Sunday, January 4, 2015

Proficiences, Blended Learning, Personalized Learning, STEM and Technology

These are the things I have been working with all year.  Standards Based Grading is going just fine and I am developing ways to use online resources in a personalized way with my Algebra 1 students.  I am hopefully training the students to use online resources in a professional way to further their own learning goals by creating a well organized database of videos, self paced problems and class resources.  I liked this blog post about MOOC's (Massive Open Online Courses), I believe that being able to learn from others effectively on the web is becoming more and more important and I'd like to train my students to do that.  Our entire school is going toward Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements and I believe that web based resources can be very useful in personalized and self paced learning.  Most of my innovative efforts in algebra this year have been around this topic.

I teach in our math computer lab, so I have access to computers while students are in class.  I am working on a blended approach to personalized learning where I set some time aside during the regular class for students to work on material that their standards based tests have indicated some shortcomings in.  One of the resources I use is videos that I have made with Explain Everything.  This is a fantastic iPad app (also available for Android recently) that allows you to make videos explaining a topic.  Something I would like to do is use EdPuzzle to embed quizzes in the YouTube videos, but it just hasn't happened yet.

I would like for the students to have tablets so they could access this material any time they have a web connection, but this isn't cheap and my school isn't jumping right into one to one for all students.  The tablets I am interested in are the Galaxy Note and the Surface Pro.  I would like the students to be able to write math problems with a stylus and keep it all their work in a OneNote notebook.

As our entire school goes towards Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements, I have been considering a change from SBG to another method of learning that uses my standards as learning targets and uses the standards based quizzes more as a formative assessment.  The actual grades would be more connected to summative assessments (ie unit tests).  I understand that some folks have been using Schoology for this sort of thing, I will be looking into this further.

Along with the algebra 1 work, I am in my second year as our STEM Academy leader.  There are 55 students in the Academy and I am very busy developing a program that allows them to pursue their interests in science by participating in a STEM Advisory, Internships and doing a capstone project.  The state of VT has mandated Personalized Learning Plans for all students beginning in fall 2015 for our freshmen.  This Academy approach is one possible way for students to receive a personalized learning pathway, there are many exciting things developing at our school right now as we try to figure out how to make learning more meaningful for all of our students.

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