Posts Tagged 'School'

Good Apps vs Very Good Apps

Good mobile learning practice apps  facilitate and transform learning.

Mobile learning activities can  increase students’ time on task.  In a classroom, a teacher calls on one student  after another but no student is active all the time; only those who are called on are active. Students remain  off task for much of the time since students just wait to be called on.   In doing a mobile learning app, the students concentrate each second as they do the activity. There do not waste time.  They are  on task all the time.  Very good apps incorporate games or challenges into the program.  These games or challenges are content driven, they are not simply rewards of random non-content games.

Mobile learning can offer differentiation.  Often in a classroom, the teacher goes over the material until everyone has learned it. The smart students become bored very quickly while the middle level students become impatient once they do get it.  A good mobile learning app can differentiate.  As soon as students achieve a given percent correct such as 85%, the app moves  the students up in difficulty or sophistication within that learning goal.  Very good apps help the students to review and integrate previous learning concepts into the present learning.

Mlearning apps can provide immediate feedback.  In a classroom, a teacher may present five problems for the students to do, waits until the class is done, and then goes over each of the five problems.  As soon as the   students do the first  math exercise on a mobile app, the the app immediately tells the students if they are correct or not. Students do not wait between doing the problem and finding out if they correct.  Very good apps provide specific strategies for the students to learn how to overcome their learning gap in any problem. They go beyond “Try again” or  “No, the answer is …” to explain how to learn the correct answer.

A mobile learning practice app can provide realistic and contextual  learning. Instead of students doing math word problems written on paper, a mobile app can show students real situations such as shopping in a grocery store.  Here are cans of beets, one sells for eighty eight cents and three sell for two dollars and forty cents; which is the better deal  and why? Very good apps simulate the real experience.

When students use a multi-sensory learning app, they go beyond just reading words on a screen.  They see critical images.  They hear pertinent sounds. They move things around the screen to demonstrate their learning.  They are involved in a total experience instead of just  completing electronic drill pages.  Very good apps involve many senses.

Mlearning apps can have students go from working individually to working collaboratively. Often mobile devices isolate students since each student is doing his/ her own work on his/ her own mobile device.   Students can work collaboratively on the same device or they send information back and forth as in an electronic peer review.  Very good  apps extend the collaboration to the another class in the same school, a different school, a school in a different state, a school in a different country or even multiple countries.

A learning app can  move students from practice to use.  The app can go beyond the lower levels of memorization and comprehension to application, evaluation and synthesis.  Students do not just practice irregular past verbs; they use these words in meaningful ways in a conversation.  Students apply math formula to measuring a house.  Very good apps take students to higher levels of learning, to real world use.

What does your mobile app do? Does it reach the very good app level?

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students 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 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students  express themselves in the modern language and move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Compare Institutional MLearning to Your School’s Mlearning

Many institutions use QR codes. At the Cornell Plantations at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY),  they have put QR codes next to many wild flowers.  When a person uses his/her smartphone to scan  the wild flower QR code, the person hears a poem that mentions that wild flower.  Even though the person is outside in the “wild” area, he/she can appreciate both the flower and the poetry.   At the Etioje Museum in Indianapolis, they have a guitar exhibit; many of the musicians pictures or  actual guitars have a poster with a picture, words and a number next to them. The person borrows a smartphone from the museum and clicks on a specific  number to watch a video about a musician or hear a specific guitar being played.

Some things that happen during this institutional  mlearning:

– At both places, the visitor becomes involved in his/her personal mlearning.
– Each person decides what he/she wants to learn within the specific category. At the Plantations, the visitor selects which flowers he/she will scan.  The person may skip the QR code for any given flower.
– The visitor can listen/ watch any video as much as he/she wants.  A person may only view a few seconds of the video or the person may re-watch the video many times.
– Each person selects the order of his/her mlearning; at the guitar exhibit, a person may focus on the musicians in a specific time order or a person can randomly sample any musician.
– Each person does his/her own comparisons/contrasts with previous musicians or guitars; when couples or group of people travel together through the exhibit, they often share their comparisons/contrasts.
– Each new learning object broadens the learning or provides more in-depth details.  For example, the guitar exhibit covers many different types of guitar music while it also explains in-depth the development of the electric guitar.
– A visitor experiences variety and diversity such as the many different flowers at the Plantation Wildlife area while, at the same time, he/she encounters a  wholistic view of the category of wild flowers.
– Each place has a visual, print words and spoken words/videos  so the visitor employs different modalities of learning.
– Each person learns at his/ her own pace. A person may linger over a certain flower while his/ her partner goes ahead.
– Each person learns, not with a frown on his/her face, but with a smile.

How does this mlearning compare to mlearning in your school?

My ebook, 90 M0bile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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

Smartphones over Tablets

I have numerous reasons why I prefer a smartphone over tablets for students.
1) Students always have their smartphone with them regardless of where they are.  Students do not always carry their tablets with them.  For example,  Mary may not take  her tablet to swim practice but she will have her smartphone with her.  Just before practice, she  goes to her history class’s website to get the link to a video.  Chris will not take his tablet to work but he will have his smartphone with him so, during break, he can learn or practice his Spanish words.   Learning can only be 24/7 if the students have their mobile device with them.

2) Smartphones allow students to text.   Students spend much time texting in their daily life; they texted on an average of 60 texts a day in 2011  Teachers can have students text to find out information from others outside the classroom, to collaborate on projects, and  to write.  When students text others, they usually get immediate responses.

