The New Classrooms version of reinventing high school and junior highs leverages technology to target lessons to every student every day, explained New Classrooms’ Rose.
Watching screens with lists like an airport departure schedule, kids find the stations they go to each day. It will be a mix of time at a computer table, time with a study group, project time and tutoring time with a teacher when needed. Each day the staff meets after school and, using online coursework and teacher reads, lays out the next day’s lineups.
It sounds a little manic, but here are the results: Overall their students learned a year and a half’s worth of material in one year. English learners, probably coming from behind, averaged 1.7 years’ growth in one year.
And here’s the wild one: Special-education students, rarely expected to even make one year’s growth, averaged 1.4 years in New Classrooms.
Recent technological advances have affected many areas of our lives: the way we communicate, collaborate, learn, and, of course, teach. Along with that, those advances necessitated an expansion of our vocabulary, producing definitions such as digital natives, digital immigrants, and, the topic of this post -- "21st-century teacher." ...
Obviously, teaching in the 21-century is an altogether different phenomenon; never before could learning be happening the way it is now -- everywhere, all the time, on any possible topic, supporting any possible learning style or preference. But what does being a 21st-century teacher really mean?
Below are 15 characteristics of a 21st-century teacher:
Online classes can be rewarding if students are highly engaged, self-motivated, and performing to the best of their capabilities. What makes online teaching challenging is the lack of visually watching students, which means an instructor does not have the benefit of visually assessing them as they attempt to complete the learning activities and course requirements.
That's not the only challenge an online instructor may face. There may be technological issues with the online classroom platform or challenges related to managing a class while meeting the facilitation requirements. What makes online teaching even more challenging are difficult students, which includes students who don't seem to review their feedback and are unreceptive to constructive criticism, along with students who fail to communicate in a respectful tone. Working with difficult students usually requires spending additional time and may create feelings of frustration for the instructor, especially if the students are not responsive.
Even if an instructor is highly visible and engaged in their online class, and offers multiple methods of contact for students, it still may be difficult to pinpoint the underlying causes of student issues. Inappropriate communication must be addressed right away through corrective methods; however, knowing something about the student and the reason for their frustrations can have a positive impact on the situation. Unfortunately, some students rely upon anonymity and do not respond to outreach attempts.
Online students are known primarily through their classroom posts, papers, and messages, which means an instructor may not learn much about them if they are not actively involved in the class – and that makes understanding their developmental needs much more challenging. There are methods an instructor can use as part of their instructional practice to work with difficult students, which means that excellence in online teaching can be maintained during the best and worst of classroom circumstances.
Don't Let Time Be an Issue
A majority of online classes are taught by adjunct instructors. This means that those instructors who are teaching these classes are likely maintaining other responsibilities, similar to their students. Also like their students they may have a specific amount of time devoted for involvement in their classes and when they are online and working there are specific tasks that must be accomplished. Every instructor hopes that students will be highly motivated, fully present when they are in class, and have a mindset that is receptive towards learning. The reality is that students aren't always performing in that manner or have a positive disposition. Whenever a student issue does arise it can cause some facilitation duties to be pushed back. While it is not possible to predict when student issues will occur, an instructor can develop a time management plan for completing the required duties, and have additional time built in to address developmental needs and challenges.
"Curiosity, likely an evolutionary adaptive, is a raw appetite for information that helped us survive. But that same aggressive appetite for information and experience changes in the face of information abundance, and not always for the better."
What follows is the If...Then of professional learning. If school leaders want teachers to be innovative, then they have to offer experiences that inspire innovation. Here are ideas that have worked, with concrete examples.
Gamification, applying game-designed thinking to non-gaming applications, is a tool that’s grown in popularity and is creatively advancing education in the United States.
Educators see the gamification of teaching as a way to “take a more active role in learning” as students “develop the technology skills they need to succeed throughout their academic and professional careers,” according to Scientific American. Gaming needs to “leverage engagement, mindset and design,” says Maker Mom Marie Bjerede.
This collection of blogs, articles, and videos aims to help educators deploy social-media tools to develop professionally, connect with parents and communities, and engage students in 21st-century learning.
There’s nothing I care more about than students, and there are few things I think can serve a student better than being able to ask the right question at the right time.
In “Why Questions Are More Important Than Answers,” I said that “Questioning is the art of learning. Learning to ask important questions is the best evidence of understanding there is, far surpassing the temporary endorphins of a correct “answer.” And while I sometimes disagree with things I say after hearing or reading them later, that still holds up.
During the past year and a half, our faculty development unit has been gathering data from students about how engaged they felt in their online courses. We wanted to use this data to develop a variety of strategies for faculty to use to better engage their students. Research provides evidence for the connection between higher student engagement and persistence and retention in online programs (Boston, et al., 2010; Wyatt, 2011). Encouraging student engagement is especially important in the online environment where attrition rates are higher than in the face-to-face setting (Allen & Seaman, 2015; Boston & Ice, 2011).
We gained valuable insights from students when we asked: “Define what it means to you to be engaged in a course.” Below are student quotes for each theme that emerged and some strategies for encouraging engagement.
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