Showing posts from 2017

Differentiating with Technology: Content

An incredible feature of teaching in a 1:1 classroom is the wealth of content and capability available at both teachers and students fingertips in the classroom.  Having access to so many resources and assessments beyond what is available in typical textbooks makes differentiating for students more straightforward than ever before. What is differentiation? Differentiated instruction is an approach to teaching in which educators actively plan for students' differences so that all students can best learn. In a differentiated classroom, teachers divide their time, resources, and efforts to effectively teach students who have various backgrounds, readiness and skill levels, and interests ( ASCD ). Teachers typically think of differentiation in three different portions of their instruction: content, process, and product.  This blog post will begin a 3-article series regarding integrating technology as a resource to supporting differentiation.   Why and how to differentiate

Why Coding Should be in the Classroom

I remember when I was a school level Technology and Learning Coach, I loved working with the students and coding, whether it was with the 4th/5th Grade “Game Coding Club” that I ran or the events I coordinated for the yearly Hour of Code activities for the school. The students were engaged and showed such excitement while programming the characters to move; it was motivating for me to keep coding going for the school. However, just like other other “cool” thing there isn’t enough time to add in something new and then there’s the idea of how to connect coding to curriculum? Learning to program/code does not need to just stop after the week of Hour of Code ends. (Which, if you are not aware yet, Hour of Code is the week of December 4, 2017. ) This week of introducing coding is just the start of something new for the students. When students are programming/coding, they are given an opportunity to utilize and build skills such as logical thinking, problem-solving, perseverance,

Adding value to edtech games

A few weeks ago we blogged about the value of online games in the classroom .  Hopefully it inspired some thinking about the purpose, intentionality, and value the games add to the student’s learning.  We know that there are times where some sort of online game works for classrooms so here are some strategies that may ensure higher quality learning.   Connect the game to another learning goal.    If students need to study vocabulary and matching quizlet cards is your only choice, consider providing an activity that requires the students to transfer the learning.  If students must review vocabulary words, assign a follow up paragraph where they use the words in context.       2.  If the game tracks points/time, ask students to reflect on progress.      Asking students to reflect on how they decreased their time to solve math facts or      match words and definitions allows the kids to think about their thinking.  This also allows teachers insight into what mistakes st

Tell your story

2017 Richland Two Film Festival What is the Film Festival? Each year, Richland Two provides a unique opportunity for students and district staff to share their story through video creation. We are excited to be in our 5th year and know this will be a bigger event this year. Our window of opportunity began on November 6th, where students can begin finding a school sponsor, complete the interest form and turn in permission slips . There are opportunities for every person in the district to enter, from Pre-K students to District employees. The suggested categories to enter a film are as follows… Educational (PSA, informative, or news cast) - If you created a video for school and it fits our requirements, enter the video. Music Video - The music must be original.   Animation/Claymation Storytelling (personal narrative) Short film (documentary or drama) Other So, what are the benefits of creating videos? I recently walked into a high school classr

Gaming in the classroom

It’s November now and our team has been spending a lot of time in classrooms all over our district.  One consistent trend has emerged in our district and in the EdTech field as a whole - gamifying the learning.  We aren’t referring to gamifying the entire process of learning but rather using websites for skill building that reward students with a game feature or websites where the skill building is embedded within the context of the game. In some examples you see numbers for math facts flying around the screen and students have to quickly capture the numbers that sum to a given result.  In other examples, you see blocks of text with definitions and terms floating around and students must match complementary cards together to receive a point.   (source) Many teachers love these programs and emphasize the following positive points:   The kids love it!  The kids are engaged! The kids get immediate feedback. The games autoadjust for the kids’ skill level and ability