Lessonwriter.com is a Rhode Island-based education startup that has designed a great tool for helping teachers.
Originally posted on LessonWriter Blog:
As a middle school teacher I often faced classrooms of thirty plus students with ability levels that spanned four to five different grades levels. There was so much variance in ability, skills and academic preparedness that I might as well have been teaching in an old-fashioned schoolhouse with a row for each grade level. I was always told that the answer was differentiated instruction.
The problem was most of my administrators had little advice on how to do this. One year, my principal promised to present the staff with a well-differentiated model lesson, and instead he delivered an incredibly-challenging single-level, single-strategy lesson and asked the staff to journal about how infuriating an experience it was to sit through a lesson that didn’t meet our needs. He said the point was to promote greater empathy for our students and motivation to work harder at differentiating- still he offered no answer…
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Here’s what is on the agenda for opening day at Netroots:
9:00am – 10:15am
From Defeat to Triumph: Erasing the Death Penalty in America
Taking the Offense in State Elections
The Heart of the Beast: How the Grassroots is Taking on Big Banking
Agitation and Inspiration: The Power of Art and Cultural Organizing
10:30am – 11:45am
Handcuffs, Conventional Wisdom and Dirty Oil: Activism’s Big Win Against the Keystone XL Pipeline
Collaboration, Not Co-option: Labor, Community Organizations and Occupy Wall Street Working Together
Organizing Lessons from SOPA and PIPA
Beyond Occupy: What Does a New Economic System Look Like?
3:00pm – 4:15pm
Whose Law Is It Anyway? ALEC’s Influence on State Legislatures and What We Can Do About It
The Battle for Congress: Q&A on the 2012 Elections
Liberate Your Ass: Why Sexual Freedom is Key to Fighting the Right
Occupy Goes Home: The Occupy Movement and the Foreclosure Crisis
4:30pm – 5:45pm
Protecting Voting Rights in Communities of Color in 2012
Marriage Equality: Past, Present and Future
Emerging Movements: The Face of New Progressive Online Communities
Why the Fed is the Most Important Economic Issue You Know Nothing About
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Opening Keynote featuring Eric Schneiderman
I’m taking a lunch break at Stop and Shop, using their network and checking out my stats and my friend’s blogs.
Has Nomi spent too much time hanging out with ‘Jesus’ General’? The General does get into some personal matters every other sentence or so. And his gladiator obsession is kind of much.
Kmareka is not forbidden. Possibly because our editorial policy bans any language that Kiersten’s kids can’t see.
But maybe that’s not it. Maybe compared to Nomi we are harmless and uncontroversial. Maybe we’re not important enough to be banned in the Stop and Shop. It’s so hurtful.
Yesterday was my first experience liveblogging an event, and as you can see from the skimpy blog post, it was a challenge — getting on wifi, staying online when I paused to listen more intently to presenters, typing on the small hand-held computer screen, shutting off my technology so that I could interact with the people around me. But overall, it was an amazing first experience.
For me, though, what rises to the surface after an experience is almost better — that’s the real grist for the mill. For me, reflection is as important as experience, since it allows me to comparatively assess the depth of new information received and how it will impact my own thoughts, plans, ideas and actions.
I’m not going to go into detail, but the bottom line is that attending Podcamp helped me further conceptualize some possibilities for Kmareka as well as some possibilities for how to use new media in psychotherapy. To that end, I will be doing a lot more research and writing both online and offline in the coming months.
I want to thank the presenters and participants I met at Podcamp who took the time to talk with me and share their ideas. Your listening ears and engaging responses have bolstered my enthusiasm for my work:
Philip Robertson, Oovoo
Susanne Sicilian, Marketingprofs.com
Cristos Lianides-Chin, Dexrex.com
Jim Spencer, JBS Partners
Deborah Block-Schwenk, Writing and Social Media Marketing
Larry Lawfer, Yourstorys
Robert H. Blatt, Audio Engineer and Podcaster for the New York Sun
Crystal King, Sr Principal, Communications and Global Marketing, Ca.com
I’d also like to thank the people at Utterz.com for the really cute stuffed cow! My younger daughter is enthralled with it.
I’m at Podcamp Boston, broadcasting live from my husband’s iPaq. At the moment, I’m listening to a panel discussion on social media and marketing. I’ll be updating throughout the day.
The discussion now is on how social media is giving us so many new choices for what to pay attention to, as opposed to the world of just TV.
Best Practices for social media and PR:
–engage the audience and let them talk about you — Obama’s approach incorporates this.
–consumers are now controlling vendors more because of social media.
–smaller innovators can work more quickly and nimbly.
–concerned comments about companies managing liability of employees producing work with social media.
I’m now listening to Larry Lawfer talk about successful video blogging.
– “Work hard to make new mistakes, otherwise you are not progressing.”
–facilitate conversations for others, help them connect with others, and you will rise in their estimation.
–make good sound, otherwise people will click off.
(Cross-posted from my private practice site.)
Edutopia has a fantastic June issue with a focus on using new media in education. In particular, they have a video about Albano Berberi, a blind high school student who uses assistive technology to do things like computer programming, video-game playing, and composing musical scores that he then performs on violin. Here is a link to the video.
Another interesting short article, “Wii Love Learning,” discusses the use of the Nintendo Wii in an Indiana elementary school. The educational potential of the Wii is just beginning to be recognized. Expect more uses for this versatile high tech game platform in the future.
But also, remember to unplug! The need for exercise in our culture — real live running around and engaging in activities that stretch and build muscle, raise your heart rate, your pulse, and all the rest, are just as important as ever. As this article indicates, while there is evidence that many things can enhance cognitive functioning, the one thing with the strongest research base indicating positive brain functioning enhancement is exercise.
Also, the need for face-to-face communication and relationships is still essential. The experience of having a conversation with someone when you can look into their eyes is still something we all need, and no amount of social utility networks and blog surfing can replace this.
For anyone who knows one of the 9 million people worldwide who play World of Warcraft online and has listened to them talk about playing the game, this is pretty funny.
(Cross-posted from my private practice site.)
This is a wonderfully illuminating discussion about video games and education. The discussion is between David Williamson Shaffer, author of How Computer Games Help Children Learn and James Paul Gee, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Why Video Games are Good for the Soul.
The overriding message from Shaffer and Gee: games can do many important things that traditional education can’t.
1. Games can teach critical thinking. Among the educational advantages of Shaffer’s concept of “epistemic games,” the concept calls for a greater focus on metacognition in education. Metacognition is one of the executive functions that can be learned from interacting with digital technologies, as described by Randy Kulman at Learningworksforkids.com.
2. Games can capture the natural enthusiasm of children for learning. As Shaffer and Gee emphasize in the video, games can make you care in a way that listening to a lecture or memorizing facts for a test really can’t. In another video from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, Gee talks about how playing the game “Portal” teaches all sorts of important science concepts. (He also talks about the problem of “the fourth grade slump” in education, another important issue that needs to be addressed.) In addition, Gee points out that many video games come with an online community for support, with other players of the games willing to offer mentoring to newer players. This is a feature of the gaming community that the educational community would do well to mimic.
3. Games can prepare us better for “solving real world problems.” The ability of games to simulate reality — to present students with a problem that more closely resembles a real life situation — is another reason why games can be such powerful educational tools.