August has been declared Connected Educator Month by the US Department of Education, and we’ve been actively following the conversation through the first part of the month on Twitter (#CE12).
According to the DOE, the idea behind Connected Educator Month is:
“Online communities and learning networks already help hundreds of thousands of educators by providing ‘just in time’ access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration, and by reducing isolation. Expanding participation will allow more people to realize the full benefits of this arena for professional learning and collaboration,” (read the full press release).
To commemorate, we thought we’d share five easy ways for you to observe:
Before joining Blackboard, I was a teacher, and it will always be in my blood. That is why I am fascinated with the “flipped classroom.” This model has been around for quite some time, but has people talking. The flipped classroom model has students watch pre-recorded lectures at home in preparation for the next day’s assignments, and then students complete “homework” assignments in-class. Teachers are incorporating technology into their classrooms by compiling pre-recorded lectures online or on DVD’s that students watch on laptops or other devices with internet/DVD access.
Woodland Park High School in Colorado made an important observation that shifted their thinking when they recognized “the time when students really need educators to be physically present is when they get stuck on homework questions and need individual help.” This realization initiated their switch to the flipped classroom model. Not only did it initiate change, but they also have seen a continual increase in test scores since they switched to the model.
Time and resources are growing scarce in K-12 education. Many successful programs are losing budget money and are not getting it back (see these stories about schools in Chicago
, Fort Worth
, and Las Vegas
). These stories are disappointing for teachers, students and families; however, the commonality that unites each article is adaptability. Educators, students, and parents are adapting to their circumstances, no matter how abysmal. How do we keep teachers in their jobs, cut costs of individualized education, and promote student success?
Blackboard has partnered with Learning.com
in order to provide free (and fee-based) education resources to make students more successful without breaking the bank for school districts. A great lesson should be focused on the student. The teacher should have time to teach the class and help with individual students’ needs. We want to focus on student success rather than the amount it will cost. With the new Learning.com content portal building block in Blackboard, educators will be able to teach students by using quality lesson plans from premier providers (NASA, Smithsonian, USA Today…) as well as other educators. Learning.com is happy to share their vast catalog of quality resources in K-12 education with Blackboard Learn. These sources are accessible and easily implemented into Blackboard course plans. What is the point of reinventing the wheel if there are already great educational resources out there?
But the 200,000+ resources aren’t even the best part of the Learning.com building block. The most helpful aspects of the partnership are easy organization, implementation of Learning.com content into course tools, and catered lesson plans for the active learner. Teachers will be able to easily organize numerous lesson plans and information while accommodating the technological needs of students born in the millennial generation. Some of the features that cater to the active learner include online quizzes, multimedia, and textbook content. Educators will also be able to effortlessly track student progress. Find out more about how our partnership with Learning.com
will help students engage in their coursework and give K-12 teachers quality resources for the classroom.
Online video sharing sites are an excellent resource for the kind of active teaching centerpieces
that make a classroom great. But if participation and direct engagement
are the keys to the effective use of technology in the classroom today, then maybe something a little more interactive is necessary to keep active learners motivated, stimulated and excited.
One innovative way to spice up the audio-visual aspects of your learning environment is to move away from viewing video in the classroom and move towards creating it.
These types of projects can combine a number of great take-away lessons for the students into one fun project – and better yet, it works across learning levels! These cooperative projects are excellent ways to:
- Encourage ownership & community collaboration. Group projects work best when every member feels like they hold a piece to the puzzle – and video projects have enough components (like planning, capturing content, editing) that everyone can be equally involved. These social learning exercises can be easily facilitated by tools and content management systems like Blackboard Learn.
The following post is written by guest blogger Leslie Fetzer, Occupational Course of Study Biology Teacher at North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and the 2012 iNACOL/SREB National Online Teacher of the Year.
I have always been of the mind that giving a textbook to students with the instruction to read is not teaching. This is even truer online. Ebooks have their place, but not as the foundation of a good online course. Online courses should allow students to see, hear, read, and experience content in multiple ways. New Web 2.0 tools are popping up at an exciting pace giving teachers an array of options for presenting content through different media. With so much available, it can sometimes be tempting to search for or buy in to what is already out there, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes what is out there may not be exactly right for the content or for the student. In fact, it can often take longer to search for and preview pre-existing content versus creating your own content personalized for individual students.
Here are just a few tips for developing a good online course: