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

What If Students Assigned Their Own Homework?

“Some may say homework is good practice, and practice makes perfect. Others insist homework is unproductive and pointless.

“What benefit is there in doing 20 of the same type of math problem? If students didn’t understand the lesson from the day, not understanding 20 problems may make them feel that math is inaccessible. This is how children begin to struggle in math and decide it’s not for them. And if they did understand the lesson, repeating similar problems is pointless. Worse still, students begin to believe math is boring, irrelevant, a set of mundane rules, and maybe even a waste of time.

“What if homework could be a means for promoting self-efficacy, agency, and motivation to learn? Teaching students to actively pursue knowledge and see it as valuable is critical to their success both in and out of school.” — Margie Pearse, Edutopia

Continue reading the full blog post.

Image Source: Learning & the Brain

Intelligent Minds and Standardized Tests

Tech-Based Formative Assessment

“When we use formative assessment strategies, we’re on a fact-finding mission. As educators, we work to figure out who understands the teaching point of a lesson, who has mastered a new concept, who needs extra help. Formative assessment happens naturally as we walk around the room and listen in on student conversations or examine their classwork after the bell rings. But how can you use technological tools to check for understanding in meaningful, sustainable, and scalable ways?” — Monica Burns, Edutopia

Continue reading the full post

Image Source: globaldigitalcitizen.org

Easily Turn Video into Engaging Lessons with EDpuzzle

Larry Ferlazzo describes EDpuzzle as “a new innovative site that lets you take just about any video off the web, edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work” (Source). Perhaps the best part is that teachers and students can use it for FREE.

To see an example, view Bobby Barber’s EDpuzzle that he uses in his math classroom.


Getting Started

The following quick demo will help you begin using EDpuzzle.

Flipped Learning and EDpuzzle

“EDPuzzle is a great resource for the flipped classroom, allowing teachers to create and present innovative lectures in a safe environment” according to Education World. Further, iLearn Technology notes that as “students watch, [the teacher] can check understanding and ensure active watching vs. passive watching. In a flipped scenario, this gives you the ability to completely tailor a lesson the next day based on the formative assessment results you get from homework. This is truly utilizing assessment to inform instruction.”

Educational Connections

EDpuzzle can be used:

  1. In flipped classrooms (as discussed above).
  2. To make lecturecasts, tutorials, video directions, etc. more engaging and interactive.
  3. For compiling data and information about students’ performance, and perhaps understanding, which can helpful formative assessment.
  4. So that students can annotate video reflections, recorded reports and skits, and more.
  5. To allow students to develop tutorials and quizzes about the current topic of study. Putting students in the teacher’s role can encourage higher-levels of thinking.

53 Strategies for Checking for Understanding

This quick-reference list of assessment strategies will help you identify a variety of ways to check students’ thinking and learning.

Click on the screenshot below to download this resource from Edutopia.

53 Strategies for Checking for Understanding


Developing Young Authors with Storybird #aaim14

StorybirdI’m enjoying being in Ft. Smith, Arkansas for the 2014 Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Conference. Below are my slides from the workshop that I facilitated yesterday. All the workshop materials and resources (including a video tutorial, additional examples, notes, etc.) are available on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively. The slides also include a link to a special download containing information for using Storybird in preparation for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment.

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories, presentations, reports, or tutorials you and your students make to share, read, and print. Storybird is a fun, collaborative website that can be integrated in all content areas and at all grade levels. It can be an effective resource for teaching parts of a story, the writing process, promoting creativity, and more. STEM and social studies teachers can use Storybird for engaging alternatives to traditional lessons, reports and presentations. Storybird also seamlessly keeps a portfolio of each student’s work.

Participants will be guided in setting up accounts and helped as they begin using Storybird.com’s tools and services. Participants will learn how to use the teacher-specific tools.

Making Thinking Visible with Technology at #TNLEAD

Workshop Description

Visible Thinking from Project Zero at Harvard University includes methods for making students’ thinking visible to themselves, to their peers, and to the teacher. Visible Thinking makes extensive use of learning routines that are thinking rich. Thinking Routines are mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. These routines encourage the development of a culture of thinking and can be used across all grade levels and content areas.

Workshop participants will learn to develop opportunities for students to make their thinking visible with technology. With freely available technologies students can engage in Thinking Routines and provide evidence of their thinking and demonstrate their understanding of course content in multiple ways (images, audio, video, presentations, artwork, and more). When thinking is visible in classrooms, students are in a position to be more metacognitive, to think about their thinking. When thinking is visible, it becomes clear that school is not about memorizing content but exploring ideas. Teachers benefit when they can see students’ thinking because misconceptions, prior knowledge, reasoning ability, and degrees of understanding are more likely to be uncovered. Teachers can then address these challenges and extend students’ thinking by starting from where they are.

Strategies for designing lessons and practical tips for implementation will be shared.


The content of this professional development workshop builds on the research and work of Project Zero at Harvard University. Participants will be introduced to Making Thinking Visible and the use of the Visible Thinking Routines. This is a research-based approach to integrating the development of students’ thinking with content learning across subject areas and grade levels. Before we begin focusing on technology integration, it is important that we have a framework of understanding for these topics as we will build on them later.

  • Making Thinking Visible – Visible Thinking is a broad and flexible framework for enriching classroom learning in the content areas and fostering students’ intellectual development at the same time
  • Visible Thinking Routines – Thinking routines are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life.

Workshop Resources

You can view the workshop slides by clicking below. The handouts, resources, and in depth information are also available.

Making Thinking Visible with Technology

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