The first tweet I found had a link to an article that laid out 5 tech tools that will encourage your students’ group learning in and out of the classroom. The first tool mentioned that I am already familiar with is Google Docs. Some of the features that make Google Docs a savior in the classroom are real-time editing and collaboration features. Google Docs forces students to work together and communicate about what they’re doing and learning. This gives them a chance to explain their work, edit, revise and publish together. The best part of all, it’s free.
Another tech tool mentioned in the article is an online discussion forum. Online discussion forums enable collaboration in class without making shy students participate in the traditional way. Forums also make it easy to continue the academic conversation outside of class. Students can find and share resources about the topic of discussion while they’re in class and when they go home.
The last tech tool I found interesting from the article was Audacity, which I’ve never heard of before. Audacity is a collaboration tool that allows students to work together while learning a new skill – how to record and edit themselves. Audacity gives each student a chance to explore language, but each student can insert their own voice, learning how it fits in with the voices of others. Audacity can be used as an alternative to traditional book reports or homework assignments.
The second tweet I found had a link to an article titled “How can Teachers Prepare Kids for a Connected World?” As I read this article which talked about the drastic changes in education, I thought about how our college classes exemplify these changes, which include technology-infused learning and participatory learning rather than passive listening. The article talked about how these changes don’t match how students and teachers are assessed.
In a Participatory Learning and You (PLAY) classroom, students are allowed to learn through games, and the students normally just throw themselves into these games without reading the rules. This allows for students to test the limits and they can feel free to try and fail and learn from that experience. However, this learning style won’t be optimized or at its best until assessment is lined up with how the students are learning. Assessment today is still ruled by high-stakes testing where there is no room for students to fail. Everything students do today goes on their academic record and students have become accustomed to only doing things they already know how to do without failure. The main theme of this article was that teachers need to be creative with their teaching and assessing methods so students keep an open/curios mind when it comes to learning. This will allow students to not look at failure like it’s a problem but rather a learning opportunity.
The last tweet I looked at had link to a YouTube video that discussed the basics and benefits of PARCC, and before I read this I didn’t even know what PARCC was. The video started about by showing the changes in education, which include new, rigorous standards in math and English Language arts. PARCC is the new assessment system that would evaluate students’ learning in this higher-expectation education system of today. PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC is aligned to the state standards but also include the evaluation of skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. PARCC will give two assessments, one during early spring and one during late spring. These assessments would take the place of old state tests. PARCC is an online assessment service so the video says it will engage students more and could better accommodate students with special needs. For schools without technology, PARCC has written forms of assessments.
In the language arts section of the test, students will read fiction and non-fiction passages and watched videos or listen to audios to answers questions on. In the mathematics section, students will answer multi-step problems and have to show and explain their work, sometimes in word form. The test data will be available in the same year that the tests are taken. The best benefits of PARCC is that the data can give insight to teachers who might need to tweak their instruction for certain students and the PARCC test data is comparable for students from different states.
This week I found a blog post off feebly by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning about “4 Great Youtube Channels that Provide Intelligent Content for Students.” The 4 channels listed feature educative videos ideal for inclusion in classroom instruction. Students can also use them independently to expand their knowledge and push the limits of their intellectual curiosity.
The first channel, which was highly rated, is Crash Course. Crash Course is run by John and Hank Green who provide some excellent video explanations and tutorials on a variety of academic topics. Some of these subjects that are explored are World History, Biology, Chemistry, and US History. The second channel listed in the blog was Minute Physics. This channel is extremely popular and has over 2 million subscribers. This channel features an enormous amount of professionally designed videos explaining different scientific phenomena. This channel explores a variety of topics, which include gravity, dark matter, or the uncertainty principle. Lastly, the channel that stood out to me the most was SciShow. This channel provides video explanations of challenging concepts. Some of these topics include Do Plant’s get cancer? How do fingerprints form? The science behind the blue/black or gold/white dress? I like this channel a lot because it explores some non-orthodox science questions that might not be brought in a formal classroom.