Today I encountered quite an interesting tweet from one of the amazing and exceptional teachers of El Paso Independent School District, Ms. Stormy Daniels. Here is a screenshot of her tweet. Upon reading it, I got pretty intrigued and I, of course, had to read more!
The link led to a short video about "The Critical Mass" by Damen Lopez who is the founder of the No Excuses University. Damen continues to inspire educators in making intentional, positive and proactive impacts in student learning and teacher attitudes and behaviors. Damen shares that many of our teachers today are faced with numerous challenges, whether in the form of class size, budget constraints, lack or limited availability of resources, not being paid enough, long work hours, etc. These are part of our current reality as educators. However, these reasons should not hinder or stop us from continuing what needs to be done, and that is, to work together and provide every student with authentic and innovative learning experiences based on real-world scenarios. As educators, we should not allow "naysayers" and "non-believers of true and meaningful teaching" to stop us. As a critical mass, we need to demonstrate and model being LIFE CHANGERS and be ON BOARD in making a purposeful difference every student's life!
Below is an excerpt of the online video on, "The Critical Mass". You can follow Damen Lopez in Twitter @noexcusesu
When speaking of an Active Learning environment, one of the ideas that come to mind would be the design and layout of the classroom, where students have spaces for small or big group collaboration, whole group discussion, individual work, easy transition from one learning style to another, brainstorming, and many more. There had been discussions of changing the traditional classroom (sitting in neat and organized rows that are mostly facing the teacher and/or the front of a board) into flexible learning spaces that would encourage students to share, work in teams, and develop better communication and collaboration skills. However, the challenge lies on how today's schools can make this change without creating burdens in their budget and current building structures.
The infographic below showcases the different ways of designing and creating an Active Learning classroom. It is quite obvious that the infographic includes modern style seats that can be easily rolled or moved, specially-designed desks and mobile storage cabinets, to name a few. After reading the infographic below, here are some questions that I would like you to think about:
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics
This presentation is made possible by Ashley Callahan, Hawaii Department of Education, HI and Stephanie Catania, Chaminade University, HI. In their presentation, both presenters aim to share what BAM is and how BAM supports teaching best practices, particularly in the area of differentiation. BAM stands for Benchmark Assessment Map and it focuses on increasing student engagement through providing choices in student learning. Here are some highlights of their presentation:
This presentation was made possible by Jill Ackers and Dayna Laur, Project ARC, during the TCEA 2018 Conference. It was refreshing to listen to two presenters who spoke about the importance of unpacking instructional design in order for students to learn, and reflecting as to what our schools would look like in 2030.
The presentation began with challenging the audience to portray different scenarios, a surprise free scenario, an optimistic scenario, a pessimistic scenario, a disaster scenario and a transformation scenario as to our take regarding the impact and relevance of technology integration in student success, student learning, and teacher growth and development. It was interesting to listen to what each other have to say, based on the given scenarios, and what made it more interesting is the evidences that each participant/audience has provided with his/her statement. This is one activity that I would like to try during one of my meetings!
As an ever-progressing race, we humans are always looking for something new, different, innovative, or better to support and serve our continuous desire for growth and development, meaningful insights, and purposeful contributions to society. As educators, it is in our nature to strive for something better, more improved, and if not, to change something that may not be working anymore.
Many of us are also aware that our current education system is challenged with staying relevant with the fast-paced and constantly-changing demands of society, particularly in ensuring students to be prepared and ready to serve the human race. For example, the technology realm is one of the common areas where change is happening too quickly and progressively, which have either been received positively or negatively by people. In doing so, the evolution of the web brings about great anticipation as to what students need to learn and how educators can best prepare them for the future.
With this in mind, I will ask you the same question that was asked during this presentation. That is, "When you enter into a new or not so new learning experience, how will you rewire your way of thinking that will lead to the transformation of teaching and student learning?" More of my notes on this presentation are shown below.
There have been many discussions, research-based or opinion-based, with regard to the definition of active learning that it has transformed into one of the "household" verbiage in education. Some educational professionals think that active learning is defined as a process of engaging students or learners to achieve the different levels of learning (i.e. as per Bloom's Taxonomy). For example, being in an "active learning" classroom would demonstrate lessons that are being delivered in a more student-centered instruction rather than a teacher-centered instruction. This would also mean that students are collaborating with each other (i.e. small groups, by pairs) and developing meaningful connections through the facilitation of the teacher. Likewise, the expectation from students is to go beyond being the receivers of instruction. Rather, they are to evolve into being effective and relevant producers (i.e. creating apps, providing solutions to existing problems, having foresight to develop future solutions and ideas, being able to work with colleagues interdependently, being able to adapt in different environments, having the initiative to find solutions and to get through barriers and challenges). For this reason, students will be able to develop higher order thinking, critical and analytical skills, problem solving skills, meaningful collaboration, and consistent desire to learn, to name a few.
As part of understanding the different facets of active learning, many have connected blended learning with active learning. If you are to ask me if both are the same, I will say that we all have a slight difference in our perspectives and understanding of the two. Personally, both have similarities, and yet, some will argue that one is a component of the other. However, I don't think that this should be the sole or primary contention. Instead, we should focus on how active learning can be implemented using a variety of styles, including blended learning, project-based learning, problem-based learning, personalized learning, and the like.
Below is an example of a Blended Learning Infographic from http://elearninginfographics.com/blended-learning-k12-classrooms-infographic/ that can help explain how teachers are using technology in a K-12 blended learning environment: