Posts tagged technology

Instructify: Strategies for online reading comprehension

If the kind of text our students are encountering in these online travels is embedded with so many links and media, and if those texts are connected to other associated pages (with even more links and media), hosted by who-knows-whom, the act of reading online quickly becomes an act of hunting for treasure, with red herrings all over the place that can easily divert one’s attention. As educators, we need to take a closer look at what online reading is all about and think about how we can help our students not only navigate with comprehension but also understand the underlying structure of this world.

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The more we incorporate technology and internet sources in the classroom, the more important it is to teach students how to work with internet articles and websites.

The Importance of Writing Skills: Online Tools to Encourage Success

Introducing Online Writing Tools
There are several different ways to help develop students’ writing skills, but implementing online tools is one of the best choices. This is due to many students’ inherent interest in all things technological – a lot of students have a fascination with any new tool that can simplify a basic task (like writing). If you’re interested in using online tools to help your students with their writing, the following list contains some useful ideas and websites.

Blogging: Let’s start with something simple: give your students a blog. You can have each student start his or her own page, or you can assign pairs, groups, or an entire classroom to one blog. This isn’t a fancy tool that will do part of the writing legwork for your students, but it’s a huge motivator and it’s fun. You might consider assigning blog topics, or you can have students research and propose their own “blog identities” before they start to write. The more you can get them invested in the idea of blogging, the more they’ll learn from the experience. Click here to learn more about getting started with free student blogging.

ReadWriteThink’s “Student Interactives”: Head over to this page at for the handy Webbing Tool, Notetaker, Printing Press, and more. Many of the “Student Interactives” like these are useful, and they’re also indexed by grade level appropriateness. These types of tools can be a great interactive way to gain useful writing skills.

Model Bank: Introduce your students to Model Bank, a website with interactive versions of successful writing in common middle school and high school formats. For example, students can find a sample of a good poem analysis with notes in the margins and a printable “Writer’s Guide” to help implement the successful parts of the sample. The concept of “leading by example” does have merit in writing, and Model Bank is a great way to accomplish that.

One Word - 60 second writing prompts

The website provides you with one word, and 60 seconds to write about it.  This would be good to use with my struggling writes that I don’t get to see for long periods of time or very frequently.  The goal is to use that word in sentences which would also help my students learn vocabulary.

Thanks to Free Technology For Teachers for this resource.

NY Times: Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom

Does this educational approach actually work? And is it something that can, or should, find its way into schools in other parts of the country? As we fret about the perils of multitasking and digital distraction in adult life, the question arises: should a school provide practice with or relief from those things? It is still too early to say. But the introduction of Quest to Learn is tied to a continuing and sometimes heated national dialogue about what skills today’s learners most need to prepare them for success in a rapidly evolving, digitally mediated world. There is, at least, growing support for experimentation: in March, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, released a draft National Educational Technology Plan that reads a bit like a manifesto for change, proposing among other things that the full force of technology be leveraged to meet “aggressive goals” and “grand” challenges, including increasing the percentage of the population that graduates from college to 60 percent from 39 percent in the next 10 years. What it takes to get there, the report suggests, is a “new kind of R.& D. for education” that encourages bold ideas and “high risk/high gain” endeavors — possibly even a school built around aliens, villains and video games.

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