Guiding Students to Be Independent Learners

“In the quickly evolving workplace and at a time when graduates are competing for jobs and careers with others around the world, the capacity to change rapidly and apply new skills is paramount. Bottom line: Learning how to learn is a game changer in the global knowledge economy, and it’s never too early to teach students how to begin to learn more independently.”

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers share three strategies for helping students become self-motivated and take charge of their learning.

21st Century Skills: It’s More Than Just Technology

“Given the growing ubiquity of [technology] in schools, as well as the increasing numbers of educators advocating for their use, it can seem as though education may have reached a tipping point when it comes to improving students’ 21st-century skills. According to the Partnership for 21st Century skills, these can be categorized as the 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.” — Beth Holland

Beth goes on to share that she has started to worry about the growing presence of what she calls the Fake Cs.

Source: EdWeek

Journey from a Makerspace to a Maker District

This article shares the story of Albermarle County Schools’ experience integrating maker education throughout all the schools in the district. In particular, snapshots of Agnor Hurt Elementary and Albermarle High School are spotlighted. I recommend diving into this article and considering how Albermarle’s experience and ideas can impact your classroom, school, and district. Here are just two nuggets I gleaned from reading this.

“Making shouldn’t be isolated. We want to get away from that idea. Makerspaces and classrooms are one and the same.” — Andrew Craft, Elementary Teacher

“When people make, they get back to the basics of who they are as humans. Making puts the learner at the center of the work — and when that happens with our kids, the content makes sense to them.” — Pam Moran, Superintendent


Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s Lens

“A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product.

“Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem. However, project-based learning has already created a framework for Making in the classroom. Let’s see how Making could work when placed inside a PBL curriculum unit.” — Patrick Waters


There’s a Badge for That

“Digital badges have captured the imagination of many educators, including those frustrated with current assessment techniques and practices…a simple definition for a digital badge is digital recognition for accomplishing a skill or acquiring knowledge after completing an activity (e.g., a course, module, or project). In the world of digital badges, there are those who create badges, those who attempt to achieve badges, those who recognize badges, and those who seek to know people who have obtained certain badges. Digital badges have arguably taken off in popularity given the increase in massive open courses that are often free and thus do not produce credits. In sum, digital badges have become an important way to demonstrate a shared understanding of accomplished outcomes. Though they may have capital in multiple domains, digital badges are often new to teachers and those who offer professional development. However, there are at least three key areas where digital badges have implications for teachers and their continuing education.” — Richard Ferdig and Kristine Pytash, Tech & Learning

Continue reading the full article.

Image Source: Caller-Times

Thoughts about Students Who Are Off-Task

It Needs to Be Part of Every Lesson

Flipped Learning: Preparing for the New School Year

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

Flipped LearningImage Source

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter” (Source).

Why Flip?

Flipped learning allows for a more student centered approach to teaching within the classroom because the majority of the lecture style learning is completed at home; thus, allowing class time to utilize more engaging techniques such as project-based learning, game-based learning, student presentations, discussion, and collaboration. Flipped Learning can also be completed solely within the classroom without requiring students to complete work at home. The main idea with Flipped Learning is simply to allow the teacher to become more of a facilitator of learning rather than the dictator of knowledge.

How to Flip?

The following video from Edutopia will help you understand how to get started.

Examples of Flipped Learning

There are numerous ways to incorporate Flipped Learning within your classroom. The following seven concepts are a good place to start.

  1. The Standard Inverted Classroom: students are assigned any lecture style teaching for homework the night before class so that class time might used for practicing what they learned with the teacher able to give instant feedback.
  2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom: lecture style videos, such as TED Talks, are assigned as homework and class time is spent discussing the subject at length.
  3. The Demonstration-Focused Flipped Classroom: teacher records a screencast explaining an activity, math problem, etc so that they students may watch as many times as possible for mastery.  
  4. The Faux-Flipped Classroom: students watch lecture videos or complete assignments via technology at their own pace within the classroom and the teacher acts as a facilitator and supporter.
  5. The Group-Based Flipped Classroom: students learn material for homework and use class time to work together in groups so that they learn from each other through collaboration.
  6. The Virtual Flipped Classroom: classes are offered entirely online and actual class time is not needed.
  7. Flipped the Teacher: students record video tutorials as projects to teach a skill to the teacher thus showing mastery of the skill (Source).

EducationDive showcases the Faux-Flipped Classroom in the article 16 Flipped Learning Uses in K-12 and College Classrooms. A teacher in Florida allows students to complete classwork, take quizzes, and watch instructional videos at their own pace on computers throughout the classroom while she answers questions and provides support to students (Source).

Resources for Flipping

Interested in trying Flipped Learning in your classroom? Checkout the websites below for great information.

About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.