Archive for category individualized learning

Quizilla for Creating

A student of mine contacted me the other day and asked if he could use Quizilla to complete a compare and contrast assignment by making a quiz.  It seemed like a really interesting method for a student to demonstrate a higher level of thinking so I said “go for it” before I even looked at the site. When I pulled up the site the next day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it offered 5 ways to create:

  • quizzes
  • stories
  • polls
  • poems
  • lyrics

A student could use any of those creative options to demonstrate learning for most of my lessons.  I sent this out to my kids and told them to feel free to develop and publish their own story as a replacement for any writing assignment as long as they cover the basic lesson requirements.  Meaning, if their story shows me they understand my objectives then they can be as creative as they want in how they turn work in.

They could also create a poll and publish it.   If its interesting enough people will take the poll and they could share the results as part of the assignment.

Writing poetry or lyrics for a song takes a special talent, so I encouraged them to “use it if they got it” but just make sure they demonstrate clear knowledge of the topic.

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Using Video Essays in Class

I’m getting ready to really promote Video Essays with my students in my online courses. They are easy to make.  Webcams are readily available for most students.  They emphasize creation and analysis and they offer quality accommodations for students with written expression problems.  In my project blog I detailed how kids could use this in my class if you feel like reading, or you could just check out the short video below.

Have you used video essays (vlogs) as a tool in your courses?  How did it go? Do you have any suggestions?

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Designing Global Classrooms -Alan November – Necc08

Live blogging:
Questions by Alan November
NECC 2008
November Learning has resources for researching on the web
His new book is called Web Literacy for Educators

Opening story about 17 year old son- only people who are not connected are his teachers.  Schools have become the learning police.  We are so worried about children safety that we block learning possibilities.  In an effort to protect children are making them unemployable.

Alan is asking questions and ideas below are based on group poll:
Right now government regulations own the learning but students should own the learning.  Lack of leadership, type of curriculum, and lack of vision are the biggest barriers.  District filters big barrier to students working globally with other students because block IM, Skype, and blogs.

We are not doing a good job of teaching students how to facilitate their own learning.  Example, teachers do not allow tests where students can research answers using the Internet. Not utilizing “open source” ideas.

Step 1 in teaching kids to be globally competitive is to understand how Internet works and learn specific syntax and grammar. Examples below:

site: countrycode
= for Google results from specific country
view: timeline = organizes Google research by dates
link: url = to find out how many links are going to a site

Recommends creating own customized search engine in Google with own reviewed sites.  Kids should do this, build it in class.  Schools can design and share with community.

Teachers shouldn’t be allowed new technology (pd) unless they bring 2 kids with them.  Kids will spread what they learned quickly.  For some children it might be easier to learn from kids rather than teacher.

We need more voices delivering content!
Kids need to own the learning, change the job description of children.

Collaborative web tools in class. Kids can all produce one presentation together (google docs), so all students have access to all the content all the time.

Wikipedia isn’t just an encyclopedia, its a publishing center.  Use it as a tool to get kids publishing., place where kids can make a contribution to online information.  Loan money to entrepreneurs.  Get money back later.

6 Jobs to Restore Ownership of Learning to Students

1.  Every classroom should have a student researcher, at least one.
2.  Every teacher should have a student led curriculum tutorial design team.  These tutorials should be available for Ipods and Dvds.  Ex.  Students create screencasts (jing) on how to solve different problems or teach how to do something in class.
3.  Can create podcasts that help teach class.
4.  Google Docs – Kids help edit writing or presentations together, official scribe team.
5.  Teach kids to add value to the world.  ex.  go to Wikipedia and add content.  Can have kids work collaboratively on an entry for an assignment, then can monitor the changes through an RSS feed of the history.
6. Teach kids mathematics of investment into global groups and link it to curriculum.  Have kids raise money for this.

There was a 7th job but ran out of time, so need to go to sites for complete notes on session.

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In Their Words Video

I created this video from over 2 hours of student interviews and dozens of still images.

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Student Voice + Google 20%

Konrad Glogowski presented at EduCon2.0 about using blogs with students. At the beginning of his presentation I was thinking, “well, I already use blogs with my students so not sure if this is going to be useful.” I kept my ears open and pretty soon heard something that I’ve thought about everyday since. One of his main themes was losing your teacher voice and giving the students one. He described how important it was to let students establish the confidence to write online knowing that it could be read by other students. The way he made this happen was by allowing students to write about nonacademic topics for a little while. He would then have a conversation with them through comments. He threw away that teacher tone for the rest of the year. No more looking at writing through the eyes of someone grading it on grammar and punctuation. Talk to your kids about what they are writing, listen to their voice.

Google allows its employees to spend 20% of their time (one day/wk) working on a project outside their job requirements. I’ve thought a lot about how to apply this to my courses and it wasn’t until this week that a light bulb went on and I settled on something. Why not combine Konrad’s idea of student voice with Google 20%? Here is what I came up with.

I will encourage students to earn 20% of their points for the week just writing in their blog. For example (a rough estimate), if they have a 100 point project due that week, 20 points will come from their blog and can be applied as extra credit or as a substitute for some of the project requirements. (logistics will fall into place a little later). There will have to be a couple caveats though:
1. Early on in the process they can write about anything on their mind.
2. The students must only write things they are willing to share with other students.
3. As the semester progresses, the blogs will start to incorporate more and more ideas from our content.

Any suggestions? Arguments?