Take a ride on the Student Learning Express as we discuss tips, tools, and strategies educators can use to make the transition from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-centered one. Learn how to be the Guide on the Ride as you facilitate student-directed learning experiences like Genius Hour, Literature Circles, Learning Menus, and Choice Boards.
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This article was originally published in
literacyworldwide.org | January/February 2018 | LITERACY TODAY
When used to create content and connect students with authentic audiences,
technology empowers learners and prepares them for the workplaces of the future.
Unfortunately, many school systems have spent millions of dollars to equip
students and staff with cutting-edge technology tools, only to use them with
antiquated teaching methods. Therein lies a second digital divide, which separates
those with the skills to benefit from technology use from those without. Rows of silent students completing digital worksheets on their Chromebooks or iPads is not effective technology integration. Using one-to-one tablets to complete weekly multiple-choice quizzes simply replaces paper, pencils, and grading.
One means of effective technology integration is through literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. In traditional literature circles, small groups of students gather to discuss shared readings. Students assume rotating roles, typically as the “discussion director,” “ literary luminary,” “vocabulary enricher,” and “connector.” In a technology-enhanced literature circle, these job assignments are infused with technology tools.
My 2018 online course offerings include the following:
Game-Based Learning: Unleashing the Power of Gaming in the Classroom
Genius Hour: Passion-Based, Technology-Infused Learning
Technology-Infused Discussion Groups: Digital Tools to Enhance Student Discourse
REGISTER for our SPRING session TODAY!!
Click the image below to access my Game-Based Learning: Unleashing the Power of Collaborative Gaming presentation resources.
Game-Based Learning Resources
If you want to dive deeper into Game-Based Learning to unleash the power of gaming in your classroom, you can take my popular Game-Based Learning online course for in-service or graduate credits.
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Ed Technology Specialists
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As my students (and my own children) will attest, I spend a lot of time telling them to apply the skills and strategies they learn in school to the things they are passionate about at home in the real world. I implore them to actively create content using the learning strategies and technology tools introduced in class as opposed to passively consuming content as so many of their peers do for hours every day after school. For example, I encourage them to make their own video games instead of playing someone else’s games after school every day. I suggest that they film their own How-To Videos and post them on YouTube just like the ones that are searched for and watched by millions of their peers. I often ask them questions like, “Do you have a strong opinion about this topic? Then write a blog post about it.”
There are numerous ways to create and share in today’s tech-obsessed world, and as teachers (and parents), I believe we must model and demonstrate how this is done. Our students need to see how easy it is to create and share content with an authentic audience. The power to do this is literally in the palms of their hands.
While many of my students get a glazed look on their faces as I rant about the benefits of actively creating versus passively consuming content, I am aware that I am making sense to at least some of them. I’m proud to report that my twins, Ava and Emma, are in the latter group. They surprised me last weekend when they wrote a blog post using the writing skills and strategies they learned in school to persuade me to purchase a trampoline. Ava and Emma wrote this persuasive post on an iPhone using Notes, then copied and pasted it into Kidblog (a blogging platform that I use with my 6th graders). Ava explained that they chose to post it on the blog because they knew that as a “tech guy,” I loved the platform and they wanted to impress me. And they were right because I was blown away!
They accomplished so much of what I hope my students will do:
- They wrote for a purpose, authentically. The idea came from them. It wasn’t another artificial teacher-generated assignment.
- This is an excellent example of real world application of knowledge (writing skills and technology tools).
- It’s content creation in it’s purest form, and it made a big impact on their audience (me).
- They had an audience (me) in mind, and a goal had been set and effectively executed.
- They formulated a persuasive essay using the writing strategies they’ve learned at school and selected the digital platform by which to share it.
Click the image below to read Ava and Emma’s persuasive blog post.
Click the image below to read their thank you letter.
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