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In these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.
Today’s tip: #102–Doc Saved Over? Try This
Category: Google Apps
Sub-category: MS Office, Problem-solving
Q: My students often save a blank document over their document. Is there any way to retrieve the file?
A: Absolutely. If you’re on Google Docs, go to Revisions. Select the version of the document you know was correct and restore it.
On Feb. 1, 2018, World Read Aloud Day celebrates the pure joy of oral reading with kids of all ages. Created by LitWorld, past years have found more than 1 million people in 100 countries joining together to enjoy the power and wonder of reading aloud in groups or individually, at school as part of classroom activities, or home, and discovering what it means to listen to a story told through the voice of another.
For many, this is a rare opportunity to hear the passion of a well-told story and fall in love with tales where hearing them reaches listeners on a level nothing else can. Think back to your experiences. You probably sat with an adult, in their lap or curled up in bed. The way they mimicked the voices in the story, built drama, and enthused with you over the story and characters made you want to read more stories on your own. This is a favorite activity not just for pre-readers, but beginning and accomplished readers because it’s not about reading the book; it’s about experiencing it through the eyes of a storyteller.
Somehow, as lives for both the adults and children have gotten busier, as digital devices have taken over, as parents turned to TVs or iPads to babysit kids while they do something else, we’ve gotten away from this most companionable of activities. World Read Aloud Day is an opportunity to get back to it.
Here are some classroom activities designed to do just that.
Swiss-based Cikumas makes the creation and implementation of virtual classrooms quick, intuitive, and without the steep learning curve that so often accompanies LMSs (Learning Management Systems). The minimalist nature of this ecosystem makes it easy for students to complete their work and teachers to engage with them. In the crowded field of K-16 LMSs, Cikumas offers a refreshing philosophy that online learning is about engagement between participants facilitated by the automation of assignments, scheduling, and classwork submittal. It encourages teachers to place themselves at the heart of the learning, using its tools to make that a reality.
It’s easy to get started with Cikumas:
Collecting class data, asking for feedback on activities, and pushing out quizzes used to be laboriously accomplished by passing out paper documents, collecting them as they dribbled in, and then collating the data into a spreadsheet where you could sort and shake to come up with the useful information.
These days, all of those tasks are accomplished much more easily with one of the many free/fee webtools designed to create and curate information. Uses include but are not limited to:
Besides the ease of use and their digital nature, students love forms because they are anonymous. This means when forms are used to collect feedback, input, and projects, students can participate at their own pace, as quietly as they’d like, with only the teacher being aware of their identity.
When students — and adults — think of learning to keyboard, it usually generates images of rote drills where you sweat over a keyboard as you’re graded on speed and accuracy.
Trying to change that image is what has driven many teachers to online sites but these too often teach in an automated, undifferentiated way — logon, do exercises, repeat — that bores some and doesn’t work for others.
The feedback I often get on these sorts of sites is that students do improve speed and accuracy but only on the site. When they apply the knowledge to authentic situations (like typing a book report or an essay), students return to hunt-and-peck, watching their hands, and hating what they’re doing.
There’s a better way to learn keyboarding: Blended Learning. When I teach keyboarding, I use a variety of approaches, none too long and never too much, so each remains fresh and challenging rather than boring and repetitive. Here are some of the methods I mix up in my classes:
It’s no secret many parents are frustrated with public schools. Are kids learning to think or just to pass tests? Are they spending classroom time wisely or just doing what’s always been done? Are we developing lifelong learners or simply kids who can’t wait to graduate?
If this describes you, you’re not alone in your concerns, but there’s hope. Consider a pedagogy that transcends rote memorization and the stock drills often found in today’s classrooms, expects critical thinking that teaches how to learn anything — not just school subjects. It’s called a “Growth Mindset”. In an Edsurge article by Rupa Gupta, former Redesign Administrator at Burnett Middle School in San Jose, Calif., she summarized the issue like this:
“In a recent national survey, 97 percent of teachers agreed that all students can and should have a growth mindset, and that same number said fostering a growth mindset is an important part of a teacher’s job. Yet only 50 percent said they have adequate solutions and strategies to shift mindset.”
So nearly everyone agrees this type of cerebral approach is important to real learning but few know how to make it happen.
Let me back up a moment and define “Growth Mindset” more clearly. Most people believe basic human qualities like intelligence and talent are fixed traits: nature supersedes nurture. Kids are born with the characteristics that will mold their future. They are good at math or they aren’t. They can throw a football well or not. As kids grow, they figure out what they can and can’t do and adjust learning and life as needed to these truths. They come to believe that understanding and adapting to this process equates to success.
In a Growth Mindset, people believe ability can be developed through dedication and hard work. The cerebral and physical traits they were born with are just the starting point. Students are responsible for setting the patterns and strategies that allow them to succeed, by evaluating what they can do at any given point and making a plan for learning everything else.
Vicki Davis is a teacher, author, podcaster, tweeter, blogger, international presenter, and so much more. I admire her podcasts and posts so was honored when she invited me to chat with her on her podcast, the 10-Minute Teacher. The topic is one dear to my heart: How to use technology to teach writing in creative ways.
Click the image below to access her post where you can listen to the podcast or read the transcript–whichever works better for you. Or scroll down a bit more and you’ll find the podcast embedded:
mysimpleshow, digital tool of choice in the explainer video market, has done it again. They’ve come out with a great change that will make their explainer videos even easier to use in a classroom. mysimpleshow “Classroom” offers the full variety of design functions with a focus on collaborative learning: Up to 50 students can create joint video projects that promote their creativity and teamwork. Previously, a price tag was attached but the creators of simpleshow have decided to make the “Classroom” free of charge, in addition to the free basic account.
Here’s an explainer video about the mysimpleshow Classroom:
About simpleshow: simpleshow is the market leader for professional explainer video production and so far has produced several thousand clips in more than 50 languages worldwide. With offices in Luxembourg, Berlin, Stuttgart, London, Zurich, Miami, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, more than 150 employees serve customers around the globe. simpleshows explain complex topics in short, entertaining, and easy-to-understand videos; and its methodology is trusted by major blue-chip corporations worldwide. Today, the company offers a variety of formats, from simple online videos to innovative and interactive online courses, and its online video maker mysimpleshow.
Anyone who attends online classes or any sort of remote learning knows it’s different from traditional classes. To thrive in this environment requires a mindset that appreciates the pros and adapts to the challenges. The folks over at San Diego Virtual School (SDVS) have put together a list of quick productivity tips on how to excel in this increasingly-popular learning environment:
Studying and working from home will share a lot of overlap when it comes to staying productive. It’s a completely different environment than being in a traditional school and it will require a much different (and stronger) level of discipline to stay successful in your studies.
So what can you do to stay on top of your lessons and ensure that you’ll be productive throughout your years of education when going remote?
Studying remotely means you get to customize your study space in any way you want. It’s important to have a space that you’re comfortable in, but you also want it to be as clean, organized and clutter-free as possible. This helps keep your mind clear, and allows you to avoid unwanted distractions.
If at all possible, try not to have anything on your desk that isn’t related to your studies.