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HINESBURG, Vt. — Troy Paradee loves going to school. He loves “the excitement about all the things I’m getting to learn.” Jocelyn Foran can’t wait to get to her classroom either: “We are learning so much more and it’s so much more fun and creative.” Paradee and Foran are among the surprise beneficiaries of a statewide effort in Vermont to “personalize” learning: They are teachers who say that their jobs have become far more rewarding by giving students greater freedom to choose what to learn both in and out of school.
Image by The USO, via Flickr Commons So you might think that if Stephen King – the guy who wrote such horror classics like Carrie and The Stand – were to rattle off his top ten favorite books, it would feature works by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft or maybe J. R. R.
"Kids of the same age aren't all alike when it comes to learning any more than they are alike in terms of size, hobbies, personality, or food preferences. Kids do have many things in common, because they are human beings and because they are all young people, but they also have important differences. What we share makes us human, but how we differ makes us individuals. In a classroom with little or no differentiated instruction, only student similarities seem to take center stage. In a differentiated classroom, commonalities are acknowledged and built upon, and student differences also become important elements in teaching and learning. "
Space, whether physical or virtual, can have a significant impact on learning. Learning Spaces focuses on how learner expectations influence such spaces, the principles and activities that facilitate learning, and the role of technology from the perspective of those who create learning environments: faculty, learning technologists, librarians, and administrators. Information technology has brought unique capabilities to learning spaces, whether stimulating greater interaction through the use of collaborative tools, videoconferencing with international experts, or opening virtual worlds for exploration. This e-book represents an ongoing exploration as we bring together space, technology, and pedagogy to ensure learner success.
The more powerful the goals we establish for ourselves, and the more we feel ownership over those goals, the more we are able to pursue them in the face of both internal and external distractions.
We all know this from experience. Most of us can shut out distractions when we are pursuing something that really matters to us. So if we want to deal with distractions in teaching, an obvious place to turn would be toward our goals for the classroom: Who creates them? How much do they matter? And how well do students understand them?
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