment moves from the monitor stage to the diagnosis stage.  How does the students’ present status compare to the desired learning goal?  If there are learning gaps, what strategies will help the students overcome those gaps?

If teachers or Web 2.0 programs do not offer improvement strategies based on the students’ specific learning gaps, then formative assessment does not occur.  Formative Assessment is much more than just seeing how many questions the students can answer;  it helps students to improve through providing new strategies for learning.

For example, if students take an online quiz about a certain learning goal, what happens next? Do the teachers diagnosis the results to see how individuals do on each item? Do the teachers determine which minor goals the students have yet to learn? Do the teachers determine which strategies will best help each student? Do the teachers give formative feedback to each student? Do the teachers build in class time for the students to practice their new formative strategy?  Do the teachers re-assess the learning?

Tuttle's Stages of Formative Assessment

Do you use Web 2.0 tools to go beyond the monitoring of students to a full formative assessment?

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.

Students vote to improve -Formative Assessment

I teach a freshmen college  English course. I’ve been using formative assessment throughout the course.  We do at least five very structured formative assessment peer reviews before we even write a draft (Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment).  During today’s class, we  peer reviewed a draft of their contrast essay.  I asked the class to vote whether they wanted 1)  to hand in their essays the next class which was just before  the vacation or 2) to do another  peer review  and have the essays due after Spring Break. I told them I would do whichever they wanted.  90% voted to have their essays peer-reviewed again. They wanted more formative feedback so that their writing could improve!  One student even boasted as he showed me  his peer-reviewed draft, “Look at all the ways I can do better!”

How do you use formative assessment to constantly assess students and to “instantly” help them to improve?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Skill of Meeting Deadlines as 21st Century SKill

I recent had the opportunity to talk with several business people, mostly managers.  I asked them about what skills they look for in new employees. They mentioned the usual 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, and problem solving. One stated that a critical skill is that of timeliness or meeting deadlines.  She explained  that numerous young employees do not meet deadlines. They see these deadlines as the beginning of the deadline, not as the final date for the deadline.  The other business people added that they had fired new employees for not meeting critical deadlines.

I have noticed in many of my college students the attitude of  “if I get it  in before the end of the semester, it’s OK” even though there are fixed deadlines throughout the course and penalties for handing materials in late. My course is a cumulative course in which each unit builds on the previous one so that it is crucial that students do work in a timely fashion.

We can help prepare students for the 21st century by teaching them about meeting deadlines.

What is your class policy about deadlines?

 

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.

21st Century Learning and Student Choices

As educators we say that we are preparing students for the 21st century.  Yet we may be severely limiting that preparation by not giving students real choices.

Do our students have a choice about

1) How they will present their learning?  There are many Web 2.0  tools available today. The students’ presentation tool should not matter as long as they fully demonstrate their learning at a high level.

2) What topics they can use to demonstrate their learning?  Do we give students a single topic?  A choice from a list of topics? Or are students free to pursue their own topic?

3) What resources they use?  Are they limited to printed material?  Can they use Internet based resources such as  contacting an “expert” via Skype?  Can they use visual material such as photos from Flickr?

Our students will never be life-long learners for the 21st century century if we  make the choices for them.

What choices do you give your students?

 

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.

Too Much Presenters’ Dazzle, Not Enough Depth at Conference

I recently attended a conference presentation where the presenter ran through 20+ applications in a 50 minute presentation. I was dizzy at the end and could barely remember anything.  When will presenters stop doing this razzle dazzle and instead  talk about how a particular program will help  increase a precise learning goal? When will they show higher thinking examples of the programs instead of  “I made this cute  little demo” examples?  When will they be honest about how much time it takes to learn the program and how much time it takes to create something in the program? What will they talk about implementation issues? When will they not say,” I’m showing you the paid version which is different from the free version”?  When will they stop sounding like salespeople with a new cure-all and more like educators focused on student learning?

I would prefer the presenters to show a few like five  programs in-depth; this is what you can do and cannot do with this program. Here are three examples all at the highest level possible for this program. If presenters took their time to show in-depth information about the programs, more participants would feel comfortable with the programs and want to use them.

Less is more in any form of professional development or learning.

When you present to others, do you razzle dazzle or do you do an in-depth presentation?

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.

