Real Talk: Using Targets That Engage Students

There are a number of teaching practices that are lauded as effective, but they are not always easy to enact in ways that students connect to. One is establishing a clear purpose for a lesson/activity. You can see this article on how Hattie and Marzano think about the subject.  From what I observe, this strategy often manifests as a learning target on the board with some time devoted to going over it in class. With evaluation models like 5D setting expectations that students be able to know and refer to targets, this strategy is commonly used, but teachers struggle to make it engaging.

The value of a clear of objective makes sense, whether it’s working with coding or learning sentence structure. Without some clarity of purpose, there may be some learning occurring, but it is random at best, and it may be kids just messing around. Now, I recognize the value of play and exploration, but I also recognize that without some awareness and assessment of what is being learned, the end result is typically lackluster. My ongoing question is how do we get students to give a rip about a learning goal, and, more importantly, how do we involve them meaningfully in the process?

One connection that makes sense to me is empowering students in the process. See this ISTE article on empowered learners to consider the importance of student choice, self-direction, scaffolding, and feedback among other things. Trying to set this up though, especially for every learning outcome, is overwhelming. That is what led me to create this empowered target example. It sets a goal, explains a connection/purpose, and establishes what success looks like. The doc provides scaffolds for students and asks them to find their own resources on the topic as well as set a plan for showing they know it. If a copy is provided for each student, a teacher could provide real-time feedback on the doc and even facilitate assessment of the target.

Full disclosure: I have not used this doc in any learning setting, but I feel confident about the thinking behind it. There are many other forms these ideas could take (example from Agile Classrooms), and I’ve seen how something like it has been used in PBL and competency-based / standards-based systems. It could certainly be used in any traditional approach as well. With an outcome defined, a process for students to be empowered, and avenues for extension, we can make learning targets meaningful, and having a digital structure in place will enable us to support students as they progress. As with anything, it will require refinement and iterations, and if it isn’t useful, it should be scrapped. I’d love to see what others are doing to be intentional, engaging, and supportive with students.

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#competency-based-learning, #edtech, #google-docs, #iste, #mitecs, #pbl

Flipgrid is now free for all educators and students!

Flipgrid, the world’s leading social learning platform, is joining the Microsoft EDU family!    This is great news for teachers and students everywhere.  You can read more here:

flipgridmsft

#flipgrid

We predict that this will win the next science fair at school

Those cool coders at Google made an Artificial Intelligence terrarium that models weather conditions around the world.

Project Oasis, as its named, allows you to use the Google Assistant tools to ask about the weather in various parts of the world.  For example, you can ask “What’s the weather like in Grand Rapids?”, and the little terrarium will mimic the location with mist to simulate fog or clouds, light and even a bit of rain. I’m thinking that if you ask it what it’s like in Grand Rapids during the winter, it probably won’t respond with snow quite yet.

Check out this quick video on how it works.

The unit is powered by a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino and you can get more details and the source code for your own little biome here.

#ai, #arduino, #raspberry-pi

Everyone Can Code Professional Learning at Kent ISD – June 27 & 28, 2018

Coding is an essential skill for today’s students. Learning to code is valuable because it can teach students how to solve problems and work together in creative ways. This fun, two-day workshop is delivered by Apple Professional Learning Specialist who can help you get started teaching with the free lessons offered in the iPad apps, including Tynker.

Participants are required to bring their own iPad.

Register for the Kent ISD session here.

Everyone can code image

Everyone can code

#apple, #coding, #ipad

Life’s Better When You Blend! K-5 Grade – June 27

Are you a K-5th Grade educator looking for ways to incorporate technology in your classroom?

Wondering how you can utilize whatever technology you have to support quality teaching and learning? Then this event is for you!

Participants Will:

  • Explore practical ways to implement blended learning in the classroom
  • Maximize the technology you have to engage and support students
  • Investigate digital tools that assess and capture student understanding
  • Intentionally design a blended lesson suited to your classroom needs

Lunch and SCECHs Provided!

Registration is limited, so hurry and choose this great PD opportunity before all the seats are taken.

Life’s Better When You Blend! 6-12 Grade – June 28

Are you a 6-12th Grade educator looking for ways to incorporate technology in your classroom?

Wondering how you can utilize whatever technology you have to support quality teaching and learning? Then this event is for you!

Participants Will:

  • Explore practical ways to implement blended learning in the classroom
  • Maximize the technology you have to engage and support students
  • Investigate digital tools that assess and capture student understanding
  • Intentionally design a blended lesson suited to your classroom needs

Lunch and SCECHs Provided!

Registration is limited, so hurry and choose this great PD opportunity before all the seats are taken.

#blended-learning

Beat the Post Spring Break Blues

‘Tis the season of testing and student squirminess. That means many schools experience reduced access to student devices, and teachers need to dig deep to engage students in the waning weeks of school. Here are a couple options that might help:

1.) Digital Breakout games. Pirate kids image

You are likely familiar with Escape Rooms and Breakout EDU. You can run similar games in your classroom with just one device (though a couple more would help). Follow these steps:

2.) Use one of the options from our REMC Maker Kit. See our list of available options that you can check out – FOR FREE – for 1-2 weeks. Your students could design objects to be printed on the 3D printer, explore circuits with Little Bits, record with a green screen, and much more. Ron and I are available to train and to help facilitate activities with students.

Let us know if you have questions or needs we can help with. We are here to serve and connect.

 

#breakoutedu, #educational-technology, #maker