Posts Tagged 21st Century Skills
Educators are always finding ways to improve their skills, and the best way to reach their students. As technology evolves, the opportunities to reach students on their level becomes easier and easier. In a world where 21st century skills are crucial for student achievement, tablet PCs like the iPad are becoming a staple in schools across the country.
We asked our Twitter followers what their favorite iPad apps where, and we found five we think you’ll love.
Besides being named Apple’s iPad App of the Year, Flipboard is a great way to catalog many publications in one setting. In addition to regular publications, you can turn your social media updates into magazine format as well. According to the App store, “See your social media in a magazine layout that is easy to scan and fun to read. Catch up on the latest stories, videos and posts from popular publications and people such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Wired, Rolling Stone, Oprah, Forbes, Robert Scoble, and Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova.”
Chris Fancher, a Math/Engineering teacher at Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, is excited to use this app in his classroom.
Adding a little pizzazz to a presentation is done much easier with Keynote. Once you have created your presentation in the app, you can hook up your iPad to a projector, and you are set to go! Some of the features Keynote boasts are:
• Animate objects on slides with more than 20 builds.
• Choose from over 20 professional-quality slide transitions, including Anagram, Page Flip, Mosaic, and Twist.
• Use the predefined text styles or choose text options to personalize your slides.
• Quickly add your photos and videos from the Photos app using the Media Browser.
• Organize your data with beautiful charts and tables.
• Skim through your presentation, add new slides, and reorder slides with the slide navigator.
• Work without worry — Keynote automatically saves your presentations whenever you make a change.
How do you keep track of your to-dos? Outliner is a great app that lets you stay on top of everything going on in your crazy world. Outliner has the following features:
- Create outlines for structured notes, lists, tasks, tasks with subtasks, projects, etc.
- Search through all your outlines, or find text in the current outline.
- Create items as tasks (with checkboxes) or not
- Add notes to items
- Get a quick view of the progress of a parent task – each shows pie charts to indicate what percent of child items are complete
Appadvice.com recently did a review for iPad apps geared to teachers. They recommend Attendance because it’s a, “solution for quickly taking attendance, identifying students via photo, recording tardies, and emailing students or classes with progress reports. It integrates with your address book to import student data, or allows for direct download of course .csv files from the web. It is not particularly pretty to look at, but what it lacks in form, it makes up for in function. With an inexpensive in-app purchase you can also sync data between iDevices.” You can read more in Apple’s App store here.
You might not want your students to cram your content the night before a big test, but Cram is a great app for teachers. Cram is actually a flash card application to quiz your students. Teachhub.com goes on to say, “the multiple choice, flash card format saves resources, time, and energy when it comes to whipping up a quick assignment, quiz, or test. In addition, users are granted the ability to access an online database of questions as well as pre-established assignments. Cram boasts its own benefits for all elements of education, though, making it a well-rounded application to download and use.”
Do you have an iPad app you can’t live without? Let our readers know in the comments below.
“Student achievement flows from great teaching,” states Vicki Phillips, Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
We believe great teachers know how to create meaningful, engaging learning environments that challenge students to do their best. Unfortunately, the majority of time that’s spent on developing teachers is too focused on the “what” and the “why” but not the “how” of creating successful learning environments.
Teachers know what they want their classrooms to look like and how they want their students to be, yet often they don’t know how to make it happen. Over our 20 years of experience working with schools on professional staff development, we’ve seen many good teachers become great — once they learn how to change the dynamics of their classroom.
Specifically, great teachers know how to:
- Connect with students
- Make content meaningful and relevant
- Orchestrate positive interactions
- Build a classroom environment of respect and high expectations
- Inspire students to do their best
- Stimulate positive student behavior
- Teach to all types of learners
- Engage students in learning from bell to bell
- Great teachers know how to create a community of learners who are engaged and excited to learn!
When teachers are empowered and know how to make this happen in the classroom — when they have practical, transferable skills and techniques to create a learning environment that works — the desired outcomes follow: improved behavior, attendance, grades, test scores and graduation rates.
Vicki Phillips continues to say, “Great teaching is advanced by great professional development.” Effective teacher training takes time and commitment. Success in the classroom is not achieved with drive-by workshops that lecture teachers on the what without the how. Effective programs put the “how” first and ensure that teachers can successfully apply it in their classrooms.
When teachers acquire the necessary “how” skills and practice and personalize them in their classrooms, the result is a highly effective learning environment that produces positive outcomes for their students.
Below you can see a video of Kelli Myers’ Quantum Learning 5th grade class doing a “power whoosh.” A “Power Whoosh” is when on cue, everyone claps their hands three times in unison, then sends all of their positive energy to a designated person. It is a part of Quantum Learning’s “If It’s Worth Learning, It’s Worth Celebrating.” Celebration builds the desire for success. So celebrate often!
