Blogs on Student Engagement

Blogs on Student EngagementRSS
Matthew FarberOctober 14, 2013

In early September, my sixth grade social studies students began playing the SimCityEDU beta. Around the same time, my seventh graders began playing a non-digital debate game -- complete with teams, a point system and a leaderboard. All of my students are rewarded for their growth and accomplishments with a digital badge system. After one month, I find that my students remain highly engaged in their learning. Gamifying my classroom has truly been transformative!

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Autumn WareOctober 14, 2013

Comic book writers are indebted to scientists, and they demonstrate their gratitude by giving these real life mega-minds special places in the pantheon of superhero mythologies. Bruce Banner, who goes Hulk when angered, developed the Gamma Bomb for the US government. Susan Storm, also known as the Invisible Woman, holds four doctorates in biochemistry and still finds time to save the world. Even the X-Men's Beast is a much-lauded biochemist. Close study of comic book universes and the science concepts upon which they are founded can be enlightening for students and teachers alike. Boys and girls are riveted by the unique powers and compelling personalities and histories of superheroes.

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Ainissa RamirezOctober 9, 2013

Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."1 His message is even more profound if you read the rest of the passage, "For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world . . . "2 These words are even truer today than when he first said them in 1929. It wasn't so long ago that many people said, "Knowledge is power." But in this age of Big Data, that is no longer true. What we do with that knowledge is more important. Our new mantra should be, "Imagination is power."

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Judy Willis MDOctober 2, 2013

Public high school students in large U.S. cities are more likely to drop out than ever before. Almost 80 percent of the students report that the main problem is boredom. When asked what bores them most, the most frequent responses were that the course material is neither interesting nor relevant to their lives.

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Philip McIntoshOctober 1, 2013

The quality and skill of the teacher is one of the most important factors (if not the most important) influencing the success of any learning environment. But you can stand at the front of a classroom and teach until you are blue in the face, and it doesn't guarantee that any learning actually happens. So what separates successful teachers from less successful ones? Anyone will tell you that it's relationships. That's why it is critical to establish and maintain positive relationships with students throughout the school year. It's also not a bad idea to get some learning to happen while you're at it.

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Joshua BlockOctober 1, 2013

Over the summer, I offered to help some friends convert their dining room light fixture into a ceiling fan. Once the electricity was off, the old fixture was down, and I'd opened the large cardboard box, my goal was clear and pressing. This needed to be accomplished before people began to arrive for the five-year-old's birthday party that would begin in two hours. There was no need to remind myself to focus or pay attention.

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Oh dear: our long-bemoaned short attention spans are dwindling into nothingness. That's exactly what I thought when I first heard about Vine, Twitter's app that allows users to make and share six-second videos. What can possibly be said in six seconds of video that's worth watching? You'll have to answer that for yourselves, but after a bit of digging, I've been pleasantly surprised by the creativity that such limitations can enable.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsSeptember 18, 2013

"The whole morning meeting not only sets a really good tone for the students, but it sets a tone for me." - Teacher in Louisville, Kentucky

When I first learned about the Morning Meeting model, I was working as an elementary school principal in Pasadena, California. I was new to that school, so I was skeptical about launching too many initiatives, but also curious about how it could work to transform my school and the lives of our students.

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Todd FinleySeptember 13, 2013

Education is catastrophically deficient in trust. Pro-accountability education reformers presume that, absent carrots and sticks, classrooms would be overrun with lazy and incapable teachers. Traditional instructors presume that, absent carrots and sticks, classrooms would be overrun with lazy and incapable students. Both viewpoints emerge from a noble desire to make classrooms high-performance spaces, but in actuality they suppress excellence.

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Matthew FarberSeptember 11, 2013

When today's K-12 students enter college and embark in their careers, they will most likely encounter a wide array of game-like elements, such as badge systems. In June, Blackboard Learn, a learning management system for higher education, announced a partnership with Mozilla to support digital badges. In the corporate world, badge systems are also used to increase employee productivity. Mozilla's Open Badges Backpack serves as a virtual resume to display one's mastered skills.

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