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Tips to starting a learning blog

January 7, 2013

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Great blogging tips I wish I’d known when starting out on FUTURE-PROOF LEARNING (ever had to add new tags to a long list of old posts?).

Not as simple as (grades) ABC

January 2, 2013

The article ‘5 New Ways School Are Evaluating Student Learning‘ offers some interesting options for building evaluation capacity in schools. While there is a promising mix of qualitative and quantitative themes, it will be interesting to see how they are implemented in practice amid constraints like schools’ limited budgets, the sheer diversity of students, and building consensus (or at least familiarity) within a disparate research community.

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Mind your PLN

December 10, 2012

There is no lack of learning resources on the Internet, but all that information is no use unless it is filtered and organised in a manner that meets your needs. Watch the following video on how to customise your own Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Preparing for a connected classroom

December 6, 2012

The modern classroom is making use of social media to foster interest in learning, to encourage participation, and to motivate personal and social development outside of school. However, in the rush to incorporate technology, educators often omit the critical step of finding out students’ media literacy skills.

Media usage patterns and abilities differ among individuals. These depend on personal interests, social economic status and peer influence, among other factors. Finding out students’ existing technological skills, their values and concerns regarding the Internet, as well as their social media ‘beat’ (online tools and websites they gravitate towards) will enable teachers to create more effective lesson plans and stay alert to risks such as cyber-bullying, online predators and harmful content.

Here are some questi0ns to start you and your students thinking about social media in your classroom.

Teacher evaluation methods found wanting

October 2, 2012

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An excellent article in The Washington Post examines the pitfalls of evaluating teachers based on student test scores. This commonly used method of assessing teacher effectiveness has been proven unreliable as it discounts a number of factors that can influence student performance, for instance, family income level, parental involvement and  teacher-student ratio.

This means a teacher who is effective can still receive poor ratings, and vice versa.

It was particularly interesting to read about the unintended consequences on students of using this evaluation model, where not only teachers but also students get labelled as ‘under performing’, and fail to receive real help to improve themselves.

Social media in learning: Not so scary

September 26, 2012

Great post on The Guardian’s Teacher Network blog! See how some schools are effectively integrating social media into learning:

Social media for schools: a guide to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Designing your classroom

September 17, 2012

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There are many misconceptions about classroom design, for instance, its perceived lesser importance to other areas like quality of curriculum and teacher effectiveness, and that it is a costly affair. However, research has shown the profound effect of classroom aesthetics on teaching and learning. It is also possible to build a high-performance classroom by getting creative with layouts and inexpensive materials.

Besides considering the important factors in classroom planning, it may be necessary to experiment with a few designs before deciding on one that best fulfills your educational needs (try Classroom Architect, a free online classroom design tool). The goal of classroom design should be to provide students with a learning environment that supports imaginative activity.

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