Monday, January 13, 2020

Personalized and Self-Paced Learning for Educators and Students

Classrooms looks different today than they did years ago. We've evolved from a traditional classroom setting where the teacher is lecturing, to a classroom that is active, innovative, and the students are driving the learning. As an Instructional Technologist, I have been fortunate enough to see many different ways educators approach teaching and learning--from the traditional learning model to some of the most innovative and creative classrooms.  To create an innovative, open, and creative place for students and teachers to grow, take risks, and feel comfortable in their own patterns of learning three educators have raised the bar to provide those experiences.  This past fall semester, Mrs. Roberts, Mrs. Seale (CTE Teachers), and Mrs. Toht (Science Coach for NISD) reached out to their campus Instructional Technologist, Rene' Egle, to brainstorm ideas of ways to raise the level of learning for students and teachers by integrating technology. 

The College and Career Ready course called Professional Communications is an 8th grade curriculum taught by Brittany Roberts and Vanessa Seale at Wilson Middle School. Past learning experiences to present the 27 CCR pathways has been a very teacher driven type environment.  This 2019-2020 school year the campus Instructional Technologist hosted a TechBytes during PLC’s titled Creating Choice Boards.  This inspired Mrs. Roberts and Mrs. Seale to create a choice board of innovative student facilitated learning of the many pathway opportunities that CTE has to offer.  Students were able to click to view their options they were most interested in and document using a Google Form that provided interaction and reflection.  Mrs. Roberts stated, “This strategy was useful for students and not overwhelming with multiple documents or pages.”

The excitement and benefits of self-paced learning didn’t stop at Wilson, science teachers throughout the district were provided an opportunity to a self-paced learning experience at district professional development held on January 6th.  Courtney Toht, NISD Science Coach, brainstormed new ways to introduce the learning experience called Argument Driven Inquiry or ADI which is an eight stage lab process.  She wanted to keep her teachers active and engaged while practicing the productive struggle which we expect of our students.  After visiting with her campus Instructional Coach Rene' Egle and Library Media Specialist Jamie Eikenberry, she developed an escape room full of interactive tools to work through the learning of the ADI concepts.  Courtney stated, “I needed a way to facilitate PD to teachers in multiple rooms. Also, many teachers expressed interest in learning about escape rooms, so what a better way to present this new information that we will dig deeper into during the summer training.  I thought it would be a good way to allow teachers to experience an escape for learning purposes and then learn how to make them in another session. 
First the teachers were given an introduction video to the eight ADI stages, then they interacted with a matching game using the tool Match the Memory to strengthen their knowledge. Click here for the match game

Next, the tool called EdPuzzle allowed teachers to watch a video that had embedded comprehension check questions along the way. 

Because educators today want to have evidence that different learning styles have a positive impact on learning, Mrs. Toht developed a puzzle using Jigsaw Planet to provide evidence.  Click here for the puzzle

The last step to the ADI Escape room use the tool called a Snote.  Snote is a unique and creative way to deliver key words in a secret message.  The teachers loved using the directional sliders to find the hidden words. With the conclusion of each category they were given a set of CLUE WORDS to unlock the room, just like the public escape rooms that are so popular today in our communities.  Click here for Snote

The choice board and escape room are just a few examples of how technology has helped changed the student/teacher roles in the classroom. Students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators. Technology lends itself as the multidimensional tool that assists that process.

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