Each drawing assignment asks students to explain a science concept or process. For example, in addressing the question of how to identify which of two compounds has the higher boiling point, students are encouraged to be creative and to consider a variety of formats, including cartoons and stick figures. Students are also told, “In your drawing, strive for clarity in visually representing the concepts of bond type and strength.”
Many of the drawings bring scientific concepts to life in interesting and unexpected ways. They also bring any misconceptions immediately to light so that professors can address them with students.
Not to draw attention to the man behind the curtain, but one of the steps is a key part of flipping the classroom:
3. Replace homework with engaging in-class activities. The research on the effectiveness of homework ends up on both the pro and con sides. Most studies that support assigning homework suggest that it increases grades in class or on tests. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. Measuring achievement with grades and test scores is a false barometer of learning because all the control in these areas is in the hands of the teacher, and there is no place for control in a student-centered classroom. With engaging, ongoing projects that are driven by interactive web tools, students produce more in class, making homework obsolete. Best of all, when not faced with “do-this-and-do-it-my-way” assignments, students become eager to complete the projects that they have created and choose to do schoolwork outside of class. This autonomy breeds learning for the sake of learning—one of the best parts of the student-centered classroom.
Another great post from User Generated Education (who you should check out if you haven’t already). Here’s an excerpt:
Begin a New Unit with Students Developing Questions: Try starting a new unit by asking your class to think of questions that could be asked about the topic.
Create a Taxonomy of Questions: When students begin to label the different kinds of questions, they learn to select different kinds of questions to perform different kinds of thinking. No matter what the level of schooling, some kind of label can work effectively.
Ask Students to Create Questions as Homework (this would work with the Flipped Classroom): Put your classroom questioning typology to work with your homework assignments. If students read an assignment, let them form questions for the next day’s discussion. Ask them to:
write three comparison questions about the story they are reading;
identify the question the author was trying to answer;
find a question which has no answer, or two thousand answers or an infinite number of answers;
ask a question that is the child of a bigger question that they can then ask the rest of the class to identify.
Nearpod is an app that allows a teacher to present an interactive lesson on the students’ iPads. I had prepared a set of informative slides to describe the scenario. I then created slides that were used as background images for Nearpod’s Draw It slides. Here the students were able to draw right on their iPad, which for this math problem, required them to mark where they would cut the licorice lace. These pictures were submitted to my iPad, wirelessly through Nearpod, so I had instant feedback if they understood the concept or if they needed another attempt. I could share out student examples anonymously to their iPads for class discussion. I was also able to pose a poll, Q & A, multiple choice, or true/false style questions. Students would get instant feedback on their answers to these questions. All in all, active learning was taking place.
An interesting list. Here are two of my favorites:
BetterLesson The Boston-based startup BetterLesson, founded in 2008, is a social media platform that educators can use to organize and share their curricula. Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded BetterLesson $3.5 million. “Considering the startup allows teachers to browse a serious repository of documents, presentations, lessons and even complete units and courses, all through a simple search interface, and upload their own lessons onto a dashboard, you can see why teachers will love this kind of resource,” TechCrunch wrote in 2011. “Add the ability to share curricula directly with international educators and receive feedback, and you’ve got yourself a goddamn deal, as Dave Chappelle would say.”
Remind101 Started by a team of two brothers, Remind101 enables students and parents to sign up to receive teachers’ text-message reminders about assignments. It’s private—these are mass texts, and teachers can’t see students’ phone numbers. It’s also one-way, meaning that teachers can send out texts, but students can’t respond to them.
A great article with some great ideas. Here’s an excerpt:
Make Research Assignments about the process rather than the end product.
As teachers, when we assign a research project, we often focus on the end product: the research essay, presentation, etc. However, students (especially young students) do not automatically know how to conduct meaningful research. Our modern students are used to Googling answers. They have grown accustomed to information being readily available. However, as academics, we know that research isn’t a fast process. It’s slow and deliberate. As a teacher, I need to intentionally slow my students down during this exercise. I do this by breaking down a larger project into more manageable chunks and focusing on the process. Here are some techniques that have worked for me:
Give students small practice assignments where they must read, summarize, and properly cite material.
Show students what proper citation should look like. Many rely on resources like EasyBib orBibme to build a bibliography but do not understand what exactly is going into the finished product. Demonstrate to them what should be included in a citation and why. In other words, remove the “but EasyBib said this was right” excuse.
Provide students several examples or case studies of material that they must distinguish as: properly summarized and cited, improperly cited, plagiarized, etc. Allow them to identify and explain the problems.
