As internet skills become increasingly important and teachers incorporate more and more technology into the classroom, the digital divide widens. The digital divide, the social and economic inequality created by lack of access to technology, is growing and there is no more critical technological tool than internet access. With internet homework becoming increasingly popular, students with no wifi or high-speed internet at home are at a distinct disadvantage.
If educators, taking into consideration their less fortunate students, stop requiring internet homework, everyone loses out. With such a drastic measure, all students will be missing out on the opportunity to develop the skills and reap the many benefits of the internet, including access to information, collaboration and communication. On the other hand, teachers can’t require every student to have internet at home. The solution is to find a way to provide internet access to all students outside of school. This is quite a daunting feat in poor and rural areas.
Amy Prosser takes the time tested practices of researching, writing and presenting which every one of our students needs to learn and weaves technology into six technology-rich, customizable projects aligned to Common Core and ISTE Standards.
The projects are:
Revamping Research Papers
Epic Student Presentations
Powerful Digital Storytelling
Spreadsheet and Chart Magic
Why Blogging Won’t Die
The author provides the standards addressed in the project, the tech tools and collaboration information that you need, details on how to plan the project, examples and grading considerations.
“The kids drew the urban models on their desks
and then presented them to the rest of the class!”
-Sharon Ramsey, teacher at Liberty Christian School
Had to share!!! New desks being put to great use!
-Julie Barber, Director of Liberty Christian School
A class blog offers an excellent tool for getting students to actively participate in lessons while learning some great twenty-first century skills. If you are thinking about starting one, there are some unique platforms designed for education which will make a worthwhile investment for your classrooms. With concerns like security, accessibility and ease of use, choosing the right platform is critical when starting to utilize a class blog.
Blogging classes learn how to express and publish their thoughts. Children as young as kindergarteners can start to enjoy posting answers to questions and prompts assigned by the teacher. As students get older, they can respond to peers on class blog forums and maintain open conversations. This is a great tool for students who might be less likely to speak up in class. If students are required to respond to questions or answers from their peers on a blog, they can carefully construct their posts before publishing and participate without being forced to speak. Teachers can request for assignments to be submitted via the class blog as well, which allows them to easily keep track of who has handed in what and provide feedback on drafts in progress. No matter how old your students are, blogs help them work on proper typing and internet skills, both of which are becoming increasingly important.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could give each child exactly what they need? With personalized learning, educators have the opportunity to tailor material to each student – at least in theory. While this new individualized approach has become a hot new trend in education, it’s important not to jump on the bandwagon before you understand all of the ramifications. Personalized learning through technology may be just the revolution our education system needs, or it might just be another passing fad.
Keeping a room full of students interested in anything can be tough, but using intrinsic motivation in education can make a big difference. Tapping into students’ interests and making the information relevant can help them learn more, and better. But is it possible to keep your whole class intrinsically motivated? How can a teacher create a positive learning environment based on these principles? The challenge may be more than our educators have bargained for.
So what exactly is intrinsic motivation? It is an internal drive to pursue a certain subject or activity for its own sake, without expectation of external rewards. Intrinsically motivated students enjoy learning a subject because it interests them and they feel that it is relevant. They can also be driven by a sense of accomplishment at mastering a difficult task or subject.
A failing school district gets tens of millions of dollars from a popular tech tycoon. It sounds like the opening scene of a Cinderella story blockbuster movie. But for the Newark school district, it was a dream come true in 2010 when Mark Zuckerberg, owner and founder of Facebook, announced that he was donating 100 million dollars to save the city’s failing schools. What could be bad about poor neighborhoods improving their public education system with the help of some generous funds? Well, money isn’t everything. Making sure that money is used in the best way possible is much more complicated than it sounds.
From administrators to department heads to teachers, we can all benefit from sharing digital resources. The abundance of online lesson plans and classroom resources available is revolutionizing the lesson preparation process. It’s no secret that good teachers spend many hours out of school grading papers, preparing lessons, speaking to parents and more. So why shouldn’t the global teaching community come together to share resources, thus saving valuable time and letting students all over the world benefit from great ideas? Maybe because things aren’t as simple as they sound. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
As 2016 edges closer so does a change of seismic proportions for many high school students and parents. Rippling through lives of not only students and their parents, but also education professionals across the country, this change, of course, is the redesigned SAT that will be given for the first time this spring.
The SAT has gone through many changes in its time as the benchmark for entrance to colleges and universities. However it’s popularity has been waning, and it’s mission blurred. The SAT was initially developed to provide information about a student’s potential, or aptitude, as in the name Scholastic Aptitude Test. Over the years, however, as scores reflect expensive test preparation and privilege, rather than natural abilities or educational background, many oppose the use of standardized tests as a bloated system requiring months of memorizing tricks and tips to get top scores.
Before the ‘80’s, it was the rare family that openly discussed sexual orientation. I remember universal shock when it was discovered that “The Village People” singers, best known for their hit song which is still sung today at baseball games, “At the YMCA”, were all homosexual. Even Liberace was never openly recognized as homosexual.
In my elementary school in the early ‘70’s, there was one girl who kept a very short haircut and had rough and tough interests. It never occurred to any of us that she might be a lesbian-the term was not known. Rather, she was a “tomboy”-a girl who was boyish.
Let’s face it. Even the youngest children can search their pressing questions on a computer. Good ol’ Google has made knowledge acquisition as easy as click, click, click. In today’s digital and technological environment, with our techy students, the future of the teacher-run classroom might be on its way to becoming obsolete. Or is it?
Student behavior is notoriously more challenging for the educator. Students quickly bore in the traditional classroom where the teacher is the lead and disseminator of information. For students used to quick changing, full color images flying at them from their iPads, frontal teaching no longer flies for their acquirement of knowledge.
A recent discussion with a friend shed light on the importance of a good school principal. Deciding where to live, she and her husband went to visit a potential school for their child. Her husband was interested in the curriculum. She, on the other hand, paid close attention to the principal’s relationship to the students.
Was there a healthy balance of warmth and respect? Did students feel that the principal was there to help or just discipline? Were students clear about how they should behave and what they should be doing at any given time? The mother rightfully felt that the best curriculum without the structure and warmth in place would not lead to student achievement.
As educators, we all know that the most successful students are those where parents and teachers work hand in hand for the betterment of the pupil. Teachers can only do so much without parents’ cooperation and participation.
Therefore, I read with interest some recent studies as to the best actions parents can take to help their children succeed in school. The findings were surprising.
A study from the University of Essex in England based on statistics from 15,500 pupils between the years 2004 through 2010 found that girls were most likely to remain in school, not become prematurely pregnant, earn better wages, and partner with successful men if they had mothers who nagged them. Yes, you read that right! Pushy mothers who expected their daughters to go to college succeeded in dropping the teenage pregnancy rate by four percent which led to other positive milestones.
When I was in school, give or take some forty years ago, there were perhaps three “fat” kids out of a class of 250 people. I am friends with one of them on Facebook. Today, he is a handsome man who still refers to himself as “the fat kid”. His childhood stigma never left him even though his weight has.
He once posted on Facebook a group picture taken in elementary school. True, he was much heavier than the rest of the kids in the picture. However, it struck me that today he would be considered “average”.