03/15/2012

NEXT POST
Learning Uninterrupted A growing trend in education over the last two decades has been exploring ways to use educational technology to maximize classroom time and extend learning opportunities beyond the classroom. The idea of a “ubiquitous learning environment,” where students can learn at any time and in any place, has long been a dream of many educators and goes back over one hundred years—correspondence courses, phonographs, radio, filmstrips, and television have all been re-purposed for learning. Today, with high-speed Internet and devices like smart phones and tablet computers more commonly in the hands of students, educators are closer than ever to realizing the dream of the anytime/anyplace classroom. Despite the (very real) digital divide, schools increasingly are providing students with mobile computing devices to take learning from the school into the home. Many teachers already take advantage of free online services that provide rich and engaging educational opportunities. For example, the Khan Academy provides video vignettes on a plethora of educational topics, and MIT hosts a wide selection of online courses. But today’s educators are not just looking to capitalize on these types of resources, but also to transform homework time into an extended classroom experience. McREL’s own research in the areas of Homework and Practice supports the idea that learning outside of the classroom has a high (and measurable) impact on student learning and achievement. Most recently, the ubiquitous classroom has been getting attention due to the “flipped classroom” movement started by two Colorado teachers, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, from...
PREVIOUS POST
Quiet in the classroom Imagine being 13 years old and having a social studies class in which you and your classmates learn cooperatively 100 percent of the time, and no one ever works alone . . . ever. Depending on your personality, this could be your favorite class or your worst nightmare. This was the learning environment one teacher created for his students after attending a professional development seminar on the benefits of cooperative learning. Upon returning to the school, he physically made over his classroom, creating stations for small groups of students to work together every single day. Perhaps he was so inspired by a dynamic instructor that he couldn’t resist converting to a new teaching approach; perhaps he viewed it as a way not to have to deal with the time-consuming planning that good teaching often requires; or he may have viewed it simply as a fail-proof way for students to learn. Whatever his instructional motivations, it most likely was the way he himself preferred to learn. However, it was not the preference of at least one of his students, who began to dread attending his class and, as a result, learned very little social studies that year. An insight as to why and how some students choose to opt out of cooperative learning is revealed in Susan Cain’s book Quiet, which posits that our culture, in general, and our schools, in particular, undervalue certain types of individuals, specifically, introverts. She contends that the focus on group learning in schools ignores the...

Recent Comments