4 ways students can control the pace of content delivery

Deliver the goods!

tech-rich social studiesRather than creating a unit on the Civil War, imagine working with an individual student or small group on a topic that fully engages them, but might be something you know little about. First we looked at how to find resources in multiple formats, to meet students’ different learning needs and preferences.

Now, how do we deliver those materials in a way that responds to students’ needs and also gives them some choice in how, when, and where they learn?
Continue reading

The tech-rich social studies classroom

Building a differentiation & personalization toolkit

tech-rich social studiesI was privileged recently to work with a number of pre-service teachers here at the University of Vermont. All were eager to gain access to tools and resources to help them respond to the variety of learners’ needs they will face in classrooms.

Using the Civil War as our (broad) topic, we developed a workflow for creating a tech-rich social studies unit responsive to different learners’ needs. And using ourselves as learners, we tested out our methods.

Continue reading

How does professional development affect technology integration?

The impact of PD in a 1:1 teaching environment

how does professional development affect technology integration?A trio of middle grades educators from Mill River Union High School, in Clarendon, Vermont, presented the results of their semester-long action research project, examining what role professional development plays in increasing the amount of time technology is integrated into the classroom in a 1:1 environment.

Continue reading

What are some good tools for studying hurricanes?

Science app-smashing in a 1:1 environment

iPAd how to in a 1:1Brendan Nerney, a middle grades educator at Mill River Union High School in Clarendon, Vermont, explains some of the edtech tools his students use to study hurricanes with their iPads. The students used a variety of edtech tools to produce a mock newscast documenting a hurricane and its aftermath.

Let’s look at some good tools for studying hurricanes.

Continue reading

Finding joy in the classroom

Is joy in learning an innovation?

joy in the classroomRecently, I was charmed and inspired upon seeing a first grade student’s take on setting goals to improve healthy habits on the Franklin West Supervisory Union blog. I shared this student photo (at left) with a group of teachers during a goal-setting and reflection workshop. They all smiled, especially after I asked them to think about what evidence this student might gather and share to demonstrate she has met this resolution.

Wouldn’t we all love to see that collection of “demonstrated joy” from all of our students? Of course, that would require us to create “joyous” learning opportunities or at the very least honor students’ joyous learning where ever it takes place.

Continue reading

R is for REAL Reflection

Getting real about student reflection

getting real about student reflectionAh, reflection. It may bring to mind an introspective moment, perhaps gazing into the still waters of a mountain lake and seeing a slightly puzzled person staring back. That’s not the kind of reflection we are talking about here.

Reflection in a 21st Century learning sense is a key component of personalized learning.

Reflection allows students to construct knowledge, make personal connections, and ultimately become self-driven learners. More like a trailside break on a wilderness trek than a lazy lakeside afternoon. Continue reading

N is for Nearpod

How these educators used Nearpod for professional development

nearpod for professional developmentEducators instinctively understand the engagement power of a tool that allows learners to actively participate in the learning.

For those of you new to Nearpod, this multi-platform app allows teachers to shoot out presentations — think Powerpoints or Google Slides made interactive — directly to their students’ devices.  Content slides can be interspersed with embedded polls, quizzes, and drawing tools for in-the-moment formative assessment.

Continue reading

New from Hennessey: Nearpod

Susan Bio 2014One way I know for sure an app has potential to transform classroom practice is when, with minimal introduction and little prep time, a whole team of teachers adopts it and launches its use.