Sustainable Modern Pedagogy or “Boutique” Solutions?

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 […]

Moving from Independent Islands to a Nation State

Cross-Curricular Multi-disciplinary Learning: Moving from Independent Islands to a Nation State

Written by Coby Enteen The value of creating in-depth, meaningful learning experiences for students through a cross-curricular or multidisciplinary teaching approaches have long been justified; however the feasibility of teaching this way, is somewhat questionable.  This is due to a large degree […]

New teaching practices, should we really change the way we teach? Understanding The “Thawing Principle”

Written by Coby Enteen Every so often we are overtaken by new teaching practices and learning methods such as Flip Classroom, Project-based Learning, MOOC’s, Blended Learning and so on.  We often hear about them at conferences, from a school administrator or from fellow teachers and they make […]

Finding a Diamond in the Rough

By Coby Enteen Attending regional, national and international professional conferences are often times a confusing experience for educators, whom are sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer number and scope of technology solutions presented.  Vendors are trying to promote products and increase sales, […]

QBL – A Practical Solution to Teaching

By Coby Enteen Project-based Learning (PBL) has gained a great deal steam and has been adopted and implemented in many forms, over the course of the last decade.  Teachers invest endless hours in dissecting topics, planning activities, writing questions, organizing […]

 

The Modern Student Learning Life Infographic

Student Inforgraph

Some highlights that should be noticed are:

  • 93% of students use study apps
  • 70% of students study solo during exams
  • 59% of students use a mobile phone to study
  • 42% of students have as favorite place to study their bedroom30% of students prefer to use Google Drive.

via The Modern Student Learning Life Infographic.

Creating the 21st Century Learning Experience — Asia Futures Magazine Online

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.

Creating the 21st Century Learning Experience — Asia Futures Magazine Online.

Are 21st Century Skills the Missing Piece?

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:

  • Ways of thinking. Creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning
  • Ways of working. Communication and collaboration
  • Tools for working. Information and communications technology (ICT) and information literacy
  • Skills for living in the world. Citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility

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.

21CTI_Model

Figure 1 – 21CTI Model

Another article related to 21st century skills:

Living in a Digital World We Don’t Understand | edtechdigest.com.

Social Networks or Learning Networks?

Social Media

Written by Coby Enteen

Social networks are gradually becoming commonplace in the K-12 classrooms.  Teachers have awoken to the fact that 12-18 year old’s  spend much of their after-school hours socializing online, and they only started to realize the value of bringing this experience into the classroom.

I have personally had the opportunity to introduce a teacher controlled social learning platform in a recent 1-to-1 initiative in a large school district.  Teachers received hands-on training using the Edmodo online tool to introduce topics, assign schoolwork, create classroom discussions and encourage student learning and inquiry both during the school hours and at home in the form of homework.  The teacher training was voluntary and only 30% of the teachers attended the initial sessions.  Within a two months of the training the number of teachers using social networks in the classroom doubled and it became a source of discussion in the teachers lounges.

Although social networks are viewed by most as a leisure activity, we must not forget that it is the voice of the young generation.  It is the medium of speech and something that comes naturally to them.  Therefore, the ‘natural’ place is in the classroom, and maybe we should consider it to be a learning network instead?

More Educators Joining Online Social Networks -- THE Journal

More information about teachers and social networks:

More Educators Joining Online Social Networks — THE Journal.

Report: Middle School Students Using Smartphones More Interested in STEM — THE Journal

Middle school students who use mobile devices for school work are more likely to express an interest in STEM subjects, yet there’s a large gap in the number of students using the devices at home and those using them in school, according to a new survey from MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning at the Media Lab and the Verizon Foundation.

via Report: Middle School Students Using Smartphones More Interested in STEM — THE Journal.

Top 5 Reasons Tablets are the Best Solution for Education

by Coby Enteen

Tablets are quickly becoming the ideal solution for school 1-to-1 programs.  They provide a simple, lightweight, low-cost option for seamlessly incorporating technology into the classroom.  Here are reasons why:

1.  Simple, Lightweight Solution – The deployment of laptops into classrooms brought with it a great deal of physical constraints ranging from the weight of the device to the complications with charging and electricity.  The tablet weighs very little and provides virtually all of the same learning resources.

2.  Battery Capacity – Laptops used in the past would continuously need to be recharged, often during a lesson.  This was a cause of frustration for many teachers and students and severely inhibited learning.

3.  Low Maintenance  – Most schools and educational organizations are dependent on large IT departments with significant budgets to run  and maintain a server-client environment.  Most tablets rely on cloud-storage solutions.  Moreover, tablet operating systems are very solid, hardly ever get “stuck”, and are not as susceptible to computer viruses.  The tablets themselves require very little technical care and maintenance, thus freeing up funding spent on IT support for other educational initiatives.

4.  The Low Cost/Personal Device – The average cost of a tablet is much lower than a laptop or desktop offering schools with more flexibility and the ability to step closer to a true 1-to-1 learning solution.  Tablets also enable learning experiences outside of school when provided as a personal device.

5.  Apps, Apps and more Apps – Mobile device applications are slowly becoming the most popular form of software development.  Every day more and more applications are being released and many of them are suitable for education.

An additional article on the subject from Digital Trends:

How tablets are invading the classroom | Digital Trends.

Why Nearpod for iPad Works so Well

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.

Top 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

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.

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning | American Association of School Librarians AASL.

Shared by Coby Enteen

Six Ways to Get Your Online Students Participating in the Course | Faculty Focus

Have you ever worried about the level of participation in your online courses? Perhaps you have difficulty encouraging students to interact with one another, or maybe you find student responses to be perfunctory. Surely there must be a way to encourage the kinds of participation that really supports learning.

via Six Ways to Get Your Online Students Participating in the Course | Faculty Focus.

List of Free iPad Apps for children with Special Needs: Part 1

The TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) is dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning through the use of computers and technology. Nice mission statement I can say. The awesome thing about TCEA was the iPad Apps and Resources for Teachers, where I found an amazing list with iPad Apps for children with special needs.

 

via List of Free iPad Apps for children with Special Needs: Part 1.