Showing posts with label Student Engagement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Student Engagement. Show all posts

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worried About Students Being Off-task? Watch This

I've seen Alfie Kohn vs. Dwight Schrute floating around the edu-blog-o-sphere for the last few weeks, but I finally took a few minutes to watch it today after Tara Weegar posted it on Facebook.

Almost every time I talk at schools or conferences about 1:1 computing environments, I'm asked questions along the lines of "how do you make sure the students are staying on task when you can't see their screens?" For the last few years my response to this has been, "I try to make sure that the assignments I give are engaging." If I design lessons and give students assignments that are engaging, the instances of students going off to a website or task that isn't productive is low. I'm not perfect and sometimes my lessons and assignments aren't as engaging as I hoped they'd be. Those are the times when students get off task.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thank You for Your Patience

As many of you know, tomorrow some of my students and I are presenting at the MLTI Student Tech Team Conference at the University of Maine. This week I've been scrambling to get everything prepared, including student preparation, sub plans, etc. Therefore, I haven't been able to blog as much as I normally would during the week. Next week I'll be back to producing at my typical rate of 5-6 blog posts per day.

I have some great new things that I'm looking forward to sharing with you over the weekend and throughout next week. Here are some things to look for in the coming days: new Google Earth/ Google Maps features, new video conferencing tools, new educational games for health and science, a review of the OLPC XO laptop from the perspective of American high school students, and of course a summary and reflection on my experience at the MLTI Student Tech Team Conference.

If you're going to be at the conference tomorrow, please stop by the presentation that my students and I are giving. You can read the presentation description here. Later this evening I'll post the slide show that we'll be sharing tomorrow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bab.La - Learn a Language Through Sports

Bab.La takes an interesting approach to learning a language. BabLa features a translation dictionary for seven languages including Chinese. The difference between Babla and many other language learning websites is in the categorization of terms. Babla features a large selection of words and phrases used in sports. Babla also offers more traditional translations. Babla is a new website so the selection of terms and categories of terms is not as extensive as other services, but it invites user generated content to expand the website.

Applications for Education
Babla's sports related words and phrases may be a tool for engaging reluctant students in the study of foreign language. The translation of Olympic terms to Chinese would be a nice complement to the study of Chinese culture or the Olympics in general.
The quizzes on Babla provide visual clues to students as they practice translations and vocabulary.

Friday, May 9, 2008

News and Games = NewsWare Arcade

MSNBC offers a new selection of online games related to the news. I'm not a person that spends much time playing video games, but these games have me hooked. The NewsBreaker game is a simple game in which players use the keyboard to keep a ball in play while breaking blocks that contain news headlines. Each broken brick reveals a headline which is linked to the actual news story. If there is a headline the player wants to investigate, simply hit the pause button and use the mouse to read the story.

Applications for Education
NewsBreaker and the other games in the NewsWare Arcade can be a fun way to get students to look at the news. During a study hall period yesterday, I had a couple students try NewsBreaker and they really enjoyed the game. If you have a group of reluctant students playing NewsBreaker for a few minutes may be a way to introduce them to news stories.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Increase Student Engagement With Widgets

Like many tech oriented teachers, I maintain a blog for my students with my students. Blogs are great tools for keeping students and parents informed of important information for your class. Blogs are also great for continuing classroom discussions beyond the classroom. As good as your class blog is, there are always going to be students or parents who don't read it for one reason or another. The challenge as a teacher is to increase student and parent engagement with your classroom blog.

This is where widgets come in. Almost every major, mainstream, sports and news website has free widgets that you can embed into a blog. Putting one of these widgets into your class blog, might give the disinterested student a reason beyond academics to check your class blog more often. If the experience of checking a class blog is fun, perhaps those disinterested students will to check it more often. Anything that increases student engagement in academics is a good thing. Adding a widget is a quick and easy process so it's worth trying.

Here's a widget from ESPN that serves the latest top sports stories.