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Posts tagged ‘Web 2.0’

Holiday Goodie Rerun VIIII: 8 tech tools that encourage literacy skills

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read some of the top posts of 2014. I may decide to jump in with something current but if I don’t, enjoy this Holiday Goodie rerun.

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Some of them are low tech. Some are more sophisticated. Some are mobile apps. Some are not. Some are completely free. Some start free and allow for upgrades. None of them are silver bullets. None of them are going to save the world.

But I think we need to be using them more. These eight tools, and others like them, can change how we teach and how students learn. And I think any tool that does that – whether it’s paper and pencil or a mobile app – is a good thing.

In a recent article over at Huffinton Post, Dylan Arena, Ph.D., co-founder and chief learning scientist at Kidaptive states that

Technology by itself will almost never change education. The only way to change educational practices is to change the beliefs and values of teachers, administrators, parents and other educational stakeholders–and that’s a cultural issue, not a technological one . . . It’s about processes and people rather than bits and bytes.

These eight tools seem particularly effective at encouraging and supporting literacy skills. I’ve talked about many of these before but I think when they are clumped together, they become especially powerful in helping kids read and write in new and impactful ways.

There has been, and continues to be, a lot of conversation about reading, writing, and communicating skills. When I get to be a part of those conversations, I share the following lists with social studies folks. Pretty sure they’ll work across a lot of other content areas as well.

Reading so it’s possible to

  • evaluate an argument or claim
  • determine the main idea, identifying and analyzing evidence, relationships, and supporting details
  • comprehend complex and difficult text
  • identify and evaluate critical information communicated in multiple forms of media

Writing clearly and coherently

  • to make an argument using evidence, logic, and reasoning
  • to tell a story
  • by applying the appropriate technologies for the purpose and audience
  • by gathering multiple sources of information and integrating them into short and long term 
projects

Communicating effectively by

  • preparing and collaborating with diverse partners
  • designing and delivering a presentation on a specific topic
  • presenting information and evaluation to others in a manner that is not totally written text
  • using multiple modes of communication

I know that these lists don’t include the entire package of skills that some states and districts are asking us to check off. But they cover a lot of ground. And the following tools Read more

8 tech tools that encourage literacy skills

Some of them are low tech. Some are more sophisticated. Some are mobile apps. Some are not. Some are completely free. Some start free and allow for upgrades. None of them are silver bullets. None of them are going to save the world.

But I think we need to be using them more. These eight tools, and others like them, can change how we teach and how students learn. And I think any tool that does that – whether it’s paper and pencil or a mobile app – is a good thing.

In a recent article over at Huffinton Post, Dylan Arena, Ph.D., co-founder and chief learning scientist at Kidaptive states that

Technology by itself will almost never change education. The only way to change educational practices is to change the beliefs and values of teachers, administrators, parents and other educational stakeholders–and that’s a cultural issue, not a technological one . . . It’s about processes and people rather than bits and bytes.

These eight tools seem particularly effective at encouraging and supporting literacy skills. I’ve talked about many of these before but I think when they are clumped together, they become especially powerful in helping kids read and write in new and impactful ways.

There has been, and continues to be, a lot of conversation about reading, writing, and communicating skills. When I get to be a part of those conversations, I share the following lists with social studies folks. Pretty sure they’ll work across a lot of other content areas as well. Read more

What tech makes the cut?

I’m sitting in the Wichita airport, waiting on a delayed flight to Houston. With the rain pouring down, I start looking for things to do. Read the paper. Watch a little video. Catch up on email. Clean out my backpack.

I usually try and make some decisions about what to put into the backpack before I leave. I ran out out of time before this trip. And I’m realizing now why it’s a good idea to re-pack after every trip. I got some stuff in there I really don’t need this time.

It’s always difficult trying to decide what to take on a trip and what to leave behind. I really, really hate carrying too much stuff. Seriously. Hate it. But I also worry about all of those times when I needed some little tech gadget on a trip and I had left it behind.

So. What to pack? Read more

Tip of the Week: Less Paper/More Comprehension with Readability and PrintFriendly

We’re spending more time online, reading and researching with our students. We often need to print out these online resources for use as handouts or review materials. One of the problems with online research is that if you or your students print out a news article, a blog post, or just about anything on the web, the print job ends up being multiple pages that include ads and other things you don’t need.

And as more districts move to mobile devices such as iPads, the rules change even more. I often work with teachers and students who are struggling with how best to access and use online materials as learning tools. How can we use online resources such as primary source documents without using paper?

But wasting paper and time aren’t the only concerns. Ed tech folks often talk about the powerful impact that appropriate use of technology can have on learning, especially with online tools. The assumption is that web use by kids increases brain wiring—that being online makes students smarter. But we need to be careful with those sorts of assumptions.

A 2010 Wired article by Nicholas Carr does a great job of documenting what happens in our brains when we’re online. And it’s not always good. Carr discusses a wide range of research claiming that hyperlinks, especially those that live inside text, cause comprehension problems.

  • “People who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links.”
  • “It takes hypertext readers longer to read documents and they were seven times more likely to say they found it confusing.”
  • “Comprehension declines as the number of links increase—whether or not people clicked on them.”

So while online resources are powerful tools for learning, they can waste paper, be awkward to use in a mobile environment, and decrease understanding if not used appropriately. What to do? Read more

Murally is Google Docs for Visual People

I know that some research is suggesting that there really aren’t such things as visual or auditory learners. Well . . . that research is wrong. Cause I’m a visual learner. No question.

I don’t listen well. I can’t pay attention to audio books. I have trouble staying focused during long lectures and speeches. Just the way it is. And I think I’m a lot like most of your kids – someone who feels more comfortable using visual stuff like graphic organizers, infographics, photos, and videos as part of my learning process.

So I’ve always love tools like Glogster and Wallwisher and Prezi. They help me “see” what I need to understand. They help me organize information in ways that make sense to me.

And I can hear you thinking way over here:

Yeah. So?

Glogster does have an “educational” version but it’s not the same since they started charging money. Wallwisher is now Padlet and Prezi makes me dizzy.

So . . . I need something else. And today, thanks to Kelly over at iLearn Technology, I’ve got a new toy to play with.

Read more

How not to celebrate Digital Learning Day

It’s Digital Learning Day.

Yawn.

Isn’t celebrating Digital Learning Day a bit like observing Black History Month?

I mean, shouldn’t we be teaching teaching black history (and women’s history and Latino history and Asian American history and dead white guy history and Native American history and . . . well, history history) all year long? I  can certainly understand the sentiment – for far too long, it was just Dead White Guy History.

Black History Month was a way to encourage teachers and kids to learn more about a part of who we are that was often pushed to the margins. The hope was that these critical pieces of US history would be incorporated throughout the instructional year. The problem? Too many social studies teachers still use February to have kids memorize random black history facts and call it good.

I get the same sense about Digital Learning Day. Not that there is anything wrong with the idea of a Digital Learning Day – the folks over there seem very concerned about best practice and argue that digital tools should be embedded into instruction as part of everyday practice.

But . . .

Read more

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