Wow, October is already here; the school year is flying.
Banned Book Week is kicking off the new month, offering a chance for classroom conversations about freedom of speech and censorship. Last Friday, Edutopia took a quick look at some censored books in a great Five-Minute Film Festival, which rounded up some of the best Banned Book videos from around the Web.
The challenges facing a new teacher are clear: how to write a strong lesson plan, how to master the fine art of lesson delivery and how to keep kids engaged in a positive classroom environment are all high on the list. Add to that list the addition of mastering the use of technology tools to support instruction with students, and many a new teacher might go running for the hills!
A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my favorite classical radio stations and heard the DJ mention that a famous pianist likes to say he is a "painter at the piano." I thought it was a great metaphor to describe the way many artists and professionals feel about the tools of their work. For example, a carpenter could be a painter with a hammer, a potter could be a painter with a wheel . . . I could go on and on.
A blog without an audience is like...a library without books, a car without an engine, Beyonce without a ring. Those were some of the responses David Mitchell (@DeputyMitchell) got when he asked his Twitter followers to fill in the blank.
One of the most interesting ways game-based learning (GBL) is being implemented is with the use of Microsoft’s Kinect. Kinect specifically is an accessory to the Xbox 360, where motion and gestures control game functions. From sports games, to “hack and slash,” the Kinect physically involves the player in gameplay. But why use it in the classroom? And how should you use it in the classroom?
Teachers spend countless hours learning new tools to use in class, but do they set aside any time for students to learn these new tools as well? Too often, we assume that students know all about this stuff because they are young and hip to the whole technology thing. That's one of the worst assumptions a teacher can make about a student. Assuming student skills can be a fast track to student failure.
"Digital citizenship" is an umbrella term that covers a whole host of important issues. Broadly, it's the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology. But specifically, it can cover anything from "netiquette" to cyberbullying; technology access and the digital divide; online safety and privacy; copyright, plagiarism, and digital law, and more. In fact, some programs that teach digital citizenship have outlined no less than nine elements that intersect to inform a well-equipped digital citizen. It's an overwhelming array of skills to be taught and topics to explore.
One of the most powerful moments in my teaching journey was the summer I immersed myself in feedback and checking for understanding. It forced me to ask myself what and if my students were actually learning. I learned the importance of the language I used. I also learned effective ways to track student progress toward learning goals that will inform the feedback I give students. While my effectiveness as a teacher has grown exponentially, I still have a lot to learn. Since I teach in a lab, I also have both the challenge and the perk of most student work being completed on the computer. These are some of my experiences, ideas and resources for using technology to provide meaningful feedback to students -- and making the process more streamlined for everyone.
So it's Friday, and Edutopia is back with a roundup of useful, unusual and interesting articles, blogs and videos from around the Web.
We started curating Ed News here last week, and we'd love your help. In the comments, let us know of anything from the education blogosphere that grabbed your attention this week, or you can reach me on Twitter (@EducationMatt), where I tweet what I read throughout the week.
As the school year begins and teachers inventory their supplies, set up and decorate their classrooms, it's important to think not only about how they will use technology in their classroom, but about how they will ready their classrooms and their procedures for using technology. The following checklist will vary depending on the kinds of technology in use, the access teachers have to technological devices and the nature of services (like wifi) available at the school.