Education Update #15

Education News

Word Cloud Generators You Have Probably Never Tried

We’ve mentioned most of these before – in a post from way back when – so I won’t go into too much detail about each individual one, but we’ve added a few notable ones to the list. (Of note, the list is in no particular order). The vast majority of them work the same: plug your text into the box, select a few options, and you’ve got yourself a word cloud….read more

Characteristics of A Digitally Competent Teacher

What does being a ‘digitally competent’ teacher mean? Does it mean using laptops, smartphones, or tablets in your classroom? Does it mean finding new and interesting ways to use those devices along with apps and web tools? What level of expertise with technology constitutes ‘competent’? Or does the concept encompass more than that?…read more

Twenty Simple Ideas To Improve Student Motivation

The best lessons, books, and materials in the world won’t get students excited about learning and willing to work hard if they’re not motivated. Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is a key factor in the success of students at all stages of their education, and teachers can play a pivotal role in providing and encouraging that motivation in their students….read more

The Courage To Think Critically

For educators, as a term critical thinking is similar to words like democracy, global, and organic: You hear people use them all the time, but no one seems to understand what they mean. If we can, for the purpose of the here and now, agree that critical thinking means something along the lines of thinking to produce judgment, then we’re already two thirds of the way to making some kind of new meaning ourselves here….read more

The Paradigm Shift: Four Goals Of 21st Century Learning

As academic standards shift, technology evolves, and student habits change, schools are being forced to consider new ways of framing curriculum and engaging students in the classroom, and project-based learning is among the most successful and powerful of these possibilities….read more

Fifty Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think

Using the right questions creates powerful, sometimes multiple answers and discussions. Aristotle said that he asked questions in response to other people’s views, while Socrates focused on disciplined questioning to get to the truth of the matter. Ultimately questions spark imagination, conjure emotions, and create more questions. The questions asked by a teacher or professor are sometimes more glaringly valuable than the information transferred to the students. Those questions spark a thought, which leads to a fiercely independent search for information….read more

Education Phrases We Need To Stop Using

Being in education long enough, you’ll begin to hear certain words and phrases that bother you on some level. Some are obvious—“smart” bothers a lot of educators, and for good reason. Others you’re not sure why they grind your gears, but they do. (I know, right?) So I thought I’d pile a slew of them together so we all could be annoyed together….read more

When High School Students Struggle with Textbook Reading

Many reports and research studies have documented the adolescent reading challenge — too many students are unable to learn and build new knowledge from the texts used in their subject matter classrooms. In addition to the challenges of general comprehension, reading in a subject area presents additional challenges that many students are unable to tackle on their own….read more

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play

An American teacher in Helsinki questioned the national practice of giving 15 minute breaks each hour—until he saw the difference it made in his classroom….read more

Flip This: Bloom’s Taxonomy Should Start with Creating

I think the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is wrong. I know this statement sounds heretical in the realms of education, but I think this is something we should rethink, especially since it is so widely taught to pre-service teachers. I agree that the taxonomy accurately classifies various types of cognitive thinking skills. It certainly identifies the different levels of complexity. But its organizing framework is dead wrong. Here’s why….read more

To Advance Education, We Must First Reimagine Society

Why haven’t education reform efforts amounted to much? Because they start with the wrong problem, says John Abbott, director of the 21st Century Learning Initiative. Because disaffection with the education system reflects a much deeper societal malaise, it’s imperative that we first figure out what kind of world we really want: a world populated by responsible adults who thrive on interdependence and community, or a world of “customers” who feel dependent on products, services, and authority figures, and don’t take full responsibility for their actions?…read more

Beyond Knowing Facts, How Do We Get to a Deeper Level of Learning?

As educators across the country continue to examine the best ways of teaching and learning, a new lexicon is beginning to emerge that describes one particular approach — deeper learning. The phrase implies a rich learning experience for students that allows them to really dig into a subject and understand it in a way that requires more than just memorizing facts….read more

What Would Be a Radically Different Vision of School?

here’s no shortage of different opinions about how the education system should adapt to a shifting world and a future with unknown demands, but for the most part, only two dominant narratives of education reform have emerged….read more

One Hundred Ways To Use Twitter In Education, By Degree Of Difficulty

Twitter may have started off as a fun social media site for keeping up with friends and sharing updates about daily life, but it’s become much more than that for many users over the past few years as the site has evolved and grown. These days, Twitter is a powerhouse for marketing, communication, business, and even education, letting people from around the world work together, share ideas, and gain exposure….read more

The Characteristics Of High-Performing Classrooms

Instructional design is the strategic creation of learning experiences through intentional planning, sequencing, and data-based revision of learning. This process includes both the ways content is accessed, and the learning needs and objectives (and how they are determined) themselves. With that in mind, we’ve created the following 32 characteristics of higher-level instructional planning to help you spot the holes in your teaching….read more

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