Archive for the 'Virtual' Category

No Basic Differences in Textbooks in 50 Years: Go Virtual

I examined two textbooks that are fifty years apart, a Spanish textbook from 1960 and one from 2010

Both:
Teach the same grammar – present, present irregulars, preterite, preterite irregulars, imperfect, …..
Teach the same basic vocabulary- family, occupations, house, …. The 2010 textbook does have more modern words such as cell phone, computer…
Start each lesson with  written dialogue
Focus primarily on grammar- almost all the exercises are grammar focused
Have images – The 1960 has black and white illustrations and the 2010 has many colored photos.
Include cultural information
Have dictionaries

Some differences:
The  1960 textbook contains 200+ pages while the 2010 textbook has 500+ pages.
The 1960 has some testing/practice material while the 2010 textbook has  much online grammar practice.
The 1960 textbook has a story line of a family with a father who travels to Latin America.  The 2010 does not have a storyline.
The 1960 textbook teaches practical vocabulary essential to daily living and traveling while the 2010 teaches specialized vocabulary such as words to describe art in a museum.
The 1960 textbook follows the grammar translation methodology while the 2010 follows the grammar use methodology.

The 2010 textbook, once all the colored photos are removed, is essential the same as the 1960 textbook.
Do modern language teacher still want to focus primarily on grammar instead of communication?

For your subject area, how has the textbook, the staple of most classes, changed over the last 50 years?
Does it scaffold information to make it easier for students to learn?
Does it include strategies to help the students better learn the material?
Does it organize information in a way to help students see similarities and differences?
Does it build in self tests so students can measure their progress in a formative assessment manner? Does it provide formative feedback?
Has it gone to the “less is better” with more concentration on critical learning  or has it gone to “the bigger is better” way of thinking?

I’ve written several blogs about textbooks Smartphone (Mobil Learning Apps as Alternative Textbooks)  and Why a Physical Textbook?

Think of creating your own virtual textbook that truly matches the state goals and your district’s goals.

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

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

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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.

Creating Imaginary Worlds in the Class

Some educators feel strongly that schools should use virtual worlds to engage today’s youth. I remember a distant time when teachers had the power to create imaginary worlds in the class. A Social Studies would tell about the Civil War from the viewpoint of a teenager as his middle school students enter in that teenager’s struggles.  An English teacher used A Midsummer’s Nights Dream to explore young love for high school students. They understand the world of crazy love, mistaken love, and true love. The play becomes a vehicle for them to explore an important issue in their lives.  A science teacher had the students adopt a local stream; they tell the stream’s story throughout the school year. They write as if they were the living stream.  Teachers have the power to create wonderful worlds in the classroom.  Students can be transported to other places, times, and events and see through the eyes of others. They learn more in-depth and more comprehensively.

Can you create imaginary worlds in your class so that students enter into a different world? Do you transport them to a different realm of seeing and thinking?  Get your Merlin’s wand out!

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

Reponding to Your Students

Online Discussion/Conversation Groups: How do we group learners?

Globe

How do we organize professional development online discussion groups with educators who are from different disciplines?

Mechanically, the groups could be organized alphabetically such as the last names of A-E, F-I, etc.
Mechanically, the groups be organized by the order in which the educators sign up for the class.

Content wise, the groups could be organized by their disciplines.
Content wise, the groups could be organized from the mixed disciplines when they all have a common problem that each can contribute to and grow from each other.
Content wise, the groups could be organized by the educator’s common interest or chosen area for improvement (structuring online classes, responding to students, etc.)

How we group the learners helps to determine how much they will learn in the online discussion. How do you group people (students or instructors) in online discussion groups to maximize learning?

Online Course Material: Helpful or Confusing?

Online

A friend shared with me the experience he is having with an online course he is taking. During the first week he downloaded a 34 page welcome and instruction booklet. He was shocked when he noticed that each section was in a different font, font size, and style. There were no divisions between the sections just a change in formatting. It seemed that different people wrote each section and these sections were just put together. There was no table of contents so that he could not find anything easily. He could not determine any logical flow to the materials. When he went to read one set of instructions for an assignment, he found that all the text was centered and bolded. In that section he could not determine what were the critical parts nor what he was to do. He was new to the online program but there were no screenshots showing him what was where. There were no visual illustrations or concept maps showing how various things went together. Only one of the initial practice activities was critical to the topic of the online course. He said he would give it one more week before he gave up.

How do your online course materials support your students’ success in your course? Do your materials gently guide the student through the necessary background/skill set so that they can handle the mechanics of the course and focus on the content? Do your online materials help the students to grow in the content in an in-depth manner?

Videoconferencing Effectiveness: Thrill or Learning?

zoo

In the USA Today article “Schools become virtual zoos” (Aug. 2, 2007, 6D), a teacher comments “I think it was really effective.” and another teacher says, “It is a wonderful experience.” Students respond with “Cool!” and “Neat!” The article was obviously a pro-virtual learning article.

However, no teacher mentioned that the students actually learned anything related to state standards. No teacher mentioned any activity that their students did to demonstrate their learning from the zoo visit. Is the focus of these videoconferences the thrill of seeing animals or the specific standards-based learning with measurable outcomes? Did the teachers select these videoconferences to improve the learning of their students or to give them a “great experience”? How closely does this virtual zoo visit match the teachers’ actual standards-based curriculum?

Virtual field trips can be wonderful educational experiences if the teachers’ standards-based curriculum determines the selection of the field trip, the learning outcomes of the trip, and the evaluation of the students’ learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Where does Learning Really Take Place? School Classroom or At-Home Technology

StudentLearningSchoolorHome

In the school hallway, I heard Butch comment to Nancy that he did not get today’s math so he was going to get his buddy to help him. He commented that he would have to wait until his buddy got online. Nancy asked where the buddy lived. Butch replied that he lived in China.

I overhead two students talking as they were leaving school. Jack was complaining about not understanding the Social Studies lesson. Pam responded that he just had to go on the net and find a good explanation. She shared with him a site, http://www.pinkmonkey.com, that she used. She added that she always went to the site to understand or even to review the Social Studies topic.

Pedro’s confusion about his science learning has been solved by his IMing his friends and asking them to explain the information. His friends from all over the country explained the science principle in their own words and gave some great examples.

Ming has difficulties in school. He always asks his teacher what the next topic is. Then he does a web search for a visual explanation of the concept so that he can see the “big picture” of the topic. He searches for visuals about the topic. Only by “previewing” the topic can he begin to understand what the teacher is explaining.

Sara asks for school work help on a regular basis. She videoconferences (Skypes) with her cousins who are her age but live across the country.

Leo calls a friend whenever he needs to learn about a topic. She puts it in words Leo can understand.

How do your students learn what they did not learn or understand in your class? Who or what is their “real” teacher for learning?

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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 […]
    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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