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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Online Tools to Help Personalize Learning

Online Tools to Help Personalize Learning

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There are many online tools that can help teachers differentiate instruction and personalize learning. A few of my recent favorites are: Storyjumper- help kids create and publish their own story book : Storybird- Collaborative storytelling/publishing online Glogster- allows students to create digital posters- my high school sophomore is using this now: Graphic organizers for brainstorming and ordering information: Voicethread: Adds audio and conversations to pictures, slides There are a bunch of other ideas here as well: What kind of online tools do you use in your classroom or would you consider using? Have you considered adding blogging or wikis into your classroom to help students create a personal learning profile/collection of their work that they can share with others? What kind of things have you found most helpful as web-based tools?

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Susan Graham's picture
Susan Graham
educational researcher, curriculum developer, and all around education gal

The company, AcademicMerit, just launched a statewide pilot in some 40 schools in Maine of this great web-based program.

Literary Companion, as the name suggests, is a text-specific companion to classic and contemporary novels and plays that turns reading, for students from a passive exercise into one requiring active engagement. Pedagogically, it provides in-depth study of ten passages culled from each title; the vocabulary, reading-comprehension and written-interpretation exercises associated with each passage represent a series of formative assessments--enhancing students' understanding of the text, while simultaneously generating data teachers can use to inform their instruction. A set of embedded summative assessments at the end of each title provides students, teachers, and administrators with real-time access to measurements of student performance in these key skill areas.

Check out:

Theresa Allen's picture

In my classroom (lab), we have used Kerpoof with Prekindergarten - 2nd graders where they can save, rate, and comment on each other's work. It's been a lot of fun and the students try to create their best work before saving to their group. Kerpoof has another layer where teachers can create classes and groups so the students can collaborate their creations.

I'm now in the Classroom Blogging Challenge w/ Edublogs and have met wonderful, creative, and talented educators and students. I've begun my professional blog in August and just created a class blog last month. The 4th graders are learning to comment on other students' blogs at the moment. Great enthusiasm and motivation!

The 4th graders have also contributed to a class wiki where they write about things they've done throughout the year. Soon, they will learn how to use the discussion tab to comment on each others' work.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Kerpoof looks like fun!

With the iPad2 launch, it looks like the barriers between students (people) and their creativity and expression of ideas is getting smaller and smaller- with the advent of the "smart instruments", almost anyone can create their own soundtrack quickly and easily- it's amazing.

I wonder though- I love the immediate gratification aspect of all of this, but can it ever be "too" easy? Does not having to jump through more hoops towards results make people take end product for granted?

I know I shouldn't have to invent a motor or how to make a car before enjoying driving one, but when does it all come too easy?

(I have no answer for this, just a sense of wonder and vague un-ease.

Sue Boudreau's picture
Sue Boudreau
Seventh Grade science teacher from Orinda, California

These are a gold mine from your blog

Gone the boring old taking notes to answer teacher questions, here are some light hearted ways to get kids to think. I'll give them a choice of how they want to convey research information. Ooh, choice, that should help too.

The BLANK space is so important - suggests THEY should do the thinking.

Thanks Whitney and Houghton Mifflin.

Sue B.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Thanks Sue! We hope to help aggregate resources and help folks find the tools they need. I think graphic organizers are especially important, like infographics, in helping kids sort through all the information they have and recognize patterns and connections- kind of like a paper version of Harry Potter's Pensive.

I wish every classroom could have one of Jeff Han's multitouch interactive boards ( because teachers could see how students are thinking and sorting through data in real time as they move things around- kind of like an interactive jazz-like version of a graphic organizer.

With all the information we get every day, the important part is not so much the data, but making the connections between data points and coming up with new insights and connections that might not have been there before. Moreover, multiuser makes this process totally interactive-

But how long until we all get one? No one knows :(

Joanna Puello's picture
Joanna Puello
CEO and Founder of World Upside Down

One tool that our community of educators has REALLY enjoyed to help created Personalized Learning Environments for students and teachers is iGoogle. Teachers can create iGoogle PLEs and share them with their students, giving them a personalized web browser platform that the can work from at home and at school. Check out one of our educator's lesson plans to learn how he integrated it with his team!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I love iGoogle as well. Have you experimented at all with google+? I think the Hangout feature could be great to let teachers hold virtual office hours, for study groups and more.

Mike Albritton's picture
Mike Albritton
Curriculum Director, All Saints' Episcoapl School, Fort Worth, TX

I use a class wiki where every student has an individual page. As I speak with a student about their work, say a research project, I take notes on the kid's page as I speak. That way they later can see what I've said if I've sent them in a different direction from the rest of the class. I can also post individual resources on the fly. Then as they are working, I can "drop in" and see their drafts as they are doing the rather than waiting to collect the finished products only to discover, "Darn, little Johnny went off in a random direction."

Dimitris Nikolopoulos's picture
Dimitris Nikolopoulos
phD Candidate in University of Ioannina is an online educational platform for kids between 3 and 7 years old. I've recently subscribed and my son just loved it. Huge variety of crafts with instructions and photos, encyclopedic information about all the animals and the environment, music, videos, naration fairy tales and so much more. The content of this website is amazing. But it's not only suitable for parents but for educators as well. A friend of mine is a kindergarten teacher and uses to monitor her little students activities and performance because the site provides statistics and analytics of each kids performance. I find really useful. One can discover his kids strengths and weaknesses concerning its learning skills. I highly recommend it!

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