more futuristic stuff

In thinking about the future I forgot to mention that the summer session will begin in about a month-and-a-half. We’ve already ammassed a team of teachers and students who’ll attend this summer program, which will funciton more like an educational camp than regular school, and we’re working to create curriculum for this program.

The coolest thing is that we’ve decided to align our classes so that students will always be working on one common goal across the curriculum. Science will bleed into World History will bleed into Math will bleed into Language arts, and we’l all be focuse on on unifying topic: Frontiers.

The Frontiers topic will allow us to work with students to discover what frontiers are, study specific frontiers that confront society, and how people surpass frontiers. One major segment of this will focus on space (as that will help align history, science, and math), and I’ll be working to help with anything that happens in those classes.

While it’s not science, but science fiction, I’ll try to get myself a classroom set of the book The City of Ember, and address frontiers as it’ll be addressed in other classes: The unknown and how we deal with it.

The overalll theme of the book deals with kids conquering hte unknown by eschewing the comfortable “facts” that have confined their society. It’s a “big ideas” book, and from my past experiences, I’ll assume the kids will love it. My major focus for this summer semester, beyond working with other classes on this topic is to get students to write a script based on the book, film themselves acting out the parts they’ve created, cutting it up into a product they agree with, and publishing it (I’m thinking DVD or YouTube). it’s a gigantic effort, but I think we might just be ableto pull it off, and if we do…then those kids will have crossed a frontier themselves.

Revision

Revision, also known as review – my colleagues across the Big Pond in England use the term, “revision” – is tricky in a foreign language class. While the students are in constant need of regular review and practice of previously-learned vocabulary and grammar structures, it can get pretty boring.

Therefore, I am always on the lookout for ways of making the old seem new.

Today included an additional wrinkle: The day before a two-week vacation.

So, following review of the homework, we did some review of previously-learned material. One of the activities we did, in fact, was collected from a website based in the UK called, Teachers TV. The activity is called, “Pass the Envelope.” It is something along the order of musical chairs. Students pass an envelope containing whatever it is the teacher wants to review, while music plays in the background. To infuse some culture into the activity, I used a song by a group based in Puerto Rico. Today, we reviewed the preterite tense. The envelope contained sentences, in English, which the students had to translate into Spanish, using the correct form of the correct verb in the preterite. The students pass the envelope until the music stops. Whoever is holding the envelope when the music stops opens the envelope, pulls out a sentence strip, reads the sentence, and then translates it into Spanish.

The students seemed to enjoy it, and gained valuable review in the process. Additionally, it was the first time I used “Pass the Envelope”, even though I created the activity about a year ago, but never used it.

the imaginary classroom

My idea is to create and build an online classroom that can be accessed from the school as well as at home — this classroom would ideally function as a language arts class, but I also envision that students could use this class to bring up their performance in other classes. There are several measures in place:

  • Students will practice and learn Language Arts skills as outlined by the state’s standards.
  • Students will practice and learn material from other core classes (such as Mathematics, Science, and World History) through their participation in this project.
  • Students will practice real-world behaviors such as communication (writing, planning, reflection, research, production, and publication).
  • Studuents will adhere to a calendar.
  • Students will complete work in this class in an effort to complete work in other classes.

When I brought this idea to one of the administrators, she said the class would function better as an “Intervention,” rather than as a full-time Language Arts class. Labeling the class “intervention” gets rid of following the Language Arts standards and also refuses to step on the toes of the Technology courses offered by other teachers.

And then there are standards related to FTE (Full Time Enrollment)

  • This project will help bring students back into the classroom, by…
  • making the classroom available outside the school.
  • Students can participate in assignments even when they are not available to attend school.
  • Students “in seats” will complete assignments.
  • Students not in seats will complete assignments outside of class.
  • Students have the opportunity to turn in work outside of class.

Scenario-Based Learning

Description: eLearning is often designed to hold a learner in front of a screen for set periods of time: 5 minutes, 20 minutes or, in the worst cases, longer !

During those periods, learners usually only interact with the screen. Imagine if, instead, eLearning was designed to push learners into their work environments: to interact, research and problem solve. Furthermore, what if eLearning was designed for groups rather than individuals ?

Together, we’ll explore the largely untapped and interactive possibilities of eLearning !

  • Choosing appropriate topics
  • Gathering the right content
  • Creating a challenging interface

The ROI of Using Tablets for Learning

Description : The use of tablets for learning is on the rise and there’s no turning back! Although being ahead of the curve in deploying this technology does present challenges, learn how we garnered executive level support and partnered with IT to pilot the use of iPads as a training device for our field training team. The result? We have been able to provide a more engaging and timely training experience for sales associates in specialty areas, all while reducing salary costs!

  • How tablet technology can drive measurable business results
  • Targeting training to audiences that will benefit from it the most
  • Leveraging the latest apps to help make training “stick”