Tag Archives: 21st Century Skills

Why Educator Have to Blog?

Educators are quick to tell students about the benefits of blogging, but slow to embrace them personally. Part of this is simply the immense work load educators take on these days but part of it is also the rut in which many educators find themselves in regards to approaching their work – and their students. Many educators understand that blogging can help nurture relationships with fellow education professionals and reach out to students academically but too many think the benefits stop there.
 
Blogging – Why It Matters to Educators?
Educators have always come together to exchange ideas, learn about new approaches in education and, of course, to simply vent their frustrations.  While this has traditionally been done through user groups, informal social networks and both online and print journals, blogging has added a new element as well as new responsibilities. 
First, blogging forces educators to return to their roots by organizing their thoughts in order to write and post their opinions, observations and findings.  Returning to the basics this way helps professionals organize their thoughts more effectively and puts them in a better position to help students who struggle with some of the same issues.  An educator who blogs regularly can help students more effectively when it comes to organizing their essay structure, finding reliable resources and simply making the time to sit down and write. 
Blogging has become the best and most effective way to share and discuss new approaches in education and how to meet the challenges of the 21st Century classroom.  For some students that means finding the ways to draw their attention back to education (and away from Angry Birds) while for others it means finding ways to integrate personal electronics, social media and memes into their curriculum.
Reaching Out to Students 
Students today are much more relaxed, confident and at home when sitting behind a keyboard.  The same student who never says a word in class can prove to be the voice of a generation once they get home and are settled in behind their laptop, keyboard or tablet.  Involving students in blogging not only encourages them to open up and respond to posts, it also gives them more insight into your own methods and the  world of education in general.  
Students who have a clearer idea of why teachers do the things they do are more likely 
to have mature and motivated attitude to the education. They get the opportunity to see the things from an entirely different perspective and helps them to understand why education is important for their skills development and future opportunities. Teachers thus turn from ‘enemies’ and ‘punishers’ into mature friends, advisors, people who have experience and can be referred to with questions. 
Finally, it reinforces the idea that education isn’t just a phase in someone’s life – it’s a lifelong journey. Once they see that educators and professionals from every industry turn to blogging in order to connect with each other and encourage innovation, they’ll see the skills you’re trying so hard to teach them really do have a place outside your classroom.
Best Practices of Education Blogging
Of course, finding the right blog is all about knowing your audience and so teachers wrangling little kids will have different needs from those trying to help university students.  But no matter where you fall on the academic spectrum, there’s a blog for you. 
With cute colors and bubbly graphics, it’s clear the Chalk Talk team is dedicated to their smaller students. But don’t let their cutie-pie approach throw you off – these teachers are serious about education and the content drives that home. Recent posts have focused on heavy topics like phonological awareness and how to encourage writing skills in preschool children.  
Essay Universe 
a site on academic writing created by college university instructor Tracy Collins. The author aims to provide students with tips, hints and guides to help them hone their writing skills and fall in love with writing process. She researches different methods of teaching writing and plans to share them with her colleagues and students in interactive way. 
Elementary age students need the right foundation in order to excel as they get older and blogs such as 4 the Love of Teaching combine observation with research to tell other educators about new classroom techniques, age appropriate books and even products and tricks teachers can use to stretch their supplies and budget without going broke … or insane.
As kids approach middle school the challenges can increase with attention grabbing devices adding to the traditional mix of after-school activities and surging hormones making it difficult for kids to focus in class.  The 2 Peas and a Dog blog focuses on this crucial age to help educators find ways to cut through the noise and distractions and reach students.  It also offers a pretty comprehensive listing of related blogs for students from kindergarten through high school.
 Blogger Krystal Mills offers up plenty of help when it comes to technology and education.  While her focus is on middle school students, the issues she raises can easily translate to lower high school students, particularly freshman who often feel as though they have one foot in middle school and the other in high school.
If ever there was an academic phase that embraces insanity, it’s high school.  he students are more diverse and so are is the pressure on teachers.  Education is a central topic on this blog but the focus is also on arming students with skills they’ll need throughout their academic career and checking out new technologies that can help students and educators alike.
Run as a part of the Inside Higher Ed website, the University of Venus encompasses a wealth of ideas and theories when it comes to education.  It’s the perfect blog for teachers who want to expand their own techniques and find ways to deal with the politics of education within their curriculum.  It offers practical advice such as dealing with student assessments as well as serious issues that affect educators directly such as the recent adjunct crisis.
 The Thinking Stick offers a bit of everything and appeals to educators at every level.  If you’re teaching little kids, posts on clever ways to use Google Maps in the classroom can turn a simple geography lesson into something more engaging.  Teachers educating older students will find plenty of help with reading strategies in the digital age.  
Writer Lisa Nielsen covers everything from how to incorporate social media in the classroom to how best to set up a classroom in order to help students pay attention and learn more effectively.  Her approach is simple and clear-cut making her blog easy to read, search and put into practice. 
Following the best practice of educational blogging will help any teacher built stronger relations with their students and fellow educators and make valuable input into education development. Who knows – maybe soon we won’t use any textbooks and blogging will be the only source of relevant information.
Author’s Bio
Tracy Collins is a college writing instructor, the author of site on education and academic essay writing EssayUniverse.org
Source taken from: https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2015/04/why-educators-have-to-blog.html
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Fundamental Digital Skills for 21st Century Teachers