An emphatic “YES!” to everything in here. These are the first two:
Good video doesn’t always mean good audio. While it’s easy for a student to see what their mobile camera “sees,” it’s impossible to hear what their mobile microphone is hearing without wearing headphones connected to their device. In our first in-class interview practice, students almost always hold their devices too far from the interviewee. Yes, it can be awkward holding a phone near someone’s face, but unless you have a handheld microphone that plugs into the phone, the device should always be within arms length of the interviewee’s mouth for good audio. The common “camera position” of holding the phone near your face doesn’t work for video interviews. it’s always more important that the device be closer to the interviewee than it’s to the interviewer. TheMobileActive web site offers more tips for good mobile audio.
Brevity is the soul of wit. Tell students to keep their interview questions focused and video clips as short as possible. With some practice, it’s relatively easy to stop and start the recording instead of capturing an entire 15 to 20 minute interview. (That also results in a huge video file.) With the right mobile app, each clip can be automatically uploaded to the cloud while the interviewee starts the next question and recording. In general, students should have only three or four good questions to ask. If the interviewee rambles for several minutes, stop then start recording again asking the interviewee to summarize in a minute or less what they just said. This also produces a more focused and shorter clip for online viewers to watch later.
A New York City school teacher has crafted a version ofMinecraft for schools called MinecraftEdu. Given the sandbox indie game’s simple premise — a pixelated world of blocks that users manipulate with tools — plus the ability to add customizable maps, educators can drop students into a world of ancient cultures, Chemistry, English, and more.
MinecraftEdu creator Joel Levin, who teaches second-grade computer classes at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City and runs a Minecraft club for high schoolers, has been incorporating Minecraft into his classes for the past two years.
There’s an awesome video in the article where an instructor uses Minecraft in a clever way to demonstrate the difference between solids, liquids, and gasses.
Don’t let the title fool you: This article is mostly about working in challenging questions.
No wonder, then, that simulations, video games, and sports are so engaging and athletes are willing to endure the tedium of skill development and the pain of conditioning. Lurking behind every soccer game or swim meet is a set of interesting and ongoing essential questions: What do we need to do to win? What do we need to do to improve? What are our strengths and weaknesses, and how can we play to our strengths and lessen our weaknesses?
Such questions are constantly alive because each new game or meet brings a new form of challenge, and using one’s mind to figure out how to be better at an immersive challenge is key to motivation.
In fact, the best coaches make such implicit questions explicit. Grant saw this with one of his daughter’s high school soccer coaches, a veteran of 40 years of college and high school coaching. Unlike so many of his colleagues, he didn’t lecture during the half-time break. He merely asked questions: What is working for us so far? What isn’t? Why isn’t it working, and how can we improve it? What is working for the other team, and how can we counter it?
A lot of oldies, but some fresh ideas as well. It’s definitely worth a look, especially since each idea comes with a source. Here are three (with sources):
Set up a poll: Teachers might want to set up a Twitter poll for either their students or the broader microblogging community. The applications are limited only by one’s own creativity; for an added bonus, combine the poll with some sort of geotracker.
______ of the day: No matter the class, a vocabulary word, book, song, quote or something else “of the day” might very well make an excellent supplement to the day’s lesson. When teaching younger kids, tell their parents about the Twitter feed and encourage them to talk about postings at home.
Start a book club: Within the industry but outside the classroom, some educations band together via Twitter and host their own book clubs. A common hashtag and communicative network is all it takes to share insight and recommendations.
NeoK12: This site features free educational videos, games, lessons, puzzles and quizzes sorted by topic.
NOVA Teachers: PBS’ full features and magazine-style shorter stories are available here for classrom use.
SchoolTube: This site is set-up to serve students who wish to get ahead at home and at school, as well as teachers who want to access digital resources. Teachers can also create their own channels and upload their own videos.
Sophia: With more than 25,000 tutorials from a range of expert teachers across many academic fields, Sophia is a first-of-its-kind social education platform created to reach 21st century students.
Traditionally, while engaging in fieldwork, students made handwritten notes and drawings. More recent classes have taken photos with cameras / phones and then, after the excursion, labelled these images in Word or something similar. The biggest drawbacks of these techniques have been illegible or poorly sequenced notes, and inaccuracies in image labels due to time delays between fieldwork and accessing a computer.
This year, each of my students took their iPad 2 into the field, using it as the main tool for collecting and organising observations. This resulted in significant improvements.