The Tenets are important concepts or guiding principles that are basic to the Quantum Learning system. These ideas are woven throughout the fabric of the system, and as a result will be rediscovered in many applications and strategies. The Tenets are specifically designed to improve our practice in the classroom by directing our focus. We recommend that you post them in a place where you will see them on a regular basis.
The first Tenet is “Everything Speaks.” This concept reminds us that everything we do in the classroom sends a message to students. The way we greet students first thing in the morning or at the beginning of a class sends a message. The way we handle an incorrect response from a student given in front of peers sends a message. Our Environment, the Atmosphere we create, the Design of our lesson delivery or educational tasks, how we dress, the way we listen, or the character traits we model all send messages to our students. By being constantly aware of this important principle we tend to be more deliberate and proactive in orchestrating the messages students receive. This helps us better manage the variables that contribute to an optimal classroom atmosphere and learning environment.
“Everything is on Purpose” is the second Tenet and it follows logically from the one before it, “Everything Speaks.” If everything speaks, then it follows that we want to be purposeful with everything we do in the classroom to get the desired outcome. A focus on the Tenet, “Everything is on Purpose”, encourages a greater awareness of all the variables that influence learning. It is this Tenet that helps us to begin to see our role in the classroom differently. We are not in the classroom to dispense knowledge – we are there to orchestrate learning. We are striving to get masterful in this orchestration, and even small variables and details become important to us.
“Experience Before Label” is an important principle that influences our lesson design and delivery. It means that we involve students in an experience or elicit an experience that they can relate to before we attempt to attach it to any symbolic language or label. From a scientific perspective we are creating schema or a new neural network in the brain before attaching the label. It can also mean that we move the students to inquiry where they are seeking the label or concept before we give it to them. For example, a math teacher may involve students in a real-life situation in which they are trying to solve a problem but having difficulty based on what they already know. They may begin to look for a new formula or principle to help them accomplish the solution. This state of inquiry or searching would be an ideal time for the teacher to introduce the new concept, and this process would be called “Experience Before Label.” In a literature class a teacher may have students experience writing from a talented author before introducing the literary concept of mood. A science teacher may have students experience or observe the laws of motion before actually labeling them.
Experience Before Label is about creating a teachable moment. It is about getting students emotionally involved and questioning with questions such as Why? When? Where? What? How? The word label in this principle refers to the information we want students to learn – the facts, the formulas, the new terms, the sequence, the reasons, etc. When we design our instruction using “Experience Before Label,” we are using a brain-considerate strategy that attaches the learning to previously established schema, evokes proper emotional learning states, maximizes the use of inquiry, and bridges the content to the students’ world.
The “Acknowledge Every Effort” Tenet places a strong emphasis on reinforcing effort in the classroom. By acknowledging effort the professional educator places a strong focus on effort. This focus on effort has many benefits in the educational arena. By acknowledging effort and creating a focus on effort we help our students to know that we consider good consistent effort the hallmark of a good student.
One very significant benefit with a focus on effort relates to our students’ self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is our students’ concept of what they are capable of accomplishing and relates to their views of their own abilities.When we define a student as one who gives good consistent effort we are asking the student to do something he or she can do. This is because effort is a choice. Even though some students may not be able to compete with the student sitting next to them in achievement scores, they can choose to give effort, and if effort is the sign of a good student then they can consider themselves good students. By asking students to give good consistent effort we are asking them to do something they know they can choose to do. How satisfied would you be as a professional educator if all your students did was give 100% effort? Most of us could live with that!
The last Tenet is “If It’s Worth Learning It’s Worth Celebrating.” These celebrations occur inside the student and are orchestrated by the professional educator. It is the good feeling students have about their own progress and their contributions to the learning of others. It includes the joy, excitement, and passion for learning that permeates the classroom atmosphere. It includes the positive acknowledgments the students receive for their effort and participation. It may be enhanced by such things as small as a comment by the teacher expressing appreciation for accomplishment or by an entire group joining together in a cheer, a special event or a rewarding activity. It should be an ongoing and consistent principle operating in the classroom. It reinforces motivation and the message, “This is important.
A new school year is here! Below is a message sent out by Quantum Learning with helps for starting a new year with new students. There are some specific and easy ideas for each part of FADE, with links to terrific resources. Enjoy!
Wow! Another school year is already upon us. Where did the summer go? Well, school can be fun, too, because Quantum Learning has a ton of ideas for you on how to get things off to a great start and make it the best year ever for you and your students.
Remember, Quantum Learning is a SYSTEM for boosting student engagement and learning and it all begins with FADE:
The beginning of a new school year means “training” students in what’s expected in the classroom. With a strong Foundation, you can establish a shared vision and an understanding of expectations in your classroom. Download our document entitled How to Develop Rules and Consequences for a plan on how to establish ground rules that will support a successful year.
