Seeking/Searching this week: 6/7 things this week that “pop out” to you when you think about seeking equity in connected learning … and then thoughts on how we can design for true equity in connected learning.
1. I actually incorporated Voicethread technology into a project I completed for my inclusion course with Heather Hopkins. The video posted to our weekly email “Students Doing History with Voicethread Technology,” a Digital Is posting and it immediately “popped out” to me as a way to incorporate connected learning into the social studies classroom. I could see myself designing a project in which students would be asked to create visual podcasts in collaboration with students at another school. This intermingling of not only age and generations but also of varied perspectives and viewpoints on historical events would be a powerful way to teach students the evolutionary nature of history and social sciences.
Using voices, whether they are of experts, witnesses to historical events or student interpretations and analyses of these events, brings the content to life. When accompanied with student created images, students are able to take the podcast to a different level and they begin to realize, as Gail Desler states in the video, “that they are creating content that others can use.”
The idea of making and remixing have been common points of discussions on our blogs and during our weekly meetings because they are such powerful tools that are able to give students pride and ownership over their work. They are not just consumers of their educators but active and creative participants in their learning.
The Voicethread video can be found here: http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/415
2. In think a constant struggle for all teachers is how to get their content areas to truly “pop” for their students and be as engaging and creative as possible. All students need to be able to find the “me” in their learning and uncover the “so what.” I really liked the website suggested on Lizzy post, Get The Math, in which students are able to explore the way in which math is applied in a number of careers. These careers include fashion, music, sports, videogame design, and other areas of interest for our students. And best of all, the website provides ready-made lesson plans for teachers to take into their classrooms. This idea is great not only for mathematics…I would love to see similar sites designed around history, English/Language Arts, the science, music, etc. When students ask us, “Why are we learning this?” we can point to the various career opportunities that exist down the road if they choose to pursue a subject that strikes their interest.
3. Another shout out to Lizzy’s blog (I feel like I do this a lot but she does share a lot of very interesting and relevant resources!) is ClassFlow. You simply have to create an account on your computer, laptop or tablet, download original lesson plans or used those shared in the ClassFlow community. Each student is given a unique passcode which allows them access to the lessons and resources you share in your account and better yet, students are able to upload assignments and post responses straight to the ClassFlow account, be it from school or from home. This website really “pops” for me because it allows students to collaborate in an online setting and view each other’s responses, opinions, and viewpoints. A little extra “pop” for teachers is that ClassFlow will automatically calculate grades and assessments and provide performance data!
4. Differentiated instruction is a buzzword that “pops” in the mind of every educator and each educator faces the daily challenge of modifying their curriculum to fit the needs of all of their students. We can no longer simply “teach to the middle” and hope that all of our students fall into place. Instead, we need to modify curriculum and find resources that target those students that struggle as well as those students who are advanced. As mentioned in my last blurb, ClassFlow is perfect for this because teachers are able to
Create student groups within ClassFlow based on your teaching needs. Send different content to different groups or individuals. Administer self-paced assessments with questions of different levels of difficulty.
5. Another great way to differentiate instruction so that our lessons “pop” for all of our students is to distribute an Interest, Readiness, and Learning Profile Questionnaire such as that created by Denise Murphy and Beth Ann Potter which can be found in Carol Tomlinson’s How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms. This way you can start off the school year knowing what types of topics interest our students (law, music, art, history, sports, etc.), how ready students are to learn by asking students to complete a pre-test in your content area, and lastly, letting students tell you how they learn best. What makes learning “pop” for them? Is it alone, in a group, with time constraints, without time constraints, with noise, without noise, etc. This allows teachers to tailor learning so that students feel comfortable in their learning space and while it is absolutely impossible to accommodate for and differentiate to every student at every moment of the school day, this is definitely a great start. This is an excellent resource I have been using for ED512 and you can find it here!
6. Another idea that came up On Erik’s blog this week was the creation of student anthologies, similar to the idea of student maintained portfolios. I have always disliked the idea of students throwing away their hard earned work, especially because it is such great documentation of all of the progress they have made over the year. Of course, it would be impractical to keep all student work in a portfolio, so students should be asked which pieces really “popped” for them and showed their best work.A great online student portfolio maker that I came across was ThreeRing. It is an an online student portfolio that allows student to upload and peer review their work to a class account with a unique and secure pass code. You can upload student project and assignments by name and organize them into folders for later viewing and grading.
The following benefits of ThreeRing were taken directly from the following link:
- Capture and self-report evidence of what you’ve learned
- Take pride in your work and feel ownership over your learning
- Get descriptive feedback on concrete evidence from your projects and performances
- Assess growth using real projects, performances, and work: goodbye bubbles and hello authentic assessment
- Simple workflow and organization help you reduce clutter, files, and copying: send work home to parents and keep it for yourself!
- Video made easy, no more messy email attachments or jammed up hard drives
- Show instead of tell using qualitative evidence to anchor feedback
7) My last post is going to be about a teaching hack that “popped” out to me in my search and which that fits in perfectly with our “meme make” from a few weeks back. One teacher suggested having each student in your class create their own unique (and of course your must stress, school appropriate) meme to create classroom ground rules and expectations for behavior. I feel like this would be a really fun and creative way to start off the school year with your new group of students. I remember always dreading the first day of school because it would be a dry and repetitive review of rules and expectations for the year. Giving the students a hand in this process, and better yet, doing it in digitally current and age-relevant way for our students, will give the students a sense of ownership over their classroom environment ( a theme I am always going back to) as well as start the year off on a fun and light-hearted note.