What tools might provide me insight into the learners in my classroom and how might I use this information?
Who are these young people in my classroom? How can I assess how they learn? Where are they at? What affects their learning in my room? Do they really have multiple intelligences and different learning styles?
The topic always comes up about multiple intelligences and different learning styles. When I was in my teacher certification program, we spent hours dissecting what all this meant and how it applied to our lesson plans when we went to differentiate the lessons. Since then, I think it is safe to say, these “intelligences” and “styles of learning” have been debunked.
“Research shows that multi-modal materials—those that combine images and text or images and sound—improve learning for EVERYONE. Learning by doing tends to lend a rich multi-sensory context that, once again, improves learning for everyone. Academics urge educators to choose strategies and materials that make sense for the topic being taught—but not to worry so much about the particular “learning styles” of the students.” says blogger Cathy on Our Learning Curve.
So, dear Diary, let’s not worry about the quizzes and surveys I used to give students to determine this information. Let’s instead try to create multi-sensory context to provide richer meaning to the lessons. Because of my experience with hundreds of students, I do think it is wise to assess what they enjoy and are interested in so that I can craft lessons which appeal to them. Fortunately, there are some cool sources of interest inventories to help me. This week, I asked my students to take an interest survey that I found and transcribed to an Edmodo quiz. I used a short answer response for the nine questions in order to avoid the automatic grading function of this site. The students liked answering questions about themselves and liked using technology to answer. I liked having access to this information from any computer.
Diary, this week I needed to focus on assembling a PLN. I know, I wondered what that was, too. I found a short youtube video with a good explanation of what boils down to a learning network. I also needed to join or start a group for my differentiation project. I figured these folks would be part of my learning network, too. I posted a note on our google group and I tweeted. <crickets chirping> Since I didn’t get immediate response (I can be a little impatient), I posted a wiki page for 5th grade and suggested a storytelling project. Thankfully, others joined the page and started posting resources for our project. Yea!
I found many new sources of information that I posted to my diigo. I like that my diigo finds automatically blog to this blog every week. I do need to do a little editing, but it is fairly low maintenance. The finds I came across that I thought were gems, I tweeted to the #diffimooc.
Speaking of tweeting. I wasn’t a big fan of twitter and tweeting. With three weeks under my belt, I’m gaining a new fondness for the whole idea. The class meetings are working better with Twitter. I don’t feel so scattered and high-blood-pressured when we have our meetings. I think I’m a more organized reader and a more organized participant.
Diary… a confession from an over-achiever. I am still afraid that I’m missing something that I should be doing. Hopefully, I have everything put together on this blog. I finished updated my reader so I can check all the other #diffimooc blogs. Hopefully, I have it all together.
Dearest Diary, thanks for listening. My goal for this week is to still stay organized and try to be a generous giver in the learning networks I’m involved with.