Take a look at our simple adaptation of the GEAR Methodology for Blended Learning: What activities would you supplement in at each phase to deepen the experience?
Recently we have been discussing the challenges technology integration places on educators; knowing what technology to use, when and how to use it effectively and also when not to use it. There are expectations on teachers to integrate technology, but little professional development on elearning practices.
Make no mistake, once technology is used in the classroom, elearning teaching methods (many such as GEAR are really solid) need to be applied. How many schools have provided blended learning training for their traditionally trained educators?
Elearning instructional design is developing solid models of learning which embrace measurable and memorable personalised learning. Meanwhile most class-based educators have professional development overtime on topics such as differentiation, technology integration and peer-to-peer learning. What if holistic professional development redesigns the way teachers construct learning?
Schools have been moving towards blended learning through learning platforms and flipped lessons, why not remove the confusion and integrate technology entirely, providing the blended learning instructional methodologies such as GEAR (see previous AGILE in Education post).
Take a look at Edustruct, it offers an integrated paperless platform for educators, with secure social media options for parents and students: https://edustruct.com/ . This is one example of complete technological immersion, providing the environment and the tools to truly integrate; now how about professional development in instructional design?
Integrating technology into the classroom can be overwhelming. The selection of applications designed to help educators and students is vast and evolving. It is easy to turn away from technology integration in the face of so many choices.
What works best for your students and for you? Here are our top tips:
1. Ask your students: As digital natives, students often have a detailed and holistic understanding of what technology is capable of doing. Try asking students what they use, what they like best and why they like specific apps. When students' opinion is invited, the response can be very positive and helpful. It also give students ownership over activities and work.
2. Flip the Learning! Provide opportunities for students to choose how they represent learning. Students may choose media you have not encountered, it is delightful to see student creativity when given freedom to make these choices. As educators and life-long learners it can be rewarding to learn from the people we teach.
3. Choose your top 5 apps that can be applied in many subject areas and situations and use them a lot and in different ways. Invite students to critique your top 5 apps as they make use of them too.
Below are our top 5 apps (not subject specific)
#1 http://www.showme.com/create: Create lessons or let your students teach and share
#2 https://mural.ly/ : Present and brainstorm collaboratively
#3 http://www.explaineverything.com/: Flip the classroom using an iPad.
#4 http://www.fiftythree.com/paper: Storyboarding, impressive artwork with this flexible app.
#5 http://www.haikudeck.com/: Presentation software with great images, easy to access.
For note taking that integrates dropbox try notability: http://www.gingerlabs.com/
For teachers to streamline communication with students and parents, well worth a look: http://threering.com/
Using PowerPoint effectively supports learning, it becomes a powerful tool. Below is our five point guide for using PowerPoint as an effective supportive tool.
1. Display clear objectives
Build and share objectives using verbs such as create, analyze, evaluate, reflect, and build.
2. What are your learners doing? Are learners sitting passively watching you read a presentation?
Plan strategies enabling learners to explore, discuss, experience and ask questions. Slides guiding participants through activities are useful prompts.
3. Facilitate rather than lecture? Take the pressure off and free up time to connect with learners.
Design activities that are active and readily personalized. Group work and
Q&A deepen the learning experience. Slides containing deep questions honing in on the big ideas are effective.
4. Use visuals to support learning?
Use PowerPoint slides with visuals that provide hooks for learners to hang their understanding on.
5. Summarize key learning points?
Following a session of exploratory and active learning, ask learners to provide a list of the key points learned, compare learner's key points to your own.
PowerPoint is a great learning tool, but if presentations are used to display lecture notes, contain loads of slides, lots of text and you plan to read to the audience, remind yourself that PowerPoint is a tool to support learning and maintain fluidity through a learning experience, it is not designed to deliver effective learning experiences.
K-12 Educator, Curriculum and course designer, devising strategies and courses that empower educators to provide learning experiences in the classroom, blended and online environments.