 

Education is getting more and more digitized pushing us, teachers and educators, to re-conceptualize what it really means to be a teacher in the 21st century. Whether you are a technological determinist or a digital instrumentalist, technology has become an essential force shaping much of our teaching and pedagogy. It has also placed a number of demands and exigencies on us and to meet these exigencies we need to develop a set of key digital skills

Fundamental Digital

Digital Skills Tools
Record and edit audio clips ·                Soundcloud

·                Audioboo

·                Vocaroo

·                Clyp

Create annotated, interactive and engaging  video content ·                Blubbr

·                YouTube video editor

·                Blubbr

·                Teachem

·                VideoNotes

·                TED Ed

·                Edpuzzle

·                Wevideo

·                Magisto

Create visually engaging content ·                Piktochart

·                Canva

·                Google Draw

·                Glogster

·                Thinglink

Use social networking websites to create PLNs,  connect , discover new content, and grow professionally ·                Twitter

·                Facebook

·                Google Plus

·                LinkedIn

Use blogs and wikis to create participatory spaces for students ·                Blogger

·                WordPress

·                Edublog

·                Kidblog

·                Wikispaces

·                Weebly

Use Social bookmarking websites curate and  share resources with your class ·                Diigo

·                Scoop.it

·                Pinterest

·                Edshelf

·                Educlipper

·                Symbaloo

Create Engaging presentations ·                Google Slides

·                Haiku Deck

·                Prezi

·                Zoho Presentation

Create digital portfolios ·                SeeSaw

·                Pathbrite

·                Google Sites

·                Silk

·                Weebly

Create non-traditional quizzes ·                Testmoz

·                Quizalize

·                FlipQuiz

·                Riddle

·                QuizBean

How To Design A 21st Century Assessment

Contemporary curriculum design involves multiple facets: engaging 21st Century skills, using digital tools, collaborating with others around the globe, performance tasks, and more. Getting these design elements into a teacher’s current curriculum demands that teachers create professional habits around Replacement Thinking.