Formative Feedback Through Technology

Some ways to for teachers to give formative feedback as part of formative assessment  to students through technology. The feedback has to lead to the students’ direct and immediate improvement on the specific goal. Within the formative assessment process, students need “personalized” feedback which focus on their specific learning gaps.

– Orally with audio/screen capture programs

– Add in comments in digital word processed documents

– Refer to YouTube etc. video made by teacher, peers, or others

– Suggest a specific website that explains it in another way

– Provide an exemplar to re-examine from class website, wiki

– Develop “PowerPoint” quizzes that explain the wrong answers to understand the right ones.

You can view some other ideas at

http://formativeassessmenttechnology.pbworks.com

and add your own by joining the wiki at

https://formativeassessmenttechnology.pbworks.com

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.

Please avoid cultural stereotypes in images/pictures


Do you creative negative stereotypes by showing outdated pictures or by  showing a picture representing only a small portion of the of people or things from other countries?

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.

Do we help students improve?

I recently talked with a student who had taken a college remedial writing course. Each week in the course she wrote an essay on a writing prompt such as “My weekend”.  Her instructor  plastered her paper with corrections such as “Tenses!” or “Watch your grammar”.  However, this student  did not understand what the exact  tense problem was or how to correct it.   Each week she repeated the same errors. Her instructor did not review whole class errors.   This student did not learn any new pattern or formula for writing  the essays. She only did one type of essay.  She learned how to write better by asking her  friends.

Do we really help our students to improve? Do we give them meaningful formative feedback that helps them improve? Or do we leave our students sinking in their own learning laps? Do we provide them with several strategies from which to select? For example, my formative assessment book on writing, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, offers many different strategies for each phase of the writing process.  Formative assessment provides continual improvement and success for students.

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.

Advocating for a program

In this time of tight money, we might want to rethink how we advocate for our programs.  The old show-them- the-wonderful projects has to give way to more academic proof.  We have to go beyond just test scores or state tests.

Let’s look at Foreign Language as an example.

Traditionally, teachers have  invited principals and other administrators in for special culture events such as a “Cinco de Mayo” celebration.

However, here are some more convincing ways of advocating.

– Have a principal or other administrator time as students talk for two minutes in the language about a picture.

– Print out a list of all the language skills that the students in your classroom presently have achieved such as “can ask and answer questions about major businesses in town” and “can elaborate when asked questions”.  Word them as “Can do” statements instead of the official syllabus descriptions. Do not list the chapters covered in the textbook!

– At a Board of Education meeting, have your students talk in the target language with someone who speaks that language natively either in a face-to-face conversation or a videoconference conversation.

– In cooperation with the local Chamber of Commerce, have your language students produce signs in the target language for local businesses. Have part of the sign say something like, “Produced by Foreign Language Students at ……”

Each of these moves from the advocacy of talking about the benefits of language study to the advocacy of the students performing in the second language.

How do you plan to advocate for your program?

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.

Which Technology Will Save Education this Year?

I’ve been using computers in the classroom  since 1978.    Each year a new technology comes along that claims it will save education. Some evangelists of this technology, usually technology-based people,  tout its wonders. Teachers are trained on this newest and best technology. Whole curriculums are developed around the technology.  Some schools, often pilot schools who have had a huge influx of the technology with special help from the producing company, brag about the many  benefits of this technology. Yet, we do not hear about the long lasting effects on learning.

Some people consider the pen an improvement over the pencil.  Has the pen caused students to write better?  How teachers have students  use the pen improves  students’ writing.  The same is true for any new technology.   “Technology integration” workshops should focus on improving teaching, not on this newest technology.  When these workshops show teachers how to apply different learning strategies such as those from Silver, Strong and Perini in The Strategic Teacher Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson (from ASCD) using a technology, then  successful student learning will result. Likewise, a workshop on formative assessment that incorporates technology can lead to greater student achievement.

Another trend with the new technology is that often the producing company has already created the “learning” curriculum. Teachers have less of a role in designing and modifying the curriculum. Teachers become reduced to the observers of the curriculum. Classroom teachers know their own students and they know the best way to modify the curriculum so that their students can learn. Teachers should have available a wide variety of technology-rich resources to help them as they map out the curriculum for their students. These teachers should not be trapped by the technology.

What do the “technology integration” workshops in your district focus on?

