Viewing entries tagged Learning
Are you a teacher looking for a sure fire way to get students excited about learning? Have you tried music?
To create good lessons using music you don’t need to be a great singer and you don’t even need to play an instrument. We all know that most students love to listen to popular music. Plus, most of our students have an ipod, a computer, or at the very least a radio. So that means most students are interested in music and as a teacher it’s very easy to access.
When I was teaching 6th grade one of my students’ favorite units was when we used popular music lyrics to study mood, tone and figurative language. Each day I would share several songs and their lyrics so students could follow along as we listened. We would discuss mood and tone as well as the different types of figurative language. Of course I would choose songs carefully so that they were appropriate and contained figurative language. I tried to choose songs that they might know already, but also a mix of songs they weren’t familiar with.
This was one of our favorite songs about Onomatopoeia by Todd Rundgren:
After we listened...
Are you looking for ways to connect your students to the world around them? Today it is easier than ever to break down the walls of your classroom and connect your students with others around the world. There are several sites that are safe and specifically designed for educators looking to connect around the world.
The first is ePals. This site is a variation on the classic idea of having a pen pal. However, instead of waiting for “snail mail” from your friend across the globe, now students can connect through email.
Teachers create an account in ePals and can start in a variety of ways to connect to other classes. You can search for teachers to work with in specific countries or regions as well as by age level. You can look through posts from teachers looking to connect or even create your own post and wait for responses. ePals also has different projects that classes can work on together as they collaborate. These projects range from science topics like global warming and habitats to social studies and learning about different cultures. You can even have students work on a cyber bullying project.
After teachers make their connection...
Tags: 21st century, 21st century skills, blended learning, change, collaboration, ePals, global connections, interactive, Learning, Skype, social media, Social Networking for educators, technology integration
Consider this: When you search the internet for “online resources for teachers” there are 257 million possible results. Change the search terms to “best online resources for teachers” and now there are over 1 billion results. How can there be 1 billion “best” resources for teachers?
The fact is that most teachers are overwhelmed by the possibilities that are out there for using technology in the classroom. Between grading papers, grade level meetings, parent meetings, committee meetings, and other duties, teachers don’t have time to search the web for tools to use in their classroom.
As I have gone out to meet with and survey teachers one of the overwhelming responses I’ve received is that teachers just want to know what is out there that they could use. These are just a few of what the internet has to offer to teachers looking to integrate technology into their classroom.
This site claims to have over 10,000 free lesson plans, and I don’t doubt it. One of the best features of this site, sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, are the Student Interactives. These link to a wide variety of interactive sites that could be good for individual students to access...
Tags: 21st century, 21st century skills, Biography, change, educator, Edutecher, flipped classroom, Google Lit Trips, interactive, k12, Khan Academy, Learning, productivity, technology integration, Thinkfinity
So where am I going with this, you may ask. I want you to ponder and answer these questions: What does real learning look like? And what is the teacher’s responsibility in this? When you look at the history of public education, you find that it has its roots and design in the industrial revolution. School was deigned to create good workers who follow instructions, and then become good consumers. As an example, students sit in straight rows of desks, open to the page the teacher tells them, and then listens as the teacher shares their knowledge. This was fine when most of the jobs out there were industrial. Isn’t the picture of a worker on an assembly line similar?As a teacher, my classroom looked exactly like that for many years. I did as I had been taught. I began to question whether that was the best way to teach. Through today’s brain-based learning research scientists have found that our brains don’t really operate at maximum efficiency or even close in a setting like that.
Now enter the 21st century, and everything has changed. Technology is all around us, and students are connecting and engaged on a daily basis in some...
To begin with, let’s define the two terms. IT stands for informational technology and is defined as: "Information Technology," and is pronounced "I.T." It refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.
TI stands for Technology Integration and is defined by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education as: “Curriculum integration with the use of technology involves the infusion of technology as a tool to enhance the learning in a content area or multidisciplinary setting... Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions — as accessible as all other classroom tools. The focus in each lesson or unit is the curriculum outcome, not the technology”.
At this point you may be wondering where I’m going with this. Let’s not forget the other word in the title (versus). Let’s ponder if this could be a true statement. As a retired teacher of twenty five years, having listened to many teachers at...
Apple’s recent announcement that they are entering the digital textbook market should not be too surprising to anyone who’s been following recent trends in education technology.
Along with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and a couple other e-readers, the iPad is particularly well-suited to displaying textbook-like content. And considering that the hardware is bound to get better and better over time (and available at lower price points), things are looking up for digital textbook publishers.
While sales of electronic textbooks accounted for only 2.8% of the $8 billion textbook market in 20101, there are quite a few companies poised to take advantage of that emerging (albeit slowly) market, including CourseSmart, Kno, and Flat World Knowledge.
Products from these firms are already being used in many pilot programs around the nation. Any why not? The advantages are obvious. Compared to traditional textbooks, digital books:
Take up little space, the hardware for storing them isn’t heavy or bulky
Are regularly updated by the publisher (with no need to repurchase)
Make searching for specific words or topics much easier
Are often cheaper per unit than their paper and ink counterparts
Allow for a more interactive and engaging experience for students
With that said, digital textbooks are...
It will not come as a surprise to you that as I meet with school districts around the country, I find every variation of Mac, PC, or some combination of the two. Inevitably, I’m asked, “What do you recommend, Mac or PC?” This is a legitimate question. I fully understand why I’m being asked the question, but let’s elevate the subject:
We’ve all heard that there are “Mac” people and “PC” people. Yes, I’ve lived it. I’m old enough to remember when the debate was legitimate, but if we’re still arguing this matter today, we’re missing the bigger picture. I will not advocate either because the fact is, it doesn’t matter. Let me ask you this; without looking, can you tell me what brand microwave you have at home? Does it really matter? I don’t know what mine is. I have a feeling it’s a Panasonic, but then again, it could be a Sharp. I really don’t know, but here’s what I can tell you. When I want an awesome plate of nachos, it heats the chips and cheese just the way I want! Similarly, do you really think students care what brand of computer they are using? Of course...
One of the hottest trends in technology right now is called "gamification." Essentially, gamification is the use of certain techniques to encourage user participation in activities that are not traditionally seen as games. The most notable aspect of gamification is that it can be used to make people excited about doing things that they would ordinarily consider boring.
Here’s an example of gamification in the real world that you’ve no doubt heard of: frequent flyer miles. By flying with the same airline multiple times, you can accumulate a lot of miles (or points, or whatever the airline calls them). Once you reach a certain number, you can cash them in for rewards, like an upgrade to a first class seat or a free flight.
This is gamification at it’s finest. Basically, the airline wants you to behave in a certain way (i.e. they want you to buy your tickets from them, as opposed to their competitors), so they simply reward you every time you perform the "correct" action. As you can see, it’s a very simple idea at its core.
Gamification can be used to great length in K-12 education as well. The Khan Academy website is one of the better...