How would you like your students to enter/exit the classroom? Consider last year – what did you develop that worked? What would you change? What level of self-directed behavior do your students manifest? Each of these areas of consideration is defined and developed in the QL attachment on PAPR – Policies, Agreement, Procedures, and Rules. Download it here.
The start of the year is your opportunity to establish an empowering Atmosphere for learning. Here’s a link to a short video with tips on what you can say and do to create a climate in your classroom that promotes a sense of joy, safety, and support.
Also, get QL’s Top 5 Hot Tips for creating an empowering Atmosphere in your classroom this year and tips from QL teachers and facilitators on how to build rapport with your students from the first day of school.
Begin every lesson with a plan for how you will Enroll your students so that they are engaged; create Experiences and curiosity; Label what is learned AFTER the Experiences; allow students to Demonstrate what they have learned;Review and promote Reflection of new content learned; and Celebrate your students’ learning successes. The Quantum Learning Design Frame (E L L D R C) provides a proven process for promoting greater learning and long term memory. Click here for some great “Enrolling” ideas.
The start of the school year is your chance to establish a physical learning space that is inviting and supportive so that you can deliver your content in more engaging and interesting ways. As we say in QL, “Everything Speaks,” meaning everything in the environment sends a message that either enhances or detracts from learning. Download our document on How to Create a Supportive Environment in your classroom.
This is just the beginning of how you can begin to make it a GREAT YEAR for your students and boost learning! Also, be sure to check out our QL blog for valuable research and more great ideas.
Looking forward to hearing all about your successes the next time we see you!
Your Quantum Learning Education Team
P.S. Ask about our additional programs to support you: Observation and Coaching Days, Tele-coaching sessions, Reinforcement and Renewal Workshops, and our new QL Topic Specific one day workshops! Visit our website at http://www.qln.com and find out what’s new at Quantum Learning! Or, contact your QL Education Senior Consultant at www.qln.com/learning_education_contact.html
McPherson USD 418 district staff took time out of their day to speak with Washington Elementary School students about the 8 Keys of Excellence Tuesday.
The 8 Keys are part of the district’s new Citizenship, College and Career Ready initiative. Elementary students across the district will learn a new key each month, with the keys incorporated into other classroom lesson.
Eight district employees took turns explaining the 8 Keys to students as Washington. Many of the key have a corresponding action to help the students better remember the key and what it means.
As part of the district’s new initiative, students will also be rewarded for demonstrating the use of one of the 8 Keys while at school.
The best part of our job is to see results. Below, we bring you an article reinforcing our techniques by a teacher, Kecia Burcham.
Thanks for the support Kecia!
I recently published an article on one of the concepts of Quantum Learning; living above or below the line. As I was preparing to teach this concept in my Franklin classroom, it occurred to me that although the model originated in the business world and moved to educators, the principles lend themselves beautifully to goal setting and achievement for all ages.
For example, many if not most of us are bound in some way by limiting beliefs about just what we can and can’t do. We often feel trapped by a lack of confidence, lack of resources, education or, perhaps most commonly – fear. We wear some labels that often define our lives and leave us stuck on the fence of familiarity. As many will agree, change is hard – way hard.
It can be said that whatever we are doing, saying, even wearing is sending a message of some kind about who we are. That being the case, the way we approach our life mission sends a message as well, to ourselves as well as others.
Revisiting the “below the line” ideas of laying blame, justifying, denying and quitting; let’s explore how those responses translate into roadblocks to our personal destinations.
- Laying blame – it’s someone or something else’s fault. “My family doesn’t have money or prestige.” “Society is prejudiced against my gender, race religion, etc.” In other words, “I don’t control my goals; others do.”
- Justifying – it’s okay because….”No one else is…”, “I’ve been too busy doing something else.” (raising families, working, going to school – which are all worthy in themselves, but can easily justify ignoring your own personal goals) In other words, “Outside circumstances dictate whether or not I pursue my goals.”
- Denial – lying to yourself; “I couldn’t have pulled that off anyway” “I didn’t really want that degree, that job, etc.” This sends the message “I can’t trust myself – I must believe what others say about my future.”
- Quitting – simply giving up. “I’m stuck with these labels and it’s too hard to change.” “I’m too tired, too old, too short, too fat, etc.” This is so common and so sad. We give up when things seem too difficult. We let go because the obstacles seem so great. This sends the message to ourselves and others that we simply don’t have what it takes. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Most of us have far more than we realize. This is where we need motivation and to remember that good things are almost always difficult. Change is rarely if ever easy. Getting off the fence takes a whole lot of effort. Rome wasn’t built in a day, etc. etc.
Take a second look at “where you’re living” when it comes to what you want to get out of this life and what you want to leave behind. Watch where your kids are in the same context. Are you; Are they making the hard choices that result in the power to free yourselves and move forward? Are you finding it hard to rip off those old labels and get off the fence? I challenge you to identify where you really are and start rising above. As the saying goes, “Life ain’t no dress rehearsal!”