Showing posts from September, 2013

How Do You Give #Directions? - The Medium is the Message (Part 1)

What do you do when your directions are the barrier between your students understanding or not understanding how to do something? It's a good question to think about. Several years ago, there was a study conducted by California State University (Heyward). Students were given two sets of directions and asked to perform the same task. The first set of directions contained detailed text based instructions. The second set contained text directions with visual representations. Students performing tasks with the visual representations with text instructions performed better. It reminds me of the late Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, who argued that the medium affects the way that we absorb information. In other words, the “medium is the message.” If we are striving to make lessons accessible to ALL students, then we may have to rethink the ways that we provide instructions. I've talked about how I have addressed this  topic  a few times, but I would like to devote a series

Creating a #UDL Toolbox: Tools to Overcome Barriers (Part 3)

So I have been giving a lot of thought to the idea of creating a "UDL Toolbox" for my room . Last week, I described several ways I integrate different presentation tools into my classroom. You may want to see my growing list in my Symbaloo webmix . Feel free to use any of these tools and to offer me suggestions! What do you do when students are not very comfortable with using the new technologies or with content in class? This is a common barrier that occurs in any classroom, regardless of whether you use technology or not. You need to think of some supports to help your students overcome these learning barriers, so that they can fully participate in their learning. I want to offer several common barriers students face and some tools to help them "get-it." Barrier / Excuse: "I don't understand" This is a common excuse that you hear from students. Maybe they legitimately don't understand how to do a homework assignment and need your help.

Creating a #UDL Toolbox: My Presentation Tools (Part 2)

Helping our students find the right tools for the job is so important! When you are providing students with a "toolbox" of tools, you want to think of providing students with different ways to represent concepts and show what they know. If you remember my post last week, I had mentioned the story of one teacher, who requires her students to learn how to use specific tools from August to December. In January, she begins having her students use the best tool for the job. Today I want to focus on presentation tools that I am going to introduce from September to December. What's in my toolbox? Prezi - this is a free web-based program that has been around for awhile; however, it is becoming easier to use and create web-based presentations. Students can use it individually or use it to create collaborative presentations. Prezi can be used on any device and anywhere there is an Internet connection. I also like that it automatically saves your presentation in the "c

Creating a #UDL Toolbox: Expert Learning Begins with a Toolbox (Part 1)

No matter what the subject being taught in my classroom, I have the same goal: create expert learners. When I use the term "expert learners," I am referring to the intentional way I develop students to understand how they learn best, how to work with others, and how to know what is the best tool for the job. Finding and understanding what the right tool for the job is easier said than done. It is one thing to know that tools exist, but a completely different thing to understand why you should use a certain tool. This is the difference between digitally fluency and digital literacy. I want my students to have digital fluency or understanding what tool to use and why. UDL and Technology When I first learned about Universal Design for Learning several years ago, I read an article from Dave Edyburn, Ph.D. that stated that although technology and UDL were not the same, "technology (was) essential for implementing UDL." Although there tons of high-tech tools out

A Tool for Any Interactive Classroom: Triptico

I love getting new ideas from other educators because there is so much going on in the world of educational technology, that it is hard to keep up! Plus you all have the best ideas! This week's "App of the Week" and cool idea come to us from Angela Rutschke @ARutschke . Angela sent me a URL to a really cool desktop App called Triptico .  There are two versions -a free and paid "plus" version. If you are a creative educator, then you will definitely want to download this App because it provides free templates of interactive resources for students. I tried out a few of the games and really enjoyed how easy they were to create and use. You very easily could use this with an interactive whiteboard to engage students in different ways: Manipulatives- There are plenty of free manipulatives to use for your classroom. For example, magnets allow you to create magnets made of words, sentences, or equations. Then Triptico breaks each part into a separate magnet for stu