Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

Teachers: thousands of free learning resources   Leave a comment

Unleash Web Learning
This packed resource has reviewed over 200 web sites – over 100 pages. All the sites are free – no membership costs to use the content. You save time because we researched the zillions of web sites and culled these nuggets. Included are sites for your Professional Development. Or, use this for classroom activity, homework, or special assignment. Pick and choose sites covering science, math, software, Microsoft Office tutorials, and much more. Each site listed has links on its’ page to more resources …. so this eBook gives you over 1,000 new web resources at your fingertips. Have all this for a donation at

Revise and Move Forward
Explore your understanding of who you are with over 500 resources (all free) at


Posted April 29, 2010 by Jack in learning

K12 Project Based Learning – Top Best Resources   Leave a comment

These cover all the content areas and are FREE to use.”

Project Based Learning (PBL) provides opportunities for students to collaborate on specific tasks to resolve one or more challenges. The effort is driven by asking questions that feed the investigative processes where students do some level of research to collect data and then draw conclusions by summarizing what they found.

Read the article and reduce your learning curve on PBL … share it with your colleagues and get all the students at your school on the best track.

This ain’t just ’bout your class, it’s how you prepare your students for better careers as life long learners.

Happy Hump Day, Jack

Posted April 8, 2009 by Jack in learning, PBL

Education Guiding Principles: Responsibility   Leave a comment

Typically one might consider responsibility to be “towing the line” or doing behaviors that are expected under certain circumstances.  In education responsibility is more a compilation of ownership, right action, and congeniality. I think educational experiences come in all shapes and sizes but the deeper they resound the more organized chaos is present.

Students must own the effort they make, which in the end will translate into the knowledge they acquire from the activity exercise during class: what they learned.  The easiest way this I’ve  accomplished this is using relevant lessons – a lesson that relates what is being taught in class as somehow enhancing student life skills or enhancing the quality of student life outside of school.

While working in a class activity there is certain action that is beneficial to obtaining learning. For example, if Johnny and Anita are chatting it up – not working on the activity tasks:  working with other students to investigate, collect information, and make educated guesses, then there isn’t really much hope they are acquiring the necessary info to learn anything. But, just nudging them to focus on the tasks while they continue chatting it up will transform a wasted activity into a contribution to their acquiring necessary info in the goal of completing class work. Digital students can multi-task better than I and many other “adults.”

Every situation has some form of decorum and class decorum is set forth in classroom management polices and activity guidelines.  A class without some guidelines is unorganized chaos.  The line separating unorganized chaos and organized chaos is very fine, but the difference is organized chaos has the existence of assimilating learning above and beyond survival skills.  For example, at the K-12 level, telling students they need to use the supplies and their notes to make a poster explaining XYZ has less learning potential then enhancing those instructions by asking students to include specific information in the poster: title, theme, illustration of cause and effect.

When students are expressing responsibility they are producing a context that naturally builds life skills. In these situations a “ teacher” moves out of the traditional role of being  the classroom “expert” dispelling wisdom, instead she/he is a facilitator – a resource for students – that guides the learning  taking place.


Posted December 30, 2008 by Jack in learning

Get ready, set and go to digital learning materials – for free   Leave a comment

Hey, what if we got rid of the textbooks and allowed teachers to share digital texts and course materials? Then any teacher can modify/translate/contextualize that material for their class … oh yeah, it’s all free to do this. Would you use it? I would in a heart beat. This video below, Richard Baraniuk, shows this has already begun around the world … it’s being realized right now in an effort called Connexions.

Posted March 11, 2008 by Jack in Curriculum, learning, technology

US Dept of Ed – reinventing approach to education?   Leave a comment

Straight from the top – US Department of Education is promoting the Equipped For the Future (EFF) program which is based on constructivism – an active process of knowledge construction allowing learners to use prior knowledge to shape meaning of today’s’ experiences and therefore acquire new knowledge.

I think this reading will benefit a teacher or parent in any country. To me, this program, if implemented correctly, will turn the tide and immensely benefit K-12 education.

