Monday, June 23, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Leo The Late Bloomer
ChickaChicka BoomBoom (very catchy song!)
Here are some more to get you started.
Another reason to love YouTube.
I often observe improvement in student engagement and learning but it is typically anecdotal. When I recommend a particular strategy or technology tool, I encourage data collection to determine effectiveness of the tool or strategy. But, what works AND has been validated through the research? Does the research confirm my observations about student learning? Are current instructional methods sufficient for students or are there ways that technology can support validated learning research?
These are some of the questions I consider (and lose sleep over!)
So, when Larry Ferlazzo blogged about a recent publication from the National Center for Education Research entitled, "Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning: A Practice Guide" I sat up and took notice. The overview states:
Much of teaching is about helping students master new knowledge and skills and then helping students not to forget what they have learned. The recommendations in this practice guide are intended to provide teachers with specific strategies for organizing both instruction and students’ studying of material to facilitate learning and remembering information, and to enable students to use what they have learned in new situations.
The seven recommendations in this practice guide reflect our panel’s consensus on some of the most important concrete and applicable principles to emerge from research on learning and memory.
They offer seven recommendations, summarized as follows:
1. Space learning over time. Arrange to review key elements of course content after a delay of several weeks to several months after initial presentation.
2. Interleave worked example solutions with problem-solving exercises. Have students alternate between reading already worked solutions and trying to solve problems on their own.
3. Combine graphics with verbal descriptions. Combine graphical presentations (e.g., graphs, figures) that illustrate key processes and procedures with verbal descriptions.
4. Connect and integrate abstract and concrete representations of concepts.Connect and integrate abstract representations of a concept with concrete representations of the same concept.
5. Use quizzing to promote learning. Use quizzing with active retrieval of information at all phases of the learning process to exploit the ability of retrieval directly to facilitate long-lasting memory traces.
5a. Use pre-questions to introduce a new topic.
5b. Use quizzes to re-expose students to key content.. Strong
6. Help students allocate study time efficiently. Assist students in identifying whatmaterial they know well, and what needs further study, by teaching children how to judge what they have learned. (Note: interestingly, this one showed the lowest level of evidence)
6a. Teach students how to use delayed judgments of learning to identify content that needs further study.
6b. Use tests and quizzes to identify content that needs to be learned.
7. Ask deep explanatory questions. Use instructional prompts that encourage students to pose and answer “deep-level” questions on course material. These questions enable students to respond with explanations and supports deep understanding of taught material.
If you only have to time to quickly peruse the publication, turn to page 4 to find a convenient checklist for implementing the recommendations.
Finally, their Conclusion states:
This practice guide has attempted to distill some of the more well supported and actionable
educational recommendations to emerge from recent (and sometimes not-so-recent) research in the fields of cognitive science and cognitive psychology. These recommendations are meant to shed light on how educators can facilitate not only initial learning and understanding, but—equally importantly—the long-term retention of information and skills taught in schools.
Like medicine, teaching remains an art even as it seeks to ground its practices more heavilyon scientifically collected evidence. . . .As with professionals in other fields, such as medicine, that also seek to rely on a base of evidence and yet must deal with important practical problems on a daily basis, educators must make the best use they can of the current knowledge as it is, even while being mindful of its imperfection.
What does this have to do with technology?
Part 2 will deal with practical technology applications that consider the seven recommendations which promote student learning.
Photo credit: http://flickr.com/photos/aaronschmidt/281619803/
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The only way to allow students to assemble this essential toolbelt for information and communication is to to throw open your classroom and let the world in. How will your students know which calendar works for them - the one on their phone, Google Calendar with SMS appointment texting, Microsoft Outlook, or any of a dozen paper systems unless you allow them to try them out? How will your students know whether they 'get' a novel better by listening to an audiobook, or reading it on paper, or using text-to-speech, if you don't let them experience all repeatedly and help them decide? Will their choice be the same when they are reading history texts? Math texts? Again, how will they know? How will they know which is the best way for them to write, by hand (either on paper or on a tablet system), by keyboard (and which keyboard), or by voice, if they do not get to try out all the kinds of writing they need to do with all these tools?With Toolbelt Theory in mind and thanks to a tweet from Paul Hamilton, I learned about a great post that needs to be shared. 100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner details specific tools according to learning style. Are you a Visual Learner? Auditory Learner? Kinesthetic Learner? Each category is covered and tools are described so that you can determine what works best for you. Most people are a combination of learning styles, so there will be a great deal of overlap.
They won't know. And you - the school, the teacher, the education system - will have deprived them of these essential skills.
The post is written for college students and helps them identify tools that promote their own learning success. K-12 teachers can review the list and apply the tools considering the learning styles of the students in their classrooms.
It's not an exhaustive list for teachers - for example, one of my favorites, VoiceThread, isn't listed. VoiceThread IS a tool for every kind of learner; it's great for differentiated instruction and helps kids demonstrate what they know, no matter what their strengths or areas to strengthen. But that's the difference between providing kids with tools for their toolbox and providing teachers with tools for their instructional toolbox.
And a number of other free text-to-speech (TTS) tools exist that aren't mentioned in the post. (My post Free Tech Toolkit for UDL in All Classrooms includes additional free TTS).
Keep building your own instructional toolbox and empower your students with suggestions that they will want to try. The summer is a great time to explore new possibilities to be equipped for the next school year.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
This is successful UDL.
And if you missed Lisa Parisi's post about her 5th grade classroom success, check this out too.
Replicate this. It's easier than failure.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Google Earth now offers a 3D virtual tour of Disney World in Florida. It's possible to explore four of the Disney theme parks and some of the hotels as well.
Why is this significant?
Now it's possible to preview Disney World with students who benefit from previewing. For some kids, the ability to preview helps promote positive behaviors and helps ease transitions. Kids on the Autism Spectrum or kids with cognitive disabilities may benefit from preparation beforehand. And exploring Disney World virtually may help families anticipate challenges or strategize their visit to make the experience pleasurable for all.
Share this information with your student's families so they can explore this feature especially if they are planning a Disney trip in the near future.
What do you think? Do you think this is a feature that can benefit families?