Archive for November 2011

Student Conceptions driving Instruction

One of the many great ways to transform our learning environment through iPad integration is in the way of gathering real time student artifacts and using it to direct face to face classroom discussions. Real time response systems, clickers, or classroom response systems have been around for awhile now and used to be tied to a remote control type device.

Since then this instantaneous response system has evolved to web-based response systems and iPad compatible apps. Using these sites and apps gives every student a voice in responding to questions and provides teachers real time feedback based directly on student understanding. Imagine how this can transform our face to face time with students?

Consider a few uses: students complete a lecture or video then navigate to a Google form and answer five questions based off the content. The teacher can pull up the spreadsheet of responses and see immediately what conceptions students are forming and can scaffold instruction accordingly.

Or perhaps students are directed to the teachers Poll Everywhere site at the beginning of class for a 5 question warm up based off of the previous day's content. In real time responses are aggregate on the screen giving the teacher data and understanding of what their students are understanding, from here teachers can regroup their class to spend more time with those who need it and allow those who don't need reinforcing the opportunity to work ahead independently.

There are many great ways to collect student artifacts and use them to drive your instructional time Survey Monkey, Question Press, Poll Daddy, and thatquiz are all web-site based tools that offer some sort of free or educational plan. As well there are iPad/iPod apps that provide similar experiences and student data. Try using one of the above sites or find a great app and see what it tells you about your students understanding. Or, even better, show the class results to your students (in a safe way) to allow them to see what they are and are not understanding. Let their conceptions drive your instruction and their learning.

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Students using Showme to... well, show me and the World.

My friend Kip introduced me to the Showme App this summer and right away I feel in love with the ability to capture screen annotations and voice narrations as the user is demonstrating something on their iPad.
Now in class I can demonstrate solving and graphing an inequality using Showme, and instead of not being able to hear or see that explanation again, the captured vodcast can easily be linked or embedded in a classroom website for later viewing and reviewing.
As my familiarity with the app grew I thought "wouldn't it be great for students to use this to help their classmates with difficult problems and demonstrate to me what they truly know." We distributed the free app to students and literally watched and listened as they showed me and their classmates what they knew.
However, an interesting thing happened the other day. Being curious about how I could use the showme website to support student learning I started clicking through some topics. After selecting Learn by Topic > Geometry I was blown away by what I saw. Here it is:

You see up until now students have solved problems for basically two people: themselves and their teacher. But now students are solving problems for an audience of millions. When I projected the website for them the other day and showed them how their works was showing up in just two clicks of the mouse their mouths dropped. They were blown away by the fact that their work was published and freely available for anyone to view and use. I wish I could have take a picture of their faces you could see the sense of ownership and pride in their work take on new meaning.

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