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.

Clear Glasses to See Learning Gains from Technology

Almost all of   technology workshops that I have attended share the same trait. They all present the “positives” of the technology in education.  They talk about the wonders of the new technology and they show how to use it.  These workshops are rose-colored glasses workshops.   They do not talk about what might go wrong and they  do not tell how to overcome these problems. For example,  I have attended numerous workshops on 1-to-1 computing but no presenter has every talked about the problem of students surfing the web instead of doing their work.   I observed a class where students had laptops;  over 60% were  surfing or playing online  games instead of being on task. If the teacher had moved to the back of the class where he could have seen the laptop screens, he might have observed this mis-use of technology.  Likewise, if the teacher had built-in accountability such as  the students having to show him their concept maps  fifteen minutes into  the period, he  could have detected who was doing class work and who was not. Likewise, if his assignment was a challenging one that was unique to his geographical area, the students could not have copied/slightly modified already existing concept maps.

We need to move from the rose-colored glasses presentations and workshops about technology-based learning  to clear glasses presentations and workshops so that students see learning gains instead of their wasting valuable classroom learning time.

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

Reponding to Your Students

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

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Dead or Alive Students?

Recently a fence between my neighbors and my house fell down. As I walked around the huge tree in the backyard near the downed fence, I noticed that the tree was rotten on the back side.  I called three tree specialists. Two said to cut it down. The third agreed it was rotten but then stated that the tree was still alive. It had healthy branches. He could trim it so that the rot would not cause the tree to come down. The tree could continue to live and grow.

I wonder how often we have  “cut down”   “rotten” students when they have failed tests,  not completed their homework, or not done in class work.   We may think, “They’ll never get it…They are always lost…They will fail… They are beyond help.”   However, if  we nurture them through formative assessment  they can overcome their “rotten” parts.   We can  use technology to provide additional resources for them that present the learning in a different manner so that they grow in their learning.

Do you view students as “dead wood” or as “thriving trees”? How does your classroom actions show this? Try formative assessment to help your students become successful learners.

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

Importance of Education

I recently returned from Costa Rica.  The government  has believed that its people are its most valuable resource.  Therefore, this Central American country has eliminated the military and put that money toward the education of its people. They have mandatory education.  Costa Rica has a 97% literacy rate.   Many people will share that they have their present  job because of the government supported education.  Costa Rica has many universities; the public ones have a tuition program based on parents’ income. People ranging from senior citizens to young people can speak English.

One of the first news items I heard upon my return to the USA was that schools were letting go of teachers due to finances. I do wish our country felt that people were the most important resource and  therefore would fully fund quality education for all youth.

My  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

What Did I Learn From Giving the Final? What do I Do Differently?

I recently gave my Spanish final. After correcting each part, I put the grades for each part onto the final sheet and totaled up the score to get their final exam score.  However, the process for me was far from done. I then opened a spreadsheet, created a column for each category of the test and a column of student names.  I then entered the students’ grades for each part of the final and had the computer calculated the class average and the percent of that average out of a perfect score such as (class average of 22.4 out of a perfect score of 25 for a 90%).  I found out that   my students achieved a class average of  85% for speaking, 90% for listening, 76% for reading,  and 77% for culture, and a 62% for writing.  I instantly thought of  what I could do differently next semester to help the students do better. I focused in on their writing which was their lowest score.  I have decided that each week that they will write at least five sentences. I will correct their sentences more frequently (at least once a week). I realized that I have to help them understand the critical difference between the preterite and the imperfect tense since most students mixed up the two tenses in the each tense specific writing on the final.   I also thought of several strategies to improve their reading such as writing more questions for them to answer about the book “conversations”; have them practice answering questions words in class so that they are sure of the type answer. For example, the Spanish question word,  Donde,  has to be answered with a place; and have them find similar words in the question and the answer.  My goal is to increase each  of these two lowest scores so that they both are in the 85% for the next time.   I realize that I have to give my students different strategies than I gave this semester’s students. I will give formative assessments frequently to measure their growth. I look forward to the challenge and their success.

So what does your final tell you about the different strategies you might need to give your students of next year?