Four considerations for Replacement Thinking around assessments. In a nutshell, those considerations include:

  1. Students must demonstrate what they’ve learned. Whatever they create with digital tools should still represent what students were to learn. The assessment shouldn’t tell you more about their use of a tool than it does about the student’s work using the tool.
  2. Students should demonstrate content proficiency and sophistication. Their new product should reflect the content knowledge that they’ve learned and the multiple cognitive zones they participated in during the learning process.
  3. Students should be frequently reflecting on their choices. Students should be able to articulate and defend their tool choices, content inclusion, and degrees of audience interaction and how those choices affected the resulting product.
  4. Students must give credit where credit is due. They should know about copyright, Creative Commons licensing, and how to search for and use appropriate content, giving attribution for the media resources they use.

And while assessments are the focus of this blog post, replacement thinking can be applied across the curriculum: in instructional strategies, classroom activities, or in formative data collection using tools such as Kahoot, Socrative, or Google Forms. To help you start thinking about Replacement Thinking, I’d like to offer the following action steps to bring more contemporary ideas into your own professional practices:

  • Action Step 1: Stop thinking technology first.
  • Action Step 2: Give students authentic choice in how they will demonstrate their learning.
  • Action Step 3: Help students seek feedback from other students, other educators, and experts in the field.
  • Action Step 4: Provide always-on, asynchronous access to that which is being assessed.

Problem and Issues: What does 21st century learning and assessment look like?

How about Objective and Assessment: (Do technology-based options enhance or detract from student understanding of content? Data from student surveys will be evaluated to determine student engagement in project. Data from student surveys will determine student disposition at three stages of the process.)

21st-century-assessment-fi.jpg

  1. 21st Classroom Assessment
  2. 21st Century Skills_Assessment
  3. Guideline 21st Assessment
  4. Characteristic 21st Century Assessment

21st Century Teaching and Learning

Source taken from: John Sole, Founder and CEO of Guerrilla Educators

With one prominent exception, 21st century teaching and learning best practices are largely the same even if the century numbers are inverted. Sound, effective educational best practices in the 21st century share certain strategic, timeless characteristics. To that end, we have identified ten experience based Hallmarks of 21st Century Teaching and Learning that can be used as touchstones in the educator’s pedagogical approach to teaching and learning.

The overarching caveat, of course, is that technology in the 21st century has permeated most aspects of education and culture and has changed everything. How we, as educators, use technology with our students is now the key to unlocking those 21st century global skillsets so that our students can lead and compete in a world where geography has become, in many ways, superfluous.

The Hallmarks:

  • Project Based Learning
  • Student Ownership/Engagement
  • Collaborative Teaching/Cooperative Learning
  • Citizenship/Leadership/Personal Responsibility
  • Community Partnerships
  • Mastery of Curriculum/Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills
  • Technology/21st Century Skills
  • The Teachable Moment
  • Reporting Out/Celebration
  • Fun

1. Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning is the primary gateway through which the Hallmarks are realized. There are consistent characteristics that make a Project viable. Some of these are that Projects should be:

  • Hands-On
  • Collaborative
  • Multi-Disciplinary
  • Student Centered
  • Real-Time
  • Real-World
  • Flexible

Just as any discussion about the design of 21st century teaching/learning spaces includes, by nature, flexibility of those spaces, so too the design of 21st century teaching and learning must also be flexible. With technology an integral aspect of our lives, more than ever our students have individual learning styles that must be taken into account. PBL provides a plethora of opportunities for students and teachers to be engaged in ways that are best suited to their optimum learning styles.

This short video demonstrates a real world boat building Project featuring middle grade students at a Philadelphia charter school that authentically models these characteristics: https://youtu.be/lyNNC0Pa3zk.

2. Ownership and Engagement

When students are interested and invested in the completion of a school-based project, they begin to own their educational processes. With ownership, all aspects of their school career, including mastery of curriculum become important to them. With ownership also comes:

  • Personal responsibility
  • Strategies like critical thinking and generating hypotheses and extension of learning becomes commonplace
  • Motivation to succeed

Ownership starts with you, the teacher! Get invested in the processes of PBL. Initiate projects with your students that interest you, so you can authentically model ownership.

