Thursday, 25 April 2013

What’s all the fuss over flipped classrooms?

 What's all the fuss over flipped classrooms?
By now, many of you will be familiar with the concept of reversed responsibility learning or flipped learning. As an educator myself, the concept of assigning my students a video to watch, interpret and form questions on in lieu of my class was an enticing offer.

A classroom in which students:
  • have an awareness of the lesson topic,
  • have attempted to understand the content knowledge,
  • develop their own questions to bring back into the class,
  • and are ready to engage in active, cooperative learning from the outset.
Too good to be true?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The future of online search

How is the future of the way we use search changing?

Google glassMobile technology is already having a major effect on the way we use search and it’s constantly evolving. Take Google for example: not content with providing us with an online search engine format, they’re planning the release of Google Glass that will allow users to get information instantly about the things they want, without even having to search for it.

But with the rate of change should we be concerned that the information we view as personal is being used to profile us and filter what we see?

The future of search could have more of an impact on us than we think – here’s our guide to what it has in store for us.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Three phases of integrating technology in the classroom

Three phases of integrating technology in the classroom
Any teacher that can be replaced by technology deserves to be.
David Thornburg

Integrating technology is a challenging prospect but it doesn’t have to be. The above quote is important to bear in mind throughout this article as successful integration of technology is as much about the teacher and their ability to bring learning to life as it is about the use of technology.

The three phases of digital integration is not a best-practice checklist but rather an insight into a typical implementation plan.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

5 time-saving iOS writing apps

5 time-saving iOS writing apps

All of us at one point have been tasked with the challenging prospect of writing an essay: whether as part of a coursework project, dissertation or as a homework assignment. As you’ll know, writing ideas down, as they come to you in those moments of inspired thought, is what makes the difference between a good piece of work and something you’re proud and excited to hand in.

For many of us, brought up in the dark ages before the iPhone and the commercial use of tablets, writing on the go meant scribbling a few notes on a scrunched-up napkin or on the back of an envelope at best.

Today is very different − writers now have access to a host of options to help them capture those moments of creative thought: organising their writing, prioritising each key point succinctly and offering them an experience comparable to that of working from a desktop.

We thought we’d round up our favourite five apps that will help writers at any level add structure to their writing and support authors on the go.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Part 3: Traditional versus Kagan teaching approaches

As a teacher, questions contribute to our perception of understanding and learning. For many practitioners, once a concept has been described or an equation has been explained to students, a question will follow to test, gauge and reinforce the class’s understanding. Yet for many classes the same students will put their hands up, often the highest achievers or more confident public speakers. And once answered, the teacher is no better off. Even random selection can provide little value and insight into the class’s individual level of learning.

In this, the final article of our 3-part series on Kagan structures we delve deeper into the way that Kagan strutures are being applied, how they complement new styles of flipped classroom teaching and consider whether they serve as a replacement or supplement to traditional teaching techniques.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Revision: 5 tips for using quick classroom quizzes

5 Revision TipsRevision is never a particularly enjoyable period of the academic term for many students, regardless of whether they’re at the top of their class or are underperforming. Mock exams are a useful way to gauge student performance levels before their final accredited exam, but do these really help revision?

Examinations are regarded by many as a necessary evil: the pressure on students to perform in a two- or three-hour formal assessment places immense pressure on individuals and goes against empirical research on optimising performance. Some children, for example, are not good at recalling information or memorising particular dates and names; others feel anxious at the prospect of taking an end-of-year test. So what are the options?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Part 2: Examples of successful Kagan classroom structures

Kagan structures have spanned over 30 years of academic integration with thousands of teachers attending training workshops each year.

The development of this approach followed an extensive period of experimentation before being transferred into applied classroom teaching. The concept centres on the principle that cooperativeness is most powerfully determined by the situations in which children find themselves. On this basis, an individual can be encouraged to be extremely cooperative or extremely competitive, depending on the learning environment created.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Part 1: The benefits of Kagan classroom structures

In the USA and in small but increasing numbers of UK classrooms, teaching and learning is taking quite a different approach.

Students are not seated in rows, they are not asked to be quiet, to keep their eyes on their work – just the opposite. For proponents of alternative teaching styles, Kagan has become one of the most revolutionary learning strategies.

 Whether you’re familiar with Kagan structures or interested in learning more about alternative teaching techniques. In this article, the first of a 3-part series, we consider the uses and benefits of implementing kagan structures in your classroom, particularly in relation to boosting student engagement and learning.