In 21st century education we spend a lot of time talking about, vetting and integrating new apps. The bulk of digital learning materials fall in the big curricular areas –reading, writing and math. However, there are a wealth of tools to support learning in the sciences and humanities as well. TinyBop does an exceptional job developing resources to hone inquiry skills in budding scientists. Below you will find a copy of my latest article for the Yellin Center Blog which highlights the merits and attributes of TinyBop’s suite of scientific learning apps. Continue reading “Science Apps by TinyBop”
I have another article posted for the Yellin Center! Below you will find a copy of my latest piece. Enjoy!
Digital Assessment Tools
Assessment is a large, important, and oft-debated necessity in education. The traditional view of assessment hinged strongly on summative evaluations – assessments after the fact, such as a comprehensive exam or final paper. However, the current best practice in evaluating learning is to deploy frequent and thoughtful formative assessments, where teachers build in “check-in points” during the learning process that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. The goal of this evaluation framework is to inform the educator of what specific needs are present in their students and whether they need to augment their future lessons in response to those needs. It is important to note that the post-evaluation reflection and intervention is the defining feature of a formative assessment. Measuring student performance or collecting data is not formative unless you use the information to help your students.
The past month I had been asked by a few sources to cull my bookshelves and devise a list of my tried and true manuals for special education. One list I comprised for my former University will be coming out to showcase 10 exceptional resources. However, today, for the Yellin Center, I whittled and augment my list down to a mere five texts that make my life as a Learning Specialist a touch simpler. In my article, which you will find below, I elected to focus on technical texts, rather than teaching resources. The literature detailed in the article are resources on the current research and practical strategies for applying the best practices in learning theory. I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been for me. Continue reading “Top Five Resources for Special Education Teachers”
Yesterday, Google launched Classroom as an app, which is currently available for both Android and iOS. With the mobile app extension of Classroom, students are now able to take and upload photos and share, integrate and streamline content from other apps. For example, teachers and students alike could integrate class notes from Evernote or scanned documents from Genius Scan into their Classroom Framework. In addition, the new app edition now offers archiving so you are able save the content from old classes and offline caching allowing students’ access to the content even when they aren’t connected to the internet. These two features hold huge merit for authentic tech integration into a real life learning environments since today’s schools and learners still don’t have ubiquitous access to the internet. So basically in short, once again Google absolutely nails it.
In celebration of this development I have another article up on the Yellin Center Blog which highlights the efficacy of the entire Google Classroom for managing a paperless, 21st century learning environment. You can find the article here.
Another article is up on the Yellin Center Blog! You might remember that last fall I reviewed FableVision Learning‘s Animation-ish program. While during my exploration of Animation-ish, I stumbled across a few other awesome resources that FableVision has created. One of which is an amazing tool for learning how to structure an effective essay called, Essay Express. Crafting an essay requires multiple abilities including, spelling, understanding of grammar and sentence structure, master of written conventions, understanding of semantics etc. It is an area of writing that many students (all the way into their college years) struggle with and takes time to truly master. Often students come into the clinic having some of the key abilities in places but weaknesses in others. Essay Express is an exceptional tool that helps strength a students strengths and fill in any gaps they may have in the writing process in order to teach them how to devise strong written output.
So head over to the blog to read my review, the research that went into creating the program and the amazing aspects of this software that will make it beneficial for both home and school use.
Another ed tech review is up on the Yellin Center Blog. This time it is for an incredible animation software program that has the power to assist educators in differentiating their instruction and cultivating a maker culture in the classroom. I was over the top excited to learn that one of my personal all-time favorite children’s authors has launched an award-winning software program titled Animation-ish. Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator behind the incredible titles Ish, The Dot and The North Star. Each of the aforementioned held a very prominent and special place in my curriculum when I was a classroom teacher. Now, Mr. Reynold has moved beyond books and into the digital space with the launch of Animation-ish, which is described as “an easy-to-use animation software program that inspires creativity and enables children to show what they know.”
For more on how to use the app, its undeniable merits for the classroom and more unabashed praise singing of this amazing tool head over to my review at the Yellin Center.
Another app review is up on the Yellin Center Blog. Last time it was a writing platform, and this time it is a really, really exceptional reading program. It is by far one of my favorite reading technologies out there. Not only does it have a high level of craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal but it is also thoroughly entrenched in the best research on early literacy. The people who back and created this application are a collective group of really smart cookies. This isn’t an edutainment app to mesmerize your child, and it sure isn’t a technological babysitter. It is a really robust, in depth reading program that has the data to back up its claims (they even publish it all so you don’t have to take my word for it). Beyond it’s educational merit and pure, clean beauty, Learn with Homer is also a Brooklyn based company (actually their office is more or less walking distance from my house). So naturally I am just all the more enthused because I love repping local products. So check our their website, and also my in depth review on the Yellin Center Blog. On the latter you will find a chronicling of the multitude of reasons why I as a learning specialist love it so much, as well as the benefits it has for both teachers and parents alike. Trust me, you are going to love it.
My best graduate course at the moment, bar none, is Computer Applications in Education. It is no secret why I am so enamored by this course – I love technology. Ed Tech is my most pervasive professional interest. My technological inclinations have led me to sit on my school district’s Educational Technology Advisory Committee, as well as be apart of a research team at my university that created and lead professional development workshops on how to integrate and utilize different educational technologies into ones teaching. Personally, I strive to include an array of modalities into my curriculum but I do rely heavily on modern technological tools to create my own handouts (like the ones below), as well as construct a curriculum that engages and stimulates my students.
As for this particular course, it has a special education focus, with a heavy emphasis on UDL and assistive technology. Each week we focus on a novel technology that we get to test out and play around -some I have experience with and some are brand new. At the moment we have been asked to adapt a previous unit plan to include assistive technologies in order to better meet the needs of the exceptional students in our classrooms. We opted to use my fractured fairytale unit which focuses on story retelling and imaginative writing. Below you will find a few of the resources and handouts I devised (using great educational technologies) for this unit that I thought I would share. Continue reading “Teaching Moments: Fairytales and Story Retelling”