I had one professor in grad school that provided audio feedback on our assignments, which I appreciated, and looked forward to very much even if it was not all positive. Not only did five minutes of feedback pack a lot of punch, but it felt personal, and I found myself putting extra effort into all assignments in his class.
There are plenty of reasons teachers do not use education technology. It’s expensive. It’s hard to always find a reason to implement edtech into a particular lesson. That’s all true and valid, really.
But what are the other big reasons that teachers don’t use technology in the classroom? We did a little digging through surveys, social media, blogs, reports, and the Daily Genius community to uncover the top 10 reasons that edtech is getting passed over. The results might (or might not) surprise you.
One of the best ways for frustrated parents, students and teachers to convince school leaders that it’s time for a reboot is with amazing student work. An unconventional learning community of “makers” — people who like to figure out and fix problems with their hands — stands ready to demonstrate a hands-on learning style in which students engage problems that matter to them, taking agency and displaying creativity along the way. The Maker Movement is slowly infiltrating schools across the country with the help of dedicated educators and inspirational students proving with their creations that they can do incredible things when given a chance.
“People are seeing through the eyes and the hands and the screens of children what’s possible, and it’s re-energizing progressive views of education,” said Gary Stager, co-author with Sylvia Libow Martinez of “Invent to Learn,” a book about the Maker Movement.
When I look at the data, I notice a trend. Students have never used their devices creatively. They have the power to capture and tell a story but they don't. They have the power to connect to an authentic audience, but it's not happening. They have the potential to build models and design products and turn things from wild ideas to tangible realities. However, it's not happening.
So many teachers want the quick strategies they can use the very next day. Unfortunately, many of those are just more of the same. Sometimes what makes a strategy work (or not work) is HOW the teacher “sets up” the activity. Other times it works because of the timing or the environmental factors.
In short, it not about just the strategy. But for a moment, let’s say, you’ve already taken one of my amazing multi-day brain-based courses. The following might be good for a quick reminder:
1. The saying “too much, too fast,” means we won’t integrate and recall the information if you teach is quickly. Instead, chunk down the learning into small chunks; allow processing and settling time with partners or as reflective journal time.
2. Because every brain is different—genes + experience, plus the interplay between the two, recall the importance of honoring uniqueness, respecting differences. That means use huge variety to maximize learning. Use visual, with illustrations, and podcasts and DVDs. Then use movement with drama, hands on and energizers. Also use plenty of call-response with partner dialogs.
3. Most subjects can be learned under moderate stress; think of it as “healthy concern.” To ramp that up, use constant accountability. After every learning chunk, have kids create a quiz question, stand up, quiz their neighbor or create a short quiz of 10 questions. Use teams, peer pressure and deadlines to add concern. Remember the material better with an emotion embedded with it. After the quiz, celebrate the progress.
4. Thinking about thinking builds learning skills as active processing time. Add the process of journaling, discussion and learning logs valuable for better learning. Give students starter sentences such as “What I was curious (or stressed over) about today was”… Or, “What I learned today was… and, the way I learned it best was when I.” Until patterns emerge, learning is often random and messy, following no clear path over time, the patterns become more obvious. Pattern making is more complex in second languages like math and music.
5. Remember the value in non-learning or “settling” time, to consolidate the content. Take breaks, recess, lunch, relax time, walks, for passive processing. Even a quick energizer that’s fun and playful can be a good break.
6. Our brain can memorize, but our best learning is the trial & error learning; it’s a key to complex learning–there’s value in games done well, so use games, computers, competition, building, initiatives, etc. Games like hopscotch, relays, or just let kids quiz each other. Brains rarely get it right the first time—learning complexity is built over time Using checklists, peer teaching, computers, asking Qs, are all examples of using trial and error.
As students work on a teacher-made Classkick assignment on their iPads, teachers see every students' work progressing all at once. Students can privately raise hands, teachers give individualized, real-time student feedback, and so much more.
Empowering every student to achieve more. Technology allows us to dream of what the future of education could be. Learning is changing and students today need to be able to collaborate, communicate and demonstrate flexibility in how they solve problems in order to thrive and achieve their goals.
At Microsoft, we believe providing quality education to the 1.4 billion students around the world is essential to the future of our society. Effective, immersive learning experiences inspire students to demonstrate creative thinking. The right technology can empower education, inspire learning anywhere, and unlock the potential of students, educators, and schools. To make this technology available worldwide we partner with education communities, delivering solutions, services and programs that enhance learning and school management.
Microsoft in education empowers educators to:
• Inspire students to create and demonstrate critical thinking • Learn anytime, anywhere • Prepare students for their futures • Transform and modernize schools and college campuses
"Many of us have been bestowed the project of a pen pal in school. Teachers assign these projects in hopes of children being able to get a glimpse of another child’s life and culture, opening their mind to how other kids around the world live. Hannah Herbst, a 15-year old teenager in Florida, did not take this project lightly but used her pen pal’s story to inspire a pretty impressive invention for harnessing energy from ocean currents.
“I found out that she’s living in energy poverty, and she doesn’t have access to things that I take for granted every day,” Herbst explains the motivation from her 9- year old pen pal in Ethiopia. “Then I was boating with my family through the Boca Raton Inlet, and our boat was really jerked around by the current. I thought, why not use this power?”"
Rube Goldberg – a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation. ~ Webster’s New World Dictionary
When Rube Goldberg walked away from his engineering career in 1904, it’s unlikely he realized the impact that he would have on 21st century education. I find it ironic that many educators at the forefront of STEM education find inspiration from his cartoons, like The Simple Alarm Clock, that were published in newspapers across the United States over 100 years ago.
When I initially share the Engineering Design Process with my middle school students (see below), I like to have them collaboratively plan, construct and then use the iterative process to continuously refine a Rube Goldberg Machine.
QR codes are possibly one of the most underused useful features of new technology. Perhaps one of the main reasons for this is that many people see them as a form of barcode and wrongly believe that they can only be produced by companies, but the reality is anyone can produce a QR code within seconds.
Since Y2K the advancement of technology has been exponential. Thanks to better internet speeds and innovation competition our obsession with the next big thing has led the tech industry into one of the largest and fastest growing in America.
How do we measure learning beyond knowledge of content? Finding that winning combination of criteria can prove to be a complicated and sometimes difficult process. Schools that are pushing boundaries are learning that it takes time, a lot of conversation, and a willingness to let students participate in that evaluation.
“Most schools and most of our learning stops at knowing and we need to move that and broaden it to the doing and the reflecting,” said Bob Lenz, co-founder & chief executive officer of Envision Schools while participating in a Deeper Learning MOOC panel. The charter network’s teachers follow three steps for assessment: know, do, reflect. Skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration require practice, Lenz said. Students have to do them constantly and be observed throughout the process for a true assessment.
“The real power comes in the reflective process, both individually and with peers,” Lenz said. “Any of the deeper learning outcomes, the reflection is really where the power is and it puts the onus back on the student, instead of the teacher standing in judgment.” Most projects at Envision schools culminate in an exhibition of work at which students reflect on how they could have done things differently or improved on their work. All four years of high school at Envision are a cycle of performance frameworks feeding into a portfolio and culminating in a defense of four years of learning at which students show what they have learned by demonstrating their knowledge and skill, as well as the ability to learn how to learn.
"Makerspaces are an amazing way to bring STEAM, creativity and informal learning into your school, but with so much information out there, many educators aren’t sure of where to get started. In this session, you will get ideas and inspiration on how to bring the Maker Education Movement into your school. Topics covered will include: cultivating a Maker culture, getting student input, finding space, securing funds and donations, gathering supplies, making it happen, and sharing with others. Throughout the presentation, you will see examples from the creation of our school’s library Makerspace, as well as examples from other schools."
If there is one thing I get asked, and that has been answered online time and again, it's "How do I get my photos to look like I want them to look on Facebook?" followed immediately by "Why does Facebook ruin my photos anyway?" and finally "I just want my photos to look awesome on Facebook." The bottom line is, Facebook does give us options, loopholes if you like, and we just need to adhere to them and our images will look stellar. But, what are these magical settings? I decided I was going to
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