Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I began this carnival in 2007 to promote both Active Learning and Educational Blogs. When I began the journey there were very few blogs about education and now there are 100,000’s of them.
I have regretfully come to the conclusion that there is no longer a need for this blog carnival and this is the last edition. I might resurrect it as a university only blog in the fall, but that has yet to be decided. My Active Learning links (1,200+) will remain available at http://delicious.com/active_learning or through clicking on the key words in the right hand column of this blog.
Best wishes to all my regular contributors, you have made a very time consuming process a pleasure.
I love music as a learning tool and Listen and Learn has provided many wonderful examples to us. Here is her latest song to accompany the book Down by the Station.
Myscha Theriault submitted some great resources in Spelling Activities: Twenty-Seven Ways to Practice in Style.
Kids Love Learning shared wonderful ideas for young children in Creative Hands on Learning.
I am pleased to inform you that one of our regular contributors to the carnival SharpBrains has recently published a book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness.
Awesome Resources for Curious Teachers provides us with Project-Based Learning: Top 6 Resources.
TutorFi shares 10 Tips to Improve Your Math Skills Everyday.
Aptly named A Revolution in Fiction asks How to spark an interest in literature among today’s students? Creativity.
Dr. Michael Wesch’s Course Approach
The basic format is this:
- First 3 weeks: exploration stage
- Second 3 weeks: guided introduction to the field
- Next 4 weeks: self-guided research
- Due at 11th week: Research paper (followed by collaboration exercises)
- Final (16th week): Share with world (video, website, etc.)
The purpose of this stage is to give students an opportunity to investigate current issues, practices, research and thinking in the discipline. Note that Dr. Wesch provides the resources for the students so they aren’t completely without guidance. They also have a task to complete that provides evidence of their thinking about the exploration. This stage provides a big picture of the role of the content they will be learning in the world, discipline, course or the individual lives of students.
When I taught in the classroom, fractions were a stumbling block for many of my students and I usually began with exploring all the ways that fractions were used in their day-to-day lives. My students’ favourite was my bringing a cake or pizza to class which I then allowed them to cut into fractions and share. I usually chose a couple of poor math student for this task because most kids understand sharing equally and they started the lesson feeling like they could do fractions because they could cut the food. This was followed by a brainstorming session about all the ways people use fractions (pieces of things) every day.
Begin not with the individual books but with the concept of genre. Take the students on a trip to a library or bookstore and ask them to figure out how the books are organized. If that isn’t possible, ask them how they would find a book to read in the school library. Brainstorming all the categories you could put books into might also assist with this stage. Bring in some best seller lists and have them to identify which categories they represent. Ask them to identify their favourite genres. If you are studying a book this year from a previous century, ask them about how genres might have changed over time.
Guided Introduction to the Field
This is the standard teaching phase where they are actively involved in learning the primary concepts.
Self Guided Research
In Dr. Wesch’s class the students are developing their self directed research proposals during the Guided Introduction stage, these proposals are posted on a wiki and combined into a collaborative class research project. In a high school class, this might be a reasonable process but if the concept of proposing and collaborating on research is inappropriate that doesn’t mean that the class couldn’t have a discussion or brainstorming session about what type of information needs to be explored further and how the assignments might be divided up.
In the fractions class, each student might be assigned to observe or ask their parents how they use fractions (measure, divide, calculate etc.)
This is the ideal class to list key themes from a book they are studying and brainstorm what types of research might students conduct about those themes including historical, cultural and individual implications.
Wikis, videos and class blogs are great ways to share the results of the research whether individual or collaborative.
Have students identify categories (home, trades, restaurants, scientists, doctors, artists) and list how their parents use fractions under the different categories.
This is the perfect class for using a wiki that might be organized under specific themes where students post what they learned.
The impact of this process is heightened if they share the wiki/blog/video with parents, another class or the world. If you need to restrict outside access, the fact that students have an opportunity to see and learn from each others work can be very powerful.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Don’t limit a child to your own learning,
for he was born in another time - Rabindranath Tagore
This quote reflects issues that I have been thinking about a lot in the last couple of months. My own learning preference is changing. I have spent my life learning from paper; I would read the labels of soup cans if there wasn’t a book or a newspaper handy. I didn’t realize my learning style had changed until I watched Joe’s Non-Netbook, I still read a lot but most of my reading is online with all the interactivity that implies. I now find newspapers profoundly unsatisfactory because they provide only the briefest of summaries, instead I hear the latest news on Twitter and then go to other sources for details. Many of the textbooks available in my area are out of date by the time they are published and they are increasingly overpriced.
The most significant change for me is my replacing of learning from paper to learning from people, people scattered all over the world, from different backgrounds, and different age groups. People I never would have had access to if the Internet didn’t exist.
So let’s begin this carnival with a video made by high school students in
Continuing her series about student art shows, My Creativity Blog provides us with ideas for Rewarding Student Participation in a School Art Shows.
Thinking in Mind shares student work in Remixing in the Classroom: Student Propaganda Panels.
