Working to better prepare its nation’s students to thrive in a fast-changing and highly-connected world, the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) is promoting the development of self-directed and collaborative learning skills in its third Master Plan for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Education. As an MOE-designated “Future School in Singapore” and a Mentor School in theMicrosoft Innovative Schools Program, Nan Chiau Primary School (NCPS) is playing a vital role in pushing the frontier of technology to prepare its students for the future.
Archive for the ‘Digital Resources’ Category
by Coby Enteen
The introduction of 21st century knowledge and skills as a focal point for educational initiatives has reignited discussion as to the role of the teacher in the classroom. Educators have been attempting for years to initiate a ‘paradigm shift’ in terms of the role of the teacher with the classroom; from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side’. However, very few have been able to turn this change into a reality.
When technology was first introduced into the classroom, educators believed that computers would speed up change and that teachers would finally let go of old habits and capitalize on digital resources as a means of transforming the classroom. This did occur on a very small scale, where forward-thinking teachers understood the value of the technology in terms of encouraging student inquiry and a higher- level of discourse in the classroom. However, for the most part teachers continue to serve as a single source of knowledge and the technology is used as a supplementary resource if at all.
One of the most significant trends of the past decade is the introduction of 21st century skills into teaching and learning. Although academia is still wresting with the most accurate definition of these skills and practices, they have become the cornerstone for nearly all educational endeavors. So, what are these 21st century skills? The partnership for 21st Century skills (www.p21.org) defines them as: Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation. The division of Assessment and Teaching in of 21st Century Skills (ATOCS) at the University of Melbourne (www.atc21s.org) further divides these skills into 4 categories:
Transformation of teaching and learning occurs when we begin to base our instructional practices on 21st Century Skills. Educators that integrate these skills into daily practice are unable to avoid more active instruction and begin to understand the importance of allowing student to construct knowledge through the development of these skills, at which point technology plays the ‘natural’ role of enabler. This process leads to a transformation in the teaching process or an ‘instructional paradigm shift’ as illustrated in figure 1 below.
Figure 1 – 21CTI Model
Another article related to 21st century skills:
By Coby Enteen
I recently attended an iPad event where Nearpod was showcased as a classroom collaboration tool, and more recently introduced it into middle school classrooms. It provided the teachers with the much needed control and focus that they were lacking, and allowed them to plan their lessons more effectively and to create real student interaction. Nearpod has helped bring them closer to the goal of delivering relevant student centered learning.
Read more about Nearpod in the following article:
The American Association of School Librarians provides a great starting point for locating relevant, useful, free teacher resources. They list the top 25 online tools for teachers in virtually all content areas. I came across the site while preparing to deliver a training to teachers and curriculum experts from West Africa. I would highly recommend trying these high-quality resources in any teaching and learning environment.
Shared by Coby Enteen
At the List of Free iPad Apps for children with Special Needs: Part 2 you will find 14 more Free iPad Apps for students with Special Needs and 4 for Teachers!
Great Google lesson plan site. All lessons incorporate Google tools/ You can search for lesson plans and curricula using the drop-down menus.
by Coby Enteen
Written by Coby Enteen
Edcanvas is a phenomenal web tool that allows teachers to create multimedia rich lessons and share them with their students. These lessons can include YouTube videos, slides, files, text, and images which you can download either from the web or use the ones you have in your computer. I am really pretty amazed with the ease of use of this platform and the user friendly interface it has. I have experimented with it in a high school setting and the results were amazing! It can even be used for higher-education and distance learning.
More about Edcanvas:
by Coby Enteen
Working with teacher and encouraging them to integrate technology is not always a simple task. Over the course of the past few months I have been leading an initiative integrating tablets into middle schools in an urban part of the country. Many of the teachers had never really used technology as part of their teaching and it was somewhat of a shock to wake up one day to a classroom in which all of the students had a tablet and all of the books had gone digital.
Overcoming the initial shock was was not easy. At first teachers tried to bypass the use of the digital textbooks by photocopying materials from workbooks and blaming the disuse on technical problems that they were experiencing. Through a great deal of coaching, guidance, ongoing hands-on training and lots of encouragement I was able to help them to change their ways.
The training sessions focus on new learning new applications and modeling effective teaching and learning with the tablet. It is then the responsibility of the teacher to transfer the skills acquired during the professional development into the classroom setting. Most are hesitant at first, but are able to with the added support of the instructional coach.
An important dimension of the professional development is the ability to provide teachers with a clear and consistent method of instruction. Once the method is in place, it is much easier for teachers to fit the content into a specific structure, at which point they begin to think more constructively and incorporate the ‘out of the box’ thinking mentality.
We have a long way to go before all of the teachers are utilizing the tablets to full capacity, but we have definitely gained some valuable ground.
It was not long ago since we posted here about the contest launched by YouTube in partnership with Khan Academy. They both were looking for some bright and inspiring educational content creators who have ” what it takes to build a global classroom “. Two of my readers here have applied ( there might probably be more but these two have sent me their video contributions ) and one of them was initially accepted in the first selection that listed 1000 candidates but was eliminated in the final selection.
By now, everyone’s heard of the major web services that have become popular in edtech circles: Edublogs and Blogger for blogging, Diigo and Delicious for bookmarking, Wikispaces and Wetpaint for wikis, and on and on and on…