Facebook – Connecting with students

Should we rely on technology as a motivator for students?

I found this blog post by Bill Ferriter posted on Twitter by @jennyluca, Are kids really motivated by technology? It got me thinking about the motivating factors (or not) of technology.

Quote from above article – “You can’t motivate students with technology because technology alone isn’t motivating”.

While I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, for example playing Rocket Math on the iPad is more motivating for an 8 year old than trying to do the same math on a worksheet, I do agree with the sentiment of the statement. If we think we can rely on technology to make our classes more motivating without considering the impact of the technology on the learning then we are mistaken. A poorly planned lesson with a tablet/Web 2.0 is still a poorly planned lesson!

Another quote from the article, which I entirely agree with is, “Basically what I’m arguing is that finding ways to motivate students in our classrooms shouldn’t start with conversations about technology. Instead, it should start with conversations about our kids. What are they deeply moved by? What are they most interested in? What would surprise them? Challenge them? Leave them wondering? Once you have the answers to these questions — only after you have the answers to these questions — are you ready to make choices about the kinds of digital tools that are worth embracing”.

For all the technology I have integrated into my classes over the past 12 or so months, at the start at least, I expected the technology to be motivating in itself. Particularly when starting out using a new technology like blogs. I expected the students to be motivated because they were using a new technology, and to a point they were but if I designed a poor task or a task they had done many times before on paper or in a book they soon became non plussed with the fact it was on a blog. In hindsight the technology was more motivating for me than it was the students.

Mobile and online technologies are only a tool, they are not the end point or the major focus of our planning and teaching. Student learning should hold this position, our programming, pedagogy and assessment should be foremost in our minds. Web applications and iPads/Tablets are just tools to help us to achieve these outcomes more efficiently and more effectively.

Blooms Taxonomy – The Differentiator

I have written about this resource before and there are links to this tool on the Pedagogy page. I’m re posting information about this tool as the creators have rebuilt it trying to make a better version. The Differentiator is a tool that allows you to generate a task by dropping in Thinking Skills (Blooms), Content, Resource Type, what the final Product will be, and Group Size. This is all the tool does and it is fairly simple to use once you have had a play with it. What I think is good about The Differentiator is the fact that as you design a task it gives you a wide variety of options under the headings I have mentioned. This may spark some ideas that you would normally think off when designing tasks. We all have our favourite modes of presentation or resources etc  for students to use and for the benefit of student learning we should try to use a wider variety of task types, presentation modes, levels of Blooms etc.

An idea that I had to help differentiate your curriculum was to use this tool to generate tasks at varying levels of difficulty on the same topic i.e Year 9 History (Vikings – social structures). Use the tool to create a task at the lower end of Blooms, a task in the middle and one at the top as a way of engaging more students in the work.

 

Click here to try out The Differentiator

Learning Design Part 5

Click to enlarge image.

Step 3 in the Learning Design process is ‘What could the intended learning look like at this level?’ This statement relates directly to the Australian Curriculum content. Whether we have vertically grouped classes or not, we need to ensure that we look at the scope and sequence of our subject areas to see how the learning looks across the year levels. To download the scope and sequence charts for subjects click here. This link will take you to the Australian Curriculum website page that enables you to download the Scope and Sequence documents for all AC subject areas.

Below are some questions we can ask ourselves in relation to ‘What could the intended learning look like at this level?’

  • What examples have we seen of high quality learning at this level?
  • How will students know what is high quality learning?
  • What does ‘at this level’ mean?
  • What intended learning is not evident in the achievement standard?

We are yet to work through some of these questions fully as teachers. There have already been some discussions around ‘moderation’ and looking at samples of work but we are yet to see samples of ‘high quality’ learning as part of this process (although they are supposed to be coming). The discussion around applying grades has also generated discussion and the term ‘at this level’ has teachers asking “How do I know the A I’m giving at this level is the same as the A being given by another teacher in another school?

 

There are two key points to remember that relate to ‘What could the intended learning look like at this level?’

1.Letting our kids in on the secret of what high quality learning is (make it clear by showing examples and explaining what demonstrates high level learning) AND

2. Not all of the intended learning is evident in the Achievement Standards in the Australian Curriculum (so don’t just rely on these to set your tasks for students).

 

 

Arts Connected Toolkit

This site provides information about visual elements and principles of art. Information is provided about line, colour, space, shape, balance, movement & rhythm. There are also two videos which show professional artists creating original art works using the principles covered in the toolkit section of the site. The site also provides an Encyclopedia which is an in-depth guide to learning more about the building blocks  of composition. Here you’ll see many examples of works of art that illustrate  the visual elements and principles. Looks like an easy to use and informative site for helping to teach students about art.

Click here to visit ArtsConnected

Don’t forget to visit the Curriculum page on this site for web resources associated with subject areas including the Arts Connected Toolkit.

 

Learning Design Part 2

The information below is taken from the Leaders Resource – Getting Started developed by the Teaching and Learning Services team DECD.

Below is a video which takes teachers through the process of using Learning Design. The example uses a Year 4/5 history class to demonstrate the process. The video is obviously designed to promote the Australian Curriculum/Learning Design but does take you through the six stages of the process which is useful if you would like to develop a stronger understanding of Learning Design.

If you would like to view the resource that this video is from (or just view this video in better quality) please go to the links section in the side bar of this blog and click on “DECD Australian Curriculum Leaders Resource.”

To view a larger version click on the YouTube button in the bottom right corner of the video. This video was created by DECD Teaching and Learning Services.

A new way to look at the world

Here is an interesting web site that allows you to look at the world through an interactive tool that increases or decreases the physical size of a country depending on the topic chosen. There are 5 main headings – People, Planet, Business, Politics and Living. There are 106 topics of comparision under these main headings. Click on a topic and watch the countries grow or shrink depending on how that topic impacts on that country i.e click on ‘population’ and watch India and China grow and Australia shrink. Run your cursor over the countries to get limited data like country name and percentages. The site also offers the same format for the US and Japan. A link to this site can also be found on the ‘Curriculum’ page under ‘Geography’.

To visit SHOW World click here.

Does ‘Hands Up’ in a classroom have a negative impact for some?

Love the faces of the teachers in the video when Dylan Wiliams is talking to them about ‘hands up’. I can’t believe how worried they look and apprehensive they are to something as small as using a different method for getting students to answer questions.

It would be interesting to hear what staff think about the concept of ‘hands up’ being detrimental to student learning (for those that don’t engage). I know Ed is having a go at this so it would be interesting to hear his perspective on how he thinks it is helping (or not) in his class.

Part 1

Part 2

The Differentiator – using Blooms Taxonomy to structure tasks

This is a great web app. Although its name is a little misleading. Depending on how you use it it doesn’t necessarily make you differentiate your instruction. Never the less it is a fantastic tool to help you design a task statement in any subject area that is linked to Blooms Revised Taxonomy.

Go to the following link and watch the video then create a task using the tool (total time to do this – 1 min. 18 sec for video and 5 min to create the task).

The Differentiator Blooms Taxonomy 

If you like that try Respondo – creative literature task creation.

Both of these tools are created by Ian Byrd