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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in active learning

Posted by on in Early Childhood

In my work, as in the work of many people, I imagine, there are themes that come up again and again. Sometimes I get asked a question and I can point to a blog post I wrote or an article I read months or years earlier that touches on the same subject. Little kids have some very consistent interests; it’s why certain toys remain popular for generations. Building toys are one of those evergreen entertainments; kids can play with Lego or magnet-tiles forever, it seems.

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In general, my attitude towards the “problem” of repetitive play has been to encourage educators to look more closely at children’s play, to observe with a curious eye and to wonder about what they might be missing. In short, my approach has been to push back against our perception that there IS a problem at all. Often, when children return again and again to the same materials, they’re trying to figure something out and it’s our job to value what they’re doing enough to discover and support the intentionality of their play.

However, there are some times when repetitive play really is something to be concerned about and it’s worth spending some time thinking about how we might structure the environment and our interactions with children to support expanding their repertoire of play behaviour.

Recently, I was working with a teacher who was distressed by the repetitive play she was observing in her classroom. A group of boys consistently chose to visit the Lego centre and exclusively created spinning toys that they then “battled” against each other to see which one could withstand colliding with the other spinners. They resisted choosing any other material or building any other type of structure. It had been months of repeating the same play behaviour and they were unfazed. The teacher had tried her best to extend the play towards an investigation into rotation, more broadly, but they were unmoved. The Beyblades continued to duke it out.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

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The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. - Jean Jacques Rousseau

We say "a picture is worth a thousand words" and then ask our students to imagine things they cannot see.

In chemistry, we show two-dimensional representations of atoms, create crude drawings of molecules on classroom boards, and use abstract notations to show where the electrons are. We constantly look for videos - some better than others - to show things and processes so small terms such as "nanotechnology" were invented to classify them. As technology miniaturization becomes more extensive the understanding of it becomes more paramount. But how can we make learning of such concepts more real, more vivid, and more effective?

Virtual reality.

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Posted by on in Education Resources
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Success is less about what you know now and more about how quickly and effectively you can learn and use new information.
This is the most important thing I learned in my 15 years or teaching and mentoring teens.
Success depends on skills. Build up a skill set and help others do the same and you will succeed.
There are over 20,000 high schools in the US and most of them focus on test scores and teaching specific subjects not success skills.
Schools were designed in the Industrial Era to pacify kids and produce citizens who follow society's rules and conventions, work guidelines, and their manager's directions.
This is perfect for working retail or on an assembly line.
The problem is that many present jobs call for creative problem solving - the type that does not follow specific formulas or directions but requires original ideas.
This requires learning and applying information on the go. To be useful, such real time learning must be efficient and effective - the information must be understood quickly and applied almost immediately.
The life success test does not involve filling out bubbles and answering multiple choice questions. It calls for providing the most affordable and advantageous solution to a problem a person or a group of people faces.
Again, this requires application of skills not being capable of winning on Jeopardy. ("Learning How to Learn for $200 Alex.")
The most important success skill anyone can use is being able to learn and apply new information quickly.
This is of course extremely useful in school because it can help a teen earn better grades. But it goes beyond that...
Being able to quickly absorb, understand, retain, and use new information in the age in which information grows exponentially is anyone's key to success.
I lay out the path to achieving this in a series of short lessons in my new book Crush School Student Guide: Learn Faster, Study Smarter, Remember More, and Make School Easier.
The critics say:
"If you are a kid, get this book. Use it. Learn it. Apply it. Grow because of it. Invest in yourself. You deserve it."
"Oskar writes in a conversational and easy to understand tone."
"Through activities the students will discover how their brain learns, how it impacts their learning style, and finally, how she or he can apply that knowledge to learn 'smarter not harder'."
The book is now on sale for $19.95 (33% OFF the regular price of $29.95) until Thursday, August 30th. You can grab it at http://bit.ly/crushschoolguide
 
You have the power to change lives. Use it often so they can change the world.

 

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Posted by on in General

We talk a lot about how to increase student achievement and improve learning in our classrooms.

A lot of these conversations are centered around what needs to be added or changed in a classroom, NOT what should be removed. Many of the practices that still exist in classrooms across the country are not only outdated, but they are making progress and growth nearly impossible for schools and districts.

Here are 7 ways that you might be making progress and learning impossible for your students.

1. Lecturing too much.

If you didn't already know I'm not a huge fan of Lecturing. Not only does the research not support it (at all), but it is archaic, disengaging for students, and after only 10 minutes, you've lost over 50% of your students. Any longer and those numbers go up.

I truly don't care how good you think you are at lecturing, this is simply an ineffective practice when used on a daily basis or as the primary means of instruction. If you do this more than a few times a week, please stop. Direct instruction and lecturing have their limited place, and I'm not saying they should never happen in a classroom, but they should come in the form of short, purposeful, and targeted discussions with learners, not the tired and broken "sit and get" model of instruction.

[bctt tweet="If some of this hits a little too close to home, it's ok. It is okay for us to recognize that our classroom, or instruction, or management is not quite perfect. We can always improve.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

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When You Teach Something You Get To Learn It Twice - Jim Kwik

Cameron, a former student of mine, who is now in college, commented on my recent post about efficient and effective learning titled Too Much What, Not Enough How. Here's what he wrote on Facebook:

As a student who graduated with a GPA well above 4.0, I completely agree specifically with the point about students teaching subject-matter. Most of what made me successful was not studying - I rarely did that - but teaching other students, and in doing so, closing gaps in and solidifying what I knew. I tutored other students in almost every single class I took throughout my high school career, especially the science courses. That was my secret to success and I didn't even realize it until senior year. The feeling you get when you help someone grasp an idea they struggled with is an awesome feeling, too.

But Why Is Teaching Such An Effective Learning Strategy?

If you closely analyze and dissect Cameron's comment you can identify at least 4 aspects that made his strategy of teaching others to learn it yourself super effective. They are Active Learning, Deeper Learning, Efficient Learning, and Emotional Learning. 

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