Groundbreaking news on the use of mobile technology in education. via Eduware, Inc.

Ten Ideas for Interactive Learning

Any teacher, whether teaching kindergarten or high-ed, knows that keeping students interested and involved in their lessons is vital to learning. Kevin Yee, a professor at the University of Central Florida, authored “Interactive Techniques” in which he shares techniques teachers can implements and gives the following advice:

He cautioned teachers not to fear new methods because of possible failure: “I think it’s also OK if something is attempted and it doesn’t work. It’s OK to just be up front with the students and say, ‘Well no, this experiment didn’t work—let’s move on.’”

One of Yee’s techniques, featured bellow, is one of our favorites:

Test Tournament: Divide the class into at least two groups and announce a competition for most points on a practice test. Let students study a topic together and then give your quiz, tallying points. After each round, let students study the next topic together before quizzing again. The points should be carried over from round to round. “The student impulse for competition will focus their engagement onto the material itself,” the paper states.

What is one of our favorite ways to implement this interactive technique? Having students play EduRace of course! EduRace is part of ClickerSchool and can be used on mobile devices or with our clickers. We recently released it as an Apple app as well—ClickerSchool Virtual Clicker

Want to learn more about interactive learning? Head over to the source here



How to Design a Beautiful iPad Lesson

Gregory Swanson, from Apps in Education, brings you another great post, this one on how to create the best lesson on your iPad. 

iPad Lesson

For more information, read the source here



7 Qualities of Highly Effective Teachers

Linc Fisch, an educator from Honolulu, HI has shared her article, ‘7 Qualities of Highly Effective Teachers’ which was originally published in The Journal of Staff and Program, & Organizational Development. A selection from the article appears below:

  1. Highly effective teachers care. They care about their students, their work, and themselves. They treat others with dignity; they respect others’ integrity. They give high priority to benefiting others. They affirm others’ strengths and beings; it’s a kind of love.
  2. Highly effective teachers share. They share their knowledge, insights, and viewpoints with others. Their willingness to share is a way of life for them. They don’t withhold information for personal gain.
  3. Highly effective teachers learn. They continually seek truth and meaning. They seek to discover new ideas and insights. They reflect on their experiences and incorporate the learning into their lives. They are willing to upgrade their skills. They continue growing and developing throughout their lives.
  4. Highly effective teachers create. They are willing to try the new and untested, to take risks for worthy educational outcomes. Anything worth doing is worth failing at. They are not discouraged by an occasional failure; they reframe the error as an opportunity to do better as a result of the experience.
  5. Highly effective teachers believe. They have faith in students. They trust students and are willing to grant them freedom and responsibility. They hold high expectations for their students, as well as for themselves.
  6. Highly effective teachers dream. They have a vision of success. They are driven by an image of excellence, the best that their innate abilities allow. They always seek to improve, never being content with just “gettingby” in teaching or in any other endeavor.
  7. Highly effective teachers enjoy. Teaching is not just employment to them; it is their Work. They throw themselves into it with vigor. They gain major satisfaction and joy from it. And that joy often infects their students.

For more information, read the whole article here.


Improve Instruction - Give a Quiz!

The latest STANYS Newsletter (May/June 2011) offers some interesting conclusions on the effectiveness of frequent quizzing as a method of learning. DAL for Professional Development and high school chemistry teacher at Saratoga Springs High School, Tom Shiland, shares his success of frequent quizzing with the aid of clickers:

A U.S. Department of Education publication “Organizing instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning” calls the evidence strong for “using quizzes to re-expose students to key content”. 

“Frequent testing” is principle number 4 of “25 principles of learning” available at  (http://www.psyc.memphis.edu/learning/whatweknow/index.shtml) on the University of Memphis website.   

Why does frequent quizzing work? One way to look at it is that the student is starting to build a well-worn path in their mind (a “neural pathway”) to retrieve the information. Thinking about quiz questions helps build these paths. The student is building and reinforcing a neural pathway to where the information is located in long-term memory.

He continues to give some examples of the benefits with his personal findings.

1)   Because I do not count the quizzes it removes the impression that the quizzes might be punitive. Instead the quizzes keep the focus on learning, instead of simply assigning a grade. It moves the focus away from teacher versus student to us versus what we need to know.

2)   The results of the quizzes help justify the direction the instruction takes to the class. “As you can see, we need to spend more time balancing redox equations.”

3)   The eventual chapter exam has no surprises. Daily quizzing has made the demands of the exam transparent to the learner.

4)   It moves the focus away from evaluating with a grade that we often take personally. Deemphasizing the grade, takes the focus off of an evaluation of the self, and focuses attention on the learning. (Shute, 2007). To help keep the focus off the student evaluating themselves, I will say “Let’s see how well Mr. Shiland taught today”.

5)   As a teacher, starting with the quiz in mind at the end of the class, keeps me focused on what is important during the lesson.

For more information, read the full article here.


Toning Down Mobile Device Distractions in Class

Photo courtesy of DeSales University

Mobile devices are making their way into classrooms everywhere and some teachers are struggling to keep them from becoming distractions for their students. Many are mobile tech friendly but the distraction factors remain a main concern. Queens University of Charlotte professor and blogger Dr. John McArthur gives teachers some advice on maximizing classroom space where technology is involved. He says:

Classroom space should work for us, not against us. As the evolution of classroom space continues, many professors find themselves working in innovative environments like studios, computer labs, and modifiable classrooms. To effectively facilitate learning in such spaces, teachers must harness the power of the space instead of being paralyzed by it.

In order to achieve this, McArthur gives four strategies teachers should use in the classroom: (1) encourage lab time to be experimental, (2) employ energy shifts, (3) invade space and (4) direct confrontation. By using these strategies, McArthur argues that students will be more inclined to pay attention in class and use the technology sources they have at hand to their full potential. 

What type of strategies do you use to tone down the distractions?

For more information, read the source here


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