Learning technology skills

21 Things 4 Students “was created as an educational and online resource to help students improve their technology proficiency as they prepare for success in the 21st century. This project was specifically developed to provide districts and classroom teachers with resources to help students meet or exceed the 8th grade technology proficiency requirements in Michigan.”

Students all over the world need these skills and this site allows progressive attainment through video explanations and ‘quests’ in 21 areas.

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Making projects real

The MindShift post by Christina Farr No Courses, No Classrooms, No Grades — Just Learning, describes how some students in the USA are taking time out of school to enrol in project-based learning that pairs them with real projects of problems that need solving.
Real Projects

The NuVu Studio describes their program:

“NuVu is a full-time magnet innovation center for middle and high school students. NuVu’s pedagogy is based on the architectural Studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. We basically teach students how to navigate the messiness of the creative process, from inception to completion.
No Courses: Instead, we have studios. Around 12 kids work closely with their 2 coaches on solving big (and small) open-ended problems.
No Subjects: Instead, everything is fused together. Students find themselves moving between a studio that requires them to design a telepresence robot to another that requires them to re-imagine Boston with a cable car system.
No Classrooms: Instead, we have an open space that changes all the time to adapt to the needs of every studio.
No One-Hour Schedule: Instead, students spend two weeks from 9-3 solving one problem.
No Grades: Instead, we have portfolios that document students’ design decisions and show their final products.”

On a smaller scale – many schools are now making pedagogical changes to using Guided Inquiry or Project Based Learning where students select a learning topic that is of relevance to them and where they can develop creative new solutions to issues and problems.

Autism – What we know about this disorder

It is vital for educators to know about autism and for strategies to assist in helping our students with autism . This TED talk by Wendy Chung ‘shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening.’

S.E.X.Y. acronym for writing a report

Year 11 PDHPE is entering the final stages of their Guided Inquiry unit of work.
I have been team teaching with their teacher and we have used Edmodo to introduce, structure and support all their work. This in itself was a new experience for the teacher and we found it to be a perfect environment for Guided Inquiry in the Senior High.
I have come across S.E.X.Y. as a structure for writing before, but today the class teacher introduced it with reference and examples to the reports being written. It was outstanding as a support structure for these students writing reports on their health issues and programmes for improvement within groups in Australian society.
S= State your argument
E= Explain your point
X= eXample to demonstrate
Y= whY
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Every kid needs a Champion – Rita Pierson

A ‘must watch’ inspiring TED talk for teachers.

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

How technology brings change to learning

In his post on Mindshift entitled How Technology Trends Have Influenced the Classroom, Carl Hooker outlines the many changes taking place in both society as well as technology that mean that learning and teaching methods have to change – and are changing.

As educators, it’s our job to make sure that students (and adults) are learning. Part of that process isn’t only about making an engaging activity or lesson, but also realizing how the modern brain learns.

For each of the headings below he outlines the classroom outcomes for these changes.

The Increase of Interactivity
On-Demand Living
Self-Publishing the World As We See It
Everything is Mobile (and Instant)
Embracing the Digital Brain


Learning through Social Networks

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Many educators use PLNs (personal learning networks) for personal learning and networking. But what about students?

Paul Moss, edmerger.com in his post Students Need Professional Learning Networks, Too discusses the benefits of students engaging in learning networks

The creation of an independent learner, a learner who can adapt to changing contexts by engaging their network, a learner who can confidently navigate through the jungle of the Internet. But let’s not make students wait while teachers themselves come to terms with the power of the PLN. Students already have a very solid prior knowledge of the power and functionality of networks. They enthusiastically engage with them everyday for social and entertainment purposes. The skilled teacher is the one who can take that prior knowledge and enthusiasm and teach students to leverage it to their learning advantage.

Integration of Technology into learning

Terry Heick (Director at TeachThought)discusses what he sees as four stages of integrating technology in learning.

As our school moves across into BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it will be interesting to see how long it takes before we see an erosion of traditional classroom and curriculum taking place. Deliberating about and managing change is a daily facet of teaching.

This is how Terry Deick describes the last two stages of change in the learning process:

Stage 3: Mobile technology erodes traditional classroom. Truly mobile learners should disrupt non-flexible curriculum.

Mobile learning experiences are inherently unpredictable, requiring varied communication, critical thinking, and aggressive resourcefulness. Standards-based academic work struggles for gravity working against this stage of technology integration.

Stage 4: This final stage of technology implementation necessitates learners to consistently self-direct critical, core components of learning experiences.

Self-direction based on curiosity and play while supported by personalized learning algorithms and the connectivity of authentic networks characterizes this final stage of technology integration. Traditional classroom learning is fully disrupted.