Blogs on Online Learning

Blogs on Online LearningRSS
Julie CoiroApril 7, 2014

An essential part of online research is the ability to critically evaluate information. This includes the ability to read and evaluate its level of accuracy, reliability and bias. When we recently assessed 770 seventh graders in two states to study these areas, the results definitely got our attention. Unfortunately, over 70 percent of their responses suggested that:

  • Middle school students are more concerned with content relevance than with credibility.
  • They rarely attend to source features such as author, venue or publication type to evaluate reliability and author perspective.
  • When they do refer to source features in their explanations, their judgments are often vague, superficial and lack reasoned justification.

Other studies highlight similar shortcomings of high school and college students in these areas. From my perspective, the problem is not likely to go away without intervention during regular content area instruction.

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Monica BurnsMarch 11, 2014

Poetry can take so many forms, and sometimes it's hard to know where to start when planning a unit of study. You might focus on figurative language with third graders, you might want seventh graders to look at rhyme sequence, or you might simply want to introduce classic pieces to high school students.

There are some great tools on the web for teachers gathering resources to use with their students. Here are a few worth checking out.

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Matt DavisMarch 5, 2014

Although students are evermore connected to the social web, many of these networks remain out-of-class digital playgrounds where students congregate. In a recent survey of 1,000 teachers, just one in five said they use social media regularly with students.

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Matt LevinsonMarch 4, 2014

After a two-week winter break, one of my eighth grade advisees returned to school and demonstrated his newfound skill of juggling. He was able to juggle with four balls, go behind his back, and under and through his legs. Quite simply, his demonstration was remarkable and earned the praise of his peers and advisor. We were all curious to learn how he had acquired this skill in such a short span of time, because we recalled that before the break, he was struggling to get even three balls going.

He replied, "I found this great guy on YouTube, and I watched a lot of YouTube over break."

In other words, he was self-taught. He had an interest and a passion, and he put in the time and commitment to master a skill.

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Matt DavisFebruary 13, 2014

The importance of early literacy cannot be understated. Countless studies have shown that students who start reading earlier are better prepared for the academic road ahead. Not to mention, early readers are much more likely to become lifelong readers.

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Andrew MillerJanuary 30, 2014

Recently NPR did a story that had the general title The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course. And yet the article was focused solely on MOOCs (massive open online courses). Let's be clear that MOOCs are just one part of the so-called online learning revolution. (Don't forget blended learning, the flipped classroom, etc). The story was a strong critique on MOOCs and their effectiveness. For instance, the article cites one case at San Jose State University in California:

But by all accounts, the San Jose experiment was a bust. Completion rates and grades were worse than for those who took traditional campus-style classes. And the students who did best weren't the underserved students San Jose most wanted to reach.
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Jennifer SayreJanuary 8, 2014

Online education programs are growing at a startling rate. In 2009, there were 4.5 million college students enrolled in online courses. This year, that number will hit 19 million. So it is no surprise that school districts are tackling the daunting task of building their own online programs. In The One World Schoolhouse, Salman Khan writes, "It is time -- past time -- for education to evolve again." It is no longer an option but a necessity for high schools to offer courses online -- not only to retain students but to ensure that they are college‐ready.

It is time to embrace the moment, because online education is here to stay.

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Matt DavisNovember 5, 2013

Many teachers this year are updating existing curriculum for the Common Core. And it's going to be a long process for everyone. Here, I've collected some open resources that might help in that process, with links to lessons that can serve as building blocks for Common Core-aligned units. The emphasis this time is on English language arts in middle school.

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Ainissa RamirezSeptember 18, 2013

The New York Times dubbed 2012 as the Year of the MOOC. In case you are Rip van Winkle waking from a long, deep slumber, a MOOC is a massive open online course, which can have enrollments in the thousands. It's easy to calculate that one MOOC can reach more students in one semester than in an entire teaching career. (And I'll be the first to admit there are pluses and minuses to this format. But that is another discussion, another blog.)

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Monica BurnsSeptember 6, 2013

The Common Core Learning Standards describe the importance of teaching students how to comprehend informational text. They are asked to read closely, make inferences, cite evidence, analyze arguments and interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text. Primary source documents are artifacts created by individuals during a particular period in history. This could be a letter, speech, photograph or journal entry. If you're looking to integrate social studies into your literacy block, try out one of these resources for primary source documents.

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