Sharp Brains examines the role of the art in developing children's brains in Arts and Smarts: Test Scores and Cognitive Development.
Tomorrow’s Professor writes about Ways to Teach Peer Writing and Response, in Any Course and Any Size Class.
TLC Lessons Learned shares what they learned about Increasing Student Engagement.
Craig Fenton wants us to know about A New Use For Twitter, it can be a great writing exercise.
Active Learning in the News
Bright Surf com reports Study shows simple writing assignment improves minority student grades.
New York Times reports on a medical schools conversion of basic sciences in Team Program Is an Experiment in Active Learning.
English Speaker shares Online Tools for Practicing English Grammar.
Debt Free Scholar shares 9 Essential Free Programs Every College Student Must Have.
Online University Reviews offers 100 Resources to Help You Read Better and Faster.
Online Universities and Colleges provides The Master List of Free Online College Courses.
Top Online Engineering Degree writes about 35 Gmail Labs.
Web 2.0 For Teachers Here you can find a collection of recommended Web 2.0 sites for EFL ESL teachers.
1stwebdesigner posts 28 Photo Editing Websites to have Fun With.
Monday, April 6, 2009
In his article Irresponsible Professors and Lonely Students, Britanica Blog writer Peter Augustine Lawler claims students today “embrace, by default, the most radical versions of the modern idea of freedom — called postmodern relativism on the left and libertarian nonpreferentialism on the right. Students, more than ever, are free to choose in all areas of their lives in college. They have almost limitless freedom in choosing what to study, and hardly anything moral or intellectual is required of them. What few requirements that are imposed on students are so broad and flexible as to point them in no particular direction at all. In the name of freedom and diversity, little goes on in college that gives them any guidance concerning who they are or what to choose.” What do you think? Do you think "the strong and the beautiful “hook up,” the weak and the ugly are condemned to sexile, the clever use their cunning to master the fraudulent arts of networking and teambuilding or to become trendy, marketable intellectuals, and the timid and decent are shown the vanity of their slavish moral illusions." ?
Motivating Yourself and Your Students
In my university workshops, I frequently hear the complaint that “My students don’t want to participate in …, they prefer passive learning. How do you motivate them to try something new?" Several writers this month were also wondering about that question.
My English Pages reminds us of the importance of motivation in Motivation- Be motivated to motivate!
Brain Blogger asks how do we motivate individuals to change their behaviors in Changing the Error of Our Ways.
On a similar theme, in Teaching with Depression: Is There Any Way Out?, Jesse Scaccia asks about teacher self motivation and the black dog of depression.
Stale Cheerios discusses the concept of motivation in her article ORCA: Part 2. Steve Martin. When teaching an animal (or human), how do we use motivation? Are we doing things that actively engage the animal in the learning process and inspire them to want to learn? Or are we forcing the learning upon the unwilling animal?
My Creativity Blog asks Why Organize A School Art Show? as a great example of motivation.
Invent Creativity looks at the other side of motivation, inspiration in Creativity Inspired Through Culinary Arts.
Many of the students I work with are very extrinsically motivated by marks, competition for advanced placement or fear of punishment because our schools use a behaviourist model of motivation. In my ideal vision of the world, I would like to see more intrinsic motivation that is based in a lifelong love of learning and a curiosity about how things work. John Keller’s ARCS model for designing content that motivates is one way of thinking about how we might make that change.
Active Learning in Practice
Alistair Bomphray defends small schools ability to work with the whole student in Do small schools lie to their students? This article continues the theme of what is the definition of learning.
Miss Kim Dance Blog wonders about the lack of opportunity to use imagination at preschool and says Let them Play.
Big in Japan talks about preparing non-English learners for English language speech and debate contests but his ideas apply to helping students prepare for public speaking in many situations.
Living the Scientific Life asks "Would you like to play a new computer game and help scientists analyze protein chemistry -- at the same time? Baker is using Foldit to help him analyze the structure of proteins, because kids and adults are a lot smarter at this than supercomputers."
Myscha Theriault addresses one of the most difficult learning styles to incorporate into your classroom in Three Easy Ways to Provide Tactile Instruction for Parts of Speech.
Gen-Y Blogger, a university student has been very prolific this month and shared Shakespeare - How I became a fan, The best books to build your SAT vocabulary and World Affairs Challenge Competition.
Joe's Non-Netbook was my greatest inspiration of the month! Sometimes we make the assumption that our way of learning is the best way. This short video shook my assumptions about books.
Meet Me At the Corner has kid friendly instructional videos.
Teaching that Sticks is compiling Interactive Writing Sites.
Debt Free Scholar shares 20 free online courses from traditional colleges and universities.
Learn-gasm shares 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Librarians on Twitter.
Check out the Delicious tags to the right. I have over 900 resources at every level and in most disciplines.
Thank you to all the people who submitted articles this month. Submit your blog article to the next edition of active learning blog carnival using our carnival submission form before May 1st.