Written by Coby Enteen
Our lives have changed drastically over the course of the last three of decades; job stability is slowly declining, manual labor is rapidly being taken over by machines, and the collective knowledge of the internet is becoming more valuable than the teacher and the textbook. Schools are largely finding it difficult to keep up with these challenges, often creating a learning void and failing to provide even the fundamental skills required for success in the constantly-evolving world. As educational paradigms shift, many new and existing pedagogies have been introduced into the classroom such as Project-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning, Place-Based Learning, Computer-Based Learning, Discovery-Learning, Outdoor Education, Flipped-Classroom, Design-Thinking, E-Learning (which comes in different variations), Maker Spaces, and the list goes on. This begs the question; are any of these modern teaching methods gaining ground and are they being effectively adopted in a consistent manner in the classroom or are they being viewed as “Boutique” approaches to learning that are “nice to have.”
Although there is no definitive answer to this question, it has become fairly clear that the pendulum is slowly shifting in the direction of modern pedagogy, primarily out of necessity and as a grassroots understanding that classroom learning must change to meet the needs of the modern world. However, the flip side of the issue is that many school district administrators and educational policy makers continue to battle pedagogic modernization by promoting standardized testing and teacher accountability measures. This creates a resistance to change and most often results in more traditional frontal teaching and “test-prep” approaches. One observable effect is that many alternative schools have sprouted throughout the educational landscape, using modern instructional approaches as a trademark and method of differentiation from the competition. Some prime examples of this would be the Hi-Tech High model in San Diego and the Studio Schools model in the U.K.
While teachers are becoming increasingly aware of modern pedagogy and many have received pre-service and in-service training in these areas; they are often finding it difficult to sustain this type of teaching in the classroom on a regular basis. This can be largely attributed a number of factors including the absence of adequate support during the initial implementation phase, a lack of lesson preparation time and the focus on standardized testing. Moreover, modern instructional practices are many times introduced one after another, without a clear plan and concrete steps for integrating it into the curriculum. Thus, educators have become largely skeptical regarding the promise of modern pedagogy for classroom transformation and have begun to adopt the “boutique approach”, whereby new methods are used in conjunction with specific lessons and extracurricular assignments; never really becoming a teaching standard.
Digital Storytelling is a fantastic way to encourage students to develop products relating to the creative thought process while using problem-solving and language skills. Storybird is a great platform for this type of creative expression, especially for the primary grades. It allows the student to choose a theme consisting of a set of images and embed them in the pages of the digital book. The story is then saved on the website and can be shared with the class.
More on digital storytelling: A Wonderful Visual Outlining The 7 Steps of Good Storytelling ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.
The way mathematics is being taught in schools is quickly losing relevancy to the needs of society and fails to prepare students for the modern day workforce in a constantly changing economy. New instructional pedagogies are slowly changing this but in order to be effective we must pick up the pace.
Read more on the topic at:
5 Things You Need To Know About The Future Of Math
How to Teach Math with Legos
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:
How The Nearpod iPad App Changed An Entire School – Edudemic.
Great Google lesson plan site. All lessons incorporate Google tools/ You can search for lesson plans and curricula using the drop-down menus.
via Lesson Plan Search – Google in Education.
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:
via Edcanvas Easily Create Rich Multimedia Lessons for your Class.
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.
via The New 10 YouTube Educational Gurus.
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…
via 3 Little Known Web Services Teachers Should Be Using.
9 Surprising Ways Schools Are Using iPads Around The World.
iPads are making waves in education all over the nation, even in college classrooms, where they’re replacing laptops, textbooks, and notebooks. Some colleges have even gone so far as to hand out iPads to new students, helping students and faculty all work with the same technology for learning.
This year, the iPad is still going strong and schools are continuing to innovate new ways to use the tablets in class and around campus. Here we share just a few of the coolest ways iPads are making waves in higher ed this year, from helping teams play better to ensuring students never forget their notes.
The proper place of social media in the classroom remains a mystery to most people, with Wikipedia standing as the biggest, baddest new media nemesis of them all.
Wikipedia remains misunderstood because many educators have yet to recognize the distinction between Wikipedia as a tool for teaching and Wikipedia as a tool for research. Unfortunately, fear of the latter has blinded most to the possibilities of the former. I believe Wikipedia to be an effective tool for both.
Why Wikipedia Does Belong in the Classroom.