Ownership and engagement are essentially 2 sides of the same coin. When students take ownership and personal responsibility for the successful outcome of their Project, it follows that they are engaged and interested. Any good Service Learning project will present students with many opportunities to think critically, make hypotheses, and extend what they have learned. Engagement is the door to performing these important skills, which in turn, engenders academic and civic success.

This high school Project activity using the built environment is a great example of student engagement: https://youtu.be/Mu5vODUKTeg.

3. Collaborative Teaching and Cooperative Learning

Teacher collaborations present powerful opportunities for educators to learn from each other, which can increase the strategies available to them in their pedagogical toolboxes. With technology, it is now just as possible to collaborate virtually with the teacher across the globe as it is across the hall.

Students working cooperatively in small groups to achieve project-based goals is a powerful strategy to achieve curricular and standards based objectives. Moreover, when students are focused on the goals of a project, they are more inclined to negotiate with their peers which clarifies their understandings and solidifies their learning. The cooperative nature of small groups working together for successful completion of the project also has an extremely positive effect on the classroom climate and behavior issues are significantly mitigated.

This Project with post graduate students demonstrates experientially collaboration and cooperation: https://youtu.be/mr04qE46fXg.

4. Citizenship, Leadership, and Personal Responsibility

Development of good citizenship skills as part of the fabric of teaching and learning is critical to the long term, real-life success of our students.

Civic skills give greater depth, context and meaning to student mastery of curriculum and standards. Integral to a Project is the inclusion of Community Partnerships. Professionals who freely give their time and expertise to benefit students are models of good citizenship.

Project Based Learning requires administrative and teacher leadership while developing those qualities in our students. One of the key components of effective leadership is having the humility to know what you don’t know and having the ability to listen and learn, from those who do. So, for teachers and administrators:

  • Leadership involves having the inner strength to make decisions and to take personal responsibility for the consequences of those decisions
  • Leadership is enabling those whom you lead to be innovative problem solvers without feeling threatened by their success
  • Leadership is being able to buffer and protect those you lead from distractions and impediments so they may carry out their responsibilities unimpeded by those distractions
  • Leadership is the ability to turn mistakes into “teachable moments” rather than “blamable moments”
  • Leadership is knowing when to step back to give opportunities for those in your charge to take the lead, while understanding that ultimate responsibility rests with you
  • Leaders understand that leadership is a way of life and therefore unbound by the time constraints of the school or business day/week

It is incumbent upon us as educators to instill in our students that, as much as the teachers have a responsibility to present information in interesting, informative, and innovative ways, students also have the personal responsibility to make sure that they have mastered the requisite information to satisfy the goals and objectives of the Project. Student engagement, ownership, and interest in the successful completion of the Project engenders personal responsibility. Ultimately, one of our most critical functions as educators is to inculcate this sense of personal responsibility in our students.

5: Community Partnerships

Community Partners are the heart of Project Based and 21st century teaching and learning. Having real-world professionals and others in the community work with our students to help address real-world problems present powerful opportunities for students to get involved and engaged as citizens and leaders while achieving and retaining, curricular and standards-based proficiencies. Community Partners also model good citizenship/leadership and provide opportunities for taking class trips that are fun and demonstrate real-world learning skills.

This video demonstrates how Community Partnerships both in, and out of, classrooms can have a transformational effect on students: https://youtu.be/PPrfbiVZmxo.

6. Mastery of Curriculum and Higher Order Thinking Skills

The primary rationale to employ Project Based Learning is, in fact, as a tool for student achievement, both academically and socially. A project’s success is ultimately determined by whether the project-based activities are connected to grade appropriate curriculum and state standards and more importantly, whether these connections enable students to achieve mastery across a range of academic disciplines. We have seen that when students work within the Project Based methodology they own their educational processes, are engaged in a project’s activities, work cooperatively to achieve success, and see citizenship modeled by the Community Partners, then mastery of curriculum becomes more likely.

