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Showing posts from December, 2009

It's Not About Learning Styles... It's About Good Teaching

More evidence to support my previous post...

Education: Learning Styles Debunked from ScienceDaily.com

Idea of Learning Styles in Education Further Derided by Psychology Researchers from Change.org

This research does not mean that we shouldn't use various methods and media to deliver content to our students. It just means that we shouldn't try to limit ourselves due to the labeling process that the learning styles movement has been pushing for the past decade or so.

Good teachers use audio, video, group activities, critical thinking, and many other methods throughout their teaching. It is the combination of these that makes a teacher effective. It isn't about reaching the "auditory" or "kinesthetic" or "visual" learner. Rather, we should strive to reach ALL students through auditory, visual, and kinesthetic means. In the end, we all learn from the information we gather through each of the senses, not just one sense, as the learning styles theory w…

A Lesson for Our Students from Iran

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This is why social networking is such a powerful tool. I'm humbled to think of the power it holds. I just might share this story with my students in the morning to demonstrate how far Facebook can take them. The truth is that, aside from occasionally organizing group work, they use it for silly banter and even online bullying. It isn't that these activities aren't important for developing 21st Century social skills, it's just that social networking can do so much more!

December 7th commemorates an important day for Americans; Pearl Harbor Day. In Iran, the date has a different significance. It is 16 Azar, AKA National Student Day. An Academia.org article explains that on this day students on university campuses around Iran stage demonstrations to show solidarity for the three students who were killed while protesting the Shah in 1953. Traditionally, these protests have included some anti-American sentiment, but this year was different.

Iranian university student protest…

BACKchannel, feedBACK, bounce BACK

BACKchannel
Steve Anderson (@web20classroom) published a blog post recently about the role of backchannel at professional conferences.

So what does the term "backchannel" mean? Wikipedia explains:

The term "backchannel" generally refers to online conversation about the topic or the speaker. Occasionally backchannel provides audience members a chance to fact-check the presentation.

Twitter is also widely used today by audiences to create backchannels at technology conferences. When audience members add an event hashtag to their tweets (for example, #w2e was the hashtag used for the Web 2.0 Expo New York in 2009), anyone can run a Twitter search to review all the backchannel tweets related to that event.


As mentioned above, Twitter is the most common backchannel tool. (If you're on Twitter, you can find me at @KerryHawk02.) Critics of backchannel discussions contend that they are rude and disruptive. That is the primary focus of Anderson's blog post, although

Don't Diss Interdisc

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Don't Diss Interdisc













After three colleagues and I presented a mock grant application in our graduate class this evening, which focused on "Innovation Through Technology and Interdisciplinary Studies," I really spent some time thinking about the value of interdisciplinary work, especially at the high school level. Accordingly, I decided to do some further reading on the topic.

Michael Streich, a teacher, historian, and experienced traveler, wrote a short and well-thought-out article on Suite101.com. The benefits to the teachers involved are notable:

Collaborative teaching exercises enrich the curriculum and allow teachers to share in a meaningful experience, bringing together diverse expertise and enhancing collegial respect.

The benefits of interdisciplinary work to students are even more important. Shelly Blake-Plock (AKA TeachPaperless) wrote a blog post in February about improvisation in the classroom. He explained that sometimes the kids, when permitted to go on a tange…

Connected... But Not Making Connections

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Our students, whether we like it or not, are VERY connected. They are connected via Facebook and MySpace, text message and IM, and even email in some cases (although they view email as a tool for those of us who are "old"). But what does "being connected" mean? Are they learning anything from these connections? Have they mastered any information or skills through all of this networking?

I recently read two different blogs with interesting graphics that got me thinking about this.

First, Dean Shareski (an edu-blogger I have referenced in past posts) wrote Why Audience Matters. He quoted a member of his PLN, Chris Lehmann, who asked, "When having audience is no longer novel, simply having one is no longer motivating. We still must help kids have something powerful to say."

He illustrated the point with a cartoon by Hugh MacLeod (MacLeod doesn't always use kid-friendly language...just a warning).













The second blog I read that mentioned similar ideas is called