My  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

Let’s Show, Not Tell

In a few weeks I’m off to Costa Rica to take pictures to supplement the Costa Rican  cultural information and to show the  Spanish vocabulary in the Spanish textbook  that I use. Although I can tell students about Costa Rican life, they learn so much more from seeing it.  I have found the same to be true for most of education.  Telling is an abstraction. We  tell students something and they  can imagine anything or nothing. A good visual or metaphor focuses their thinking.   For example, we tell students that a paragraph has a topic sentence, three sentences of supporting ideas and a conclusion and their eyes gloss over since these words do not have meaning to them.  However, when we have them use their hand (thumb-introduction, three fingers for three supporting, and little finger for conclusion), they have a definite image of what we mean. In fact, they can always check their paragraphs against their hand to make sure they have all the parts.   Likewise, when we show the students a sign of a fruit store with the word “Fruteria” over it and a  perfume store with a “perfumeria” sign; they quickly learn that -eria is the ending for a speciality store in Spanish.   When we show them a picture or an illustration, they can see what we are trying to tell them. Many students need to go from the abstract to the concrete in order to learn information.

Do we use technology to tell or show?  PowerPoints full of text only “tell”. Blogs, wikis, tweets are often  text based; they can “show” by including links to pictures of movies of the content. Do  you use Web 2.0 tools to tell or to show?  Do your images or metaphors clearly show the concept you want the students to learn?

My  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

Moving Away from Finals to Final Improvements

I do not give finals.  I do give students an  opportunity to show me how they have improved in the course. They show that the formative assessment done on their work leads to greater achievement.

For example, in my English Composition and Research college course, students select two essays that they have written and received three formative feedback on, identify how they will make the improvements on an essay improvement sheet,  and make the improvements in the essay. As an illustration, students receive three formative feedback on their essays that focus on the most critical areas for improvement such as their lack of details to prove the essay. They either receive an example or are referred to some examples.  On their essay improvement sheet, they copy the suggestions for change and then they  show how they will change  their previous sentences to include detailed examples.  They make these revisions to their paper.   When they hand in their “final” essays, they highlight in green all the changes that they made from the  previous version. They get graded on their formative  improvements based on the previous essay.    Their “final” essay grade replaces their original essay grade.

Such a “formative assessment final” drastically changes the usual concept of a final.

So what type final do you give?

My  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

Using Writing Formative Assessments for At-Risk students

Recently I received an email from someone who had purchased my Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment.  She said that she was, at first, shocked by how I had objectified English by breaking each part of the writing process down.  She said that she had assumed that her students “knew” all the basic things about writing. However, when she began to use the book’s formative assessments for each part of the pre-writing process, she quickly found out that they did not. She  realized that they became stuck very early in the writing process and, therefore, did not move forward.  She told me that she never thought about giving students different strategies to overcome their writing gaps; she just assumed their present writing strategy was effective.  She used some of the book’s  various strategy to help them.    She commented that she could see success in her students as they used the strategy.  She ended up by saying that she was now aware of how much structure students need to be successful and how these formative assessments provided that structure.

Obviously, I felt good about her comments.  The writing formative assessments  that I included in the book were ones that I have used  in a college writing course that I teach. Some of the students in the class dropped out of school in six grade and am now working on their GED as they are taking college courses. My job is help these “at-risk” students  to go from six grade writing to college level writing in one semester.  Through the use of constant formative assessments I can guide them from where they are to where they need to be so they can  write college-level academic essays. The writing  formative assessments build in student success and  build in student confidence in their writing.

My  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.

Moving Toward Collective Intelligence from Collective Stupidity Part 1

A critical aspect of Web 2.0  is the concept that when people are connected, they create  a collective intelligence.  I would like to offer another view.  Science shows us that water will move to the lowest point , it seeks the lowest point in a river stream to flow.  If there is a break in the bank that is lower than the stream, than the stream flows in that direction.   Likewise, a chain breaks at its weakest link. In a class room, one  student can destroy a small group or even a class discussion.

In addition, a extreme amount of water becomes a flood which destroys the river bank and other objects.  Too many tall trees kill the smaller trees in a forest.  A mob operates at a very basic level,  not at the highest level of thinking.

The act of merely being connected does not provide “collective intelligence”.  We educators have to create the structure for changing from possible “collective stupidity” to “collective intelligence”.

My  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


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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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. […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle
  • 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 […]
    hgtuttle

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