This video shows second graders making and testing hypotheses: https://youtu.be/b133AGFclCY.

Universal access to the internet by our students has changed the equation of how they learn, whether we, as educators, are ready for this change or not. Unlike the traditional teaching and learning experience, with the Project Based methodology students are gaining knowledge experientially. Rather than feeding the students disconnected facts to be regurgitated on a test, Project Teachers coach the students to apply that knowledge to real world situations which engenders Higher Order Thinking Skills like evaluation, synthesis, and analysis. Many of the videos on the Guerilla Educators blog authentically demonstrate HOTS in Action.

7. Technology and 21st Century Skills

Technology is the #2 pencil of the 21st century. As such, any good Service Learning project will be embedded with a wide array of real-world technology-based applications. We still, by and large, teach interminably about how to use tech applications with our students. Well, that ship has sailed given the fact that the younger we are, the greater our ability to use technology in an agile way. So now, more than ever we need an educational paradigm shift away from learning how to use technology and towards using it.

This high school Project activity using the built environment is a great example of students using technology: https://youtu.be/Mu5vODUKTeg.

8. The Teachable Moment

Agile educators nimbly take advantage of those “off the curriculum grid” spontaneous learning opportunities when they occur. These teachable moments are powerful opportunities for effective, authentic teaching and learning to take place. Being able to identify and use real-time teachable moments is one of those transcendent qualities that good educators possess. Click here to see two examples of teachable moments in real-time.

9. Reporting and Celebration

Students will report out to peers, school staff, and the larger community:

  • What they learned
  • How they addressed the problems or issues
  • Their final products. …and
  • They will be celebrated for their important, authentic, real-time work

10. Fun

As a 4th grader concisely put it some years ago, “Teacher John, if it ain’t fun, why would we do it?” School and Fun? While the terms are usually perceived to be in diametric opposition to each other, students having FUN within the framework of their school-based activities is an integral aspect of Effective Teaching and Learning and is one of the overarching links that facilitate academic and civic success.

This short video is a compilation from 2 elementary schools conducting on-site water monitoring and having FUN: https://youtu.be/4VaI_LWu8mY.

PUBLICATION: Are Students Ready to Adopt E-Portfolio? Social Science and Humanities Context

This paper presents the learners readiness towards the implementation of E-Portfolio as means of solving the persistent problems in educational setting. The purpose of the study was to examine the learner’s readiness towards the implementation E-Portfolio in higher education. Initially, this paper was conducted a study with a total number of 300 students form Social Sciences and Humanites cluster and then practicing portfolio in their coursework. The pilot study was conducted and showed the reliability coefficient with Cronbach’s alpha () is 0.825. The instrument was divided into five components which involved (1) technology accessibility (2) online skills and relationship (3) motivation (4) internet discussion and (5) importance to success, to measure the learners’ readiness. The findings were reported that students are ready to have an E-Portfolio as a learning tool in constructing their knowledge and experience of learning. The E-Portfolio will extend the opportunity from paper-based into the electronic based with a variety of online learning features in gaining students interest and motivation in learning. At the end of the day, the E-Portfolio will not only benefit the students and the faculty but also towards the employability.
Are Students Ready to Adopt E-Portfolio? Social Science and Humanities Context. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277325158_Are_Students_Ready_to_Adopt_E-Portfolio_Social_Science_and_Humanities_Context [accessed Jun 15, 2015].

Top 10 Tips to Use Word Clouds in eLearning – eLearning Industry

Word clouds are ideal for eLearning professionals who are looking for ways to visually represent text, whether this is content within an eLearning course or writings of the learners. Color and size can be used to denote a word’s level of importance within the cloud, which helps learners to acquire and retain significant ideas (i.e. bolded words) more effectively. While word clouds are often associated with language arts eLearning courses, they can actually be used in virtually any eLearning setting.

Source: elearningindustry.com

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