Not to worry, the docs below are fairly easy reads. What are your thoughts about them?

A Purposeful and Transparent Approach to Teaching and Learning

Summarizes the research basis for “a purposeful and transparent approach to learning”, the first key research principle underlying the Equipped for the Future system reform initiative.

EFF Research Principle: An Approach To Teaching And Learning That Builds Expertise: EFF Research To Practice
Describes how research findings related to building expertise have been applied to the development of the Equipped for the Future (EFF) Content Framework and assessment system.

A Contextualized Approach To Curriculum And Instruction: EFF Research To Practice
Identifies the research basis for a contextualized approach to teaching and learning, the third concept underlying the Equipped for the Future (EFF) system reform initiative.

Transformation: Reform Spotlight: Research + Policy + Practice = Transformed Schools
Reviews research concerning sustaining comprehensive school reform. This publication examines the policy implications of research on school transformation.

Posted February 29, 2008 by Jack in Curriculum, learning, pedagogy

Top three components to build knowledge transfer   Leave a comment

Knowledge transfer is accomplished with pedagogy. I think we’ll all agree that some degree of conceptual understanding is the goal of every lesson, and that in order to accurately measure the success of a lesson: 1) objectives must be clearly defined and presented beforehand and 2) at least one assessment is completed during the course of each lesson. It’s also worth mentioning the lesson map, no matter how well designed, to accomplish transfer of knowledge isn’t carved in stone and is best approached in a fluid manner.

3. Responsibility:
Students must be presented with some level of ownership to the material in a lesson. There are different levels of responsibility depending on the work at hand. For example, at the assignment level a rubric is required to define the expectation from student participation. When looking at the lecture/discussion level of responsibility, it’s not enough to throw out information and expect students to lap it up, like a dog at the water bowl. Instead, information must be presented in such a way as to have students recognize their responsibility (emotional or social and so forth) and realize they need to step up to it. Yet, with other assignments the responsibility will arise during the course of the work on the project as in a project based environment or a service learning project. Along the way, one of the teachers’ responsibilities is to provide students with some clear signals as to what is expected in order for them to succeed at each responsibility level. I think it’s clear that as teachers support students growing their responsibility in a lesson – we also supporting them in building fundamental life skills.

2. Methods of teaching:
Teachers must continuously adapt methods used in teaching. A lecture style method used last year may not work this year. A slide presentation used for one topic may be the wrong method for teaching another topic. Teaching methods are the bag of tricks teachers use; we must get a whole lot more creative with those tricks to capture our student’s attention span. One do: use as much technology as possible in lessons – like it or not technology is here to stay. One dont’: never use the lecture method to deliver content for more than 30% of a class session. Teachers, we owe it to our students to get more professional development in methods and in integrating technology in lessons.

1. Measuring success:
Assessments are required to understand student learning. I’m not talking about worksheets: true/false, multiple choice or matching. Those are useful for a more long term focus. In the short term, during each lesson an assessment of some sort is necessary. There are two essential segments of a well designed assessment: 1) time for student reflection and 2) clear prompts. The reflection segment is giving students time to summarize their understanding and it can take different forms:

– writing in a journal
– talking in pairs/small groups
– reviewing notes

The clear prompt and response can also take different forms:

– specific question with written answer individually or collaboratively
– producing a graphic organizer: venn diagram, frayer model
– using white boards to draw ideas or model
– verbal discussion in class where teacher facilitates or directs students participation

What are your ideas?

Posted February 26, 2008 by Jack in knowledge transfer, learning, pedagogoy, teachnology

Is the scope of K-12 education shifting?   Leave a comment

What do education, information and globalization have in common? Take 3 minutes to watch this insightful clip and you have a different perspective on the short and long term future – I promise.

If you are a teacher like me, I think this video will rock you. I came away wondering …. “What am I preparing my students for – really?” After watching this I am steering the scope of my teaching to take a turn as I shake my head in sheer awe…..

Posted February 13, 2008 by Jack in innovation, learning