Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blended Learning and the Flipped Classroom [Infographic]

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rethinking Assessment, Supporting Diversity ~ Educating Modern Learners

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by Vanessa Gennarelli


"This piece will look at assessment and gender, specifically in terms of assignment types, interfaces, and priming. We’ll critique a few examples of current assessment practices and trends in online learning. From there, we’ll recommend a path to the future of assessment that is diverse, inclusive, and recognizes multiple paths to the “answer.” Because that is the goal of innovation in this space. Not making assessment more manageable. Or necessarily easier. The goal is to nurture a creative society of engaged citizens who think uniquely and engage collaboratively.


"If we hold on to competition and multiple choice, we surrender our chances at that goal."

5 Tips for Teaching the Tough Kids

Every teacher remembers his or her first "tough kid" experience. Maybe the student ignored your directions or laughed at your attempts to utilize the classroom discipline steps. We all have at least one story to share, and for some teachers, teaching a tough kid is a daily challenge. It seems that no matter what teaching techniques you try to pull out of your educator hat, nothing changes their behavior.

I've had the privilege of teaching some tough kids. I say "privilege" for a reason. Teaching these students pushed me to be a better educator and a more compassionate person. I've detailed below five methods that have reduced misbehavior in my classroom and, better still, helped transform these students into leaders among their peers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New iPad app helps teachers better serve their students

Two Melbourne educators, Frank Ryder, a teacher turned software developer, and Gary Bass, an Apple Distinguished Educator who lives and breathes technology, have developed Rubrica, a rubric manager and tool for teachers that runs on the iPad. It includes a series of example rubrics to be used and to show teachers how to make their own.

‘‘Rubrica came from a group of us that had access to a high level of impressive technology,’’ Bass says. ‘‘We were linked with education but we thought it was being used for trivial applications. We thought about what we could use this impressive technology for – what could we improve – and overwhelmingly the answer was assessment.

‘‘Assessment in schools is being done the way it has always been done,’’ he says. ‘‘It is onerous, time consuming and important, and it is high stakes. Rubrica comes from the idea that we have got a technology that can support the work of teachers, which is about teaching, learning and assessing. There is a body of thought in education that says that if something can’t be standardised tested, it can’t be done. Ongoing assessment done using rubrics changes that.’’

‘‘An example is dance,’’ Ryder says. ‘‘It’s more qualitative than quantitative. But you can use a rubric with a set of descriptive things that the assessor is looking for, and so an assessment can be done.’’

‘‘So, Rubrica will allow things that can’t be tested to be done in schools,’’ Bass says.

Rubrics are also used by judges of Olympic diving. ‘‘They have a rubric and they can turn a dive that last less than two seconds into a score,’’ Bass says. ‘‘They discount the high and low and get a score that is extremely robust. They can ask other judges to view a video of the dive and those judges, using the rubric, will get very close to the same score.’’

Rubica ( works within Filemaker Go, an iPad database app. Broadly the idea is that rubrics to suit subjects being taught are loaded into the teacher’s iPad, which also has details of the students in that teacher’s group. The teacher then uses the rubric to mark and comment upon each student’s work in a variety of ways, according to pre-determined criteria. Other relevant rubrics can be selected from a drop-down menu.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How (And Why) To Get Started With 3D Printing In The Classroom

This past week, I introduced 3D printing into my classroom. Next week, we will receive 3D pens from Dim3printing, an Austin-based 3D printing distributor.

3D printing will revolutionize learning because it lends itself to low-risk, low-cost innovation. Since ideas can materialize within minutes, students can see their work as tangible products. When students have access to 3D printing, abstract concepts in science and mathematics have the potential to be transformed into concrete (plastic) visuals.

Students will begin to see objects differently — “That’s cool! I want to buy that.” becomes “That’s cool, but I can design that better.” Students will be transformed from passive consumers of goods to actively-engaged inventors who are in control of their own learning. 3D printing also allows students to interact with a global network of creators. Designers around the world upload files to be shared with other printing enthusiasts, and students will be able to contribute to this exchange.

3D printing has opened the door to serious conversations about education. My students have incredible ideas! As we discussed the possibilities for printing in my classroom, they began to consider how this might apply to their education. My students expressed a desire to learn math as it applies to computer programing, building websites, coding and designing, in addition to creating apps for smartphones and programing robots.

They showed interest in real-life applications for investing, banking, loans, and the financial aspects of business, such as credit, buying a house, and financial responsibility. They wish to create innovative and inventive products for interior design, entrepreneurship, and graphic design. We also discussed alternative learning environments, the need for collaboration, and project-based learning. Students agreed that they want their learning to be applicable, specialized and meaningful.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Postmodality Era: How “Online Learning” Is Becoming “Learning”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, between 2000 and 2008, the percentage of undergraduate students taking at least one online class grew from 8 to 20 percent.2 The Sloan Consortium states that approximately 5.6 million students enrolled in at least one online course during fall 2009, and nearly thirty percent of all higher education students now take at least one course online.3 Clearly, the percentage of students taking one or more courses online is trending upwards, reflecting an increased reliance on the flexibility they afford.

Juxtapose these online learning growth trends with the following statistics: of the 17.6 million undergraduates currently enrolled in American higher education, only 15 percent attend four-year institutions and live on campus. Thirty-seven percent are enrolled part time and 32 percent work full time. Only 36 percent of students who are enrolled in four-year institutions actually graduate in four years.4

What these statistics indicate is a blurring boundary between the traditional and nontraditional. Even classically traditional students at classically traditional institutions increasingly require nontraditional flexibility to meet their educational goals. Online learning has become the catalyst for this change and it is forever altering the landscape of higher education. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

6 iPad Apps for Creative Writing

Creative writing can be a daunting task for students who struggle to think of story ideas or who don't love the writing process. For kids who have trouble putting pen to paper, there are a handful of

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How Teachers Are Learning: Professional Development Remix (EdSurge Guides)

Personalized learning is on the rise for learners in our schools. Redesigned schools include personal learning plans, playlists of content tailored to fit each learner, adaptive curriculum, and access to learning anytime and anywhere. That's great for students but what about teachers?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's In and What's Out in Education

I really like what's in and what's out of current trends.  I created the following chart of what I hope and wish would be education ins and outs in the NEAR future.


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