3)  .  The show, “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”,  gave us the expression “Phone a friend” and illustrated that people can learn from others.  When students use a smartphone, they can  call a person to ask questions, do a follow-up or clarify  information.  Students can talk to an expert / user of the learning concept such as  a contractor, a  business person,  or an artist.  When students talk to people outside the classroom, they see their in-class learning as something real.  Students can “shadow” professionals through weekly phone calls.

4)  Smartphones are cheaper than tablets.  A parent can purchase a high quality smartphone for their child for  less than a hundred dollars, a high quality tablet costs much more. Schools can purchase good smartphones at lower prices.

What device has your school selected as its mobile learning device?  Why? What does that device do beyond apps?

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 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

Use any Web 2.0 tool at any Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Don’t be Limited by Listings

I have been teaching for many years.  In fact, one of my earliest presentations was on “Using Print Shop at All Levels of Bloom” (the original Print Shop).  Therefore, whenever I see the listings that supposedly say what Web 2.0 tools works at what level of Bloom’s taxonomy, I become very confused. A few of the many such listings are http://www.usi.edu/distance/bloom%20pyramid.jpg, http://tsheko.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/visualblooms1.jpg?w=500&h=359, http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/Reference/images/web_2_Bloom.jpg, and http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/candacemcenespy/Images/vectormap.gif There is only a very slight overlap among the listing, each usually puts the same Web 2.0 tools at different thinking levels.

Let’s look at Google docs which a few sites place at the lowest level of Bloom, Remember/Knowledge. Google docs can be used to help students recall information. However, it can just as easily be used to paraphrase the information (from the original Shakespeare to modern day texting messages), to apply/use information (How does Pareto’s 20/80 rule apply to this story? ), to analyzing/contrasting (How are these two poems the same? Different?), to evaluating (Which literature that we have read this year best expresses man’s inhumanity to man? Why?), and synthesize/creating (Write a short story in which you mock some modern day thinking or organization.)

Teachers determine how any Web 2.0 tool is used. They determine at what Bloom’s level they will use the Web 2.0 tool. If they want their students to be bigger thinkers, they will use the higher levels of Bloom. If the teachers want their students to remain in small thinking, they will use the lower levels.

The choice of what level to use any Web 2.0 is up to the teacher. At what level do you use each Web 2.0 tools? Do you consciously build up Bloom’s taxonomy with each different technology you use during a unit?

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Teachers as Producers, Not Consumers, at Faculty Meetings

Many teachers  consider  faculty or department meetings a waste  of time. They often complain that a memo could have given the critical information, that a person talked to long about nothing, or that they had better things to do that would  help their students. An administrator can transform meetings so that teachers move from being passive consumers to active producers.

Instead of having someone talk about ways to improve student learning, have the teachers group together by subject area and go to a designated room.  Each subject area group can think of the students’ major learning blocks in their curriculum and have the team suggest specific strategies that students can use to overcome those blocks.  The principal, curriculum leader, librarian,  or technology integration specialist would have set up a private  subject area curriculum wiki such as pbworks (pbworks.com) for this group.  Someone  in the group will word process in the wiki each learning block and the strategies that the teacher suggests.  For example, a teacher may identify that students often have trouble in finding evidence to support a position such as in a Social Studies Document Based Question (DBQ) in which students have to find references from historical documents to prove a certain statement. A teacher may offer that she has students identify the key word in the original statement in a red highlighter and then has students highlight in red that word or any synonym each time it appears in the document. Usually the highlighted words become the key to the students finding sentence that provides the necessary evidence.   If any  teacher has a video, website, podcast, etc that he/she uses, he/she  can give that link to the recorder.  The recorder lists the learning block and all the strategies that directly help students overcome that block.   At the end of the faculty meeting, the teachers end up  with a large variety of strategies that can help students as  they encounter difficulties in their learning.

Furthermore, the teachers can check the subject area wiki anytime to remind themselves of the new strategies that their students can use. The teachers can add more as they counter additional learning blocks and figure out effective strategies to help their students.  The  wiki becomes a living document that offers teachers useful student learning strategies.

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Make classroom Web 2.0 use interactive, not static

I thought that Web 2.0 was all about interactivity- someone does something and others respond. However, I’ve noticed that numerous Web 2.0  programs are used primarily in a one way mode  (publish and run mode)

Students use Voki to record their ideas.  However, the recording  usually serve as  the end product.  The recording does not encourage others to respond or build on the recording.  Yes, others can listen to it but they usually do not do anything after listening to it.  For example, Modern Language teachers may have their students record what they did last weekend in the second language.  Once the recording is done, the “learning” is done.  No one will probably listen to it except for the teacher.  I propose a transformation  so that class use of Voki goes from being in a static mode to an interactive  Web 2.0 mode.  Modern Language teachers can have students make Voki recordings that are questions that other class members can answer. For example, students can ask questions in the imperfect tense of their classmates “When you were a child, what was your favorite milk?” and the classmates can answer, “Yes, when I was child, my favorite drink  was chocolate milk.”

Likewise, students produce multi-media Glogster eposters.  However, their eposters occur at the end of their learning. Usually, no one is expected to take their information and react to it or build on it. For example, Social Studies students prepare country reports.   I propose a transformation  so that the class use of Glogster  goes from being in a  static mode to an interactive mode.  Social Studies teachers can ask students to compare/contrast the various county reports to see what commonalities show up about the countries. For example, what do the country reports from South Africa have in common? How do they differ?

How do you have your students use Web 2.0 interactively?

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.


RSS Education with Technology

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    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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