How To Communicate Effectively Online

4 Tips on How to Communicate Effectively Online

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s our innate ability to adapt during trying circumstances. The transition from an established, work setting such as school to your own home, does however impact numerous qualities that we have grown accustomed to; such as Communication.Read More

Image showing a young student learning and engaging in online classes

How To Increase Student Learning & Engagement When Learning Goes Online

Motivating and engaging learners can be challenging in any learning environment. But understanding self-determination theory will give you a structure for helping you do this. Self Determination Theory represents a broad framework for the study of human motivation. It suggests that when people are motivated to grow and change, they become self-determined.

We become more self-determined when we:

  • Master tasks and learn different skills (Competence)
  • Feel a sense of attachment and belonging to people (Relatedness)
  • Feel in control of our own goals and behaviours. (Autonomy)

Moreover, when people engage in activities for an inherent reward, (intrinsic motivation) it’s more motivating than carrot and stick ones (extrinsic motivation). For educators, this means that when designing online learning, it’s important to think about how to incorporate the elements listed above into online lessons or curriculum.

Creating Online Learning Experiences to Motivate and Engage Learners

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing a number of evidence-based strategies to help educators motivate and engage your learners in online teaching environments. The strategies and activities will:

  • Encourage student-to-student interaction.
  • Facilitate online discussions, virtual brainstorming, and problem-based learning, and
  • Develop reflective thinking practices.

Because I don’t want to keep you waiting, check out educator Michael Cohen’s three strategies for increasing student engagement online that you can use in your classes today!

Coming Soon

Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) Series 2

In 2020 we released series 1 of TOM. A series of over 50 bite-sized videos to help educators navigate the world of online teaching and learning. Series 2 will take what was included in series 1 further. It will look at the drivers of motivation, engagement, and learning, as well as the key skills educators, need to develop in their students for online learning success.

If you’re curious to find out how educators around the world are faring, check out some of the interviews and blogs we published last year.

Taking Classes Online Interviews

Episode 1, Dr. Heather McClue about the trials and tribulations of taking her law classes online.

Episode 2, Eduardo Mórlan gives advice on how to teach languages remotely.

Episode 3, Physical Education teacher Kylene Simmons talks about how her school used technology to engage students in health and physical education classes.

Taking Classes Online Blogs

 Taking European Studies and Modern Foreign Languages Online,

Making Adjustments during Remote Learning

Preparing Students With Disabilities To Return To School.

Finally, if you’ve got a story to share or would like to write a blog, send me an email and I’ll be in touch.

References

Chyung, S.Y., (2001) Systematic and systemic approaches to reducing attrition rates in online higher education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(3): 36-49 DOI: 10.1080/08923640109527092

Kerr, S. (2011). High school online: Pedagogy, preferences, and practices of three online teachers. Journal of Educational Technology Systems,39, 221–244. doi:10.2190/ET.39.3.b

Park, J-H., & Choi, H.J., (2009) Factors influencing adult learners’ decision to drop out or persist in online learning. Educational Technology and Society, 12(4):207-217

Roblyer, M.D. (1999) Is choice important in distance learning? A study of student motives for taking internet-based courses at high school and community college levels, Journal of Research in Computing in Education, 32(1):157-171, https://doi.org/10.1080/08886504.1999.10782621

Ryan, R.M., and Deci, R.M. ( 2000) Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being, American Psychologist, 55(1): 68-78, DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68

Sankarn, S.R., and Bui, T. (2001) Impact learning strategies and motivation on performance: A study in web-based instruction, Journal of Instructional Psychology, 28: 191-198

Skinner, E. A., & Belmont, M. J. (1993). Motivation in the classroom: Reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(4), 571–581. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.85.4.571

Illustration of online learning in 2021

EdTech News – January 2021

2021 has started off with homeschooling in the UK. A webinar I attended earlier this week on Lessons Learned from Covid-19, made it clear the correct term is online learning and not remote learning as there is nothing remote about it. It certainly brings us closer together in that virtual way, but it also opens up new opportunities, such as amazing guest lectures from people who would have otherwise never travelled to give a lecture. You can watch Educate’s webinar here.

At Makematic, we’re continuing to do our best to support those teaching and learning from home with great educational content. For all the teachers out there, you can have a look at our Teaching Online Masterclass course, which justifiably puts pedagogy right at the heart. Our first Masterclass was a huge success, so we’re now in the process of creating a second one and we can’t wait to share it with you in Spring. 

The second ongoing project I wanted to highlight is our Untold History collection. Especially, after this week’s events in Washington and Georgia, there isn’t a better time than now to educate children about America’s incredible history through stories about people, artefacts and events that perhaps aren’t that well known. These videos are sure to engage students and could be a great starting point for a debate. Visit https://untoldhistory.org/ to watch the videos. 

Finally, a story that was written during the first lockdown, but is even more apt now. There’s a huge immediate need for Social-Emotional Learning not just in the classroom, but also in the workplace and at home. There should be a greater focus on adult’s and children’s health and well-being in all that we do. 

Wishing you all the best for 2021. 

Animated drawing of wifi symbol, books and laptop to show different methods of teaching

The Acceleration Of Online Teaching And Learning

The whole notion of online teaching and professional development is not an old one. In fact, I was surprised to learn that its history begins way back in 1981 when the Western Behavioural Sciences Inst in La Jolla, CA, started running distance education for business executives via computer conferencing. Since then, many multinational businesses have grown within the space and traditional businesses have metamorphosised through a move to online learning. 

Kids are turning up aged 5 at school now with a digital-savvy to rival the best. Teachers have access to whiteboards, laptops, internet connections, online resources from publishers, brands, non-profits, digital content, VLEs and it all works swimmingly. Right? Well judging by what I have seen of my son’s first one year and one month of primary school, there’s still room for improvement.  

When faced with a complete lockdown and need to provide proper online teaching, the local education system, appeared to creak at the seams. Maybe it is because it doesn’t seem as though there has been a concerted effort to couple the introduction of new technology in schools, with the introduction of blended learning methodology in teacher training. This would overall raise the bar in state education and without this approach, digital learning and digital content become ancillary to the ‘analogue’ classroom experience.

My first interaction with online digital learning was around 15 years ago in the professional space when a member of my team excitedly showed me Lynda.com, now of course Linked In Learning. Lynda was the gateway to the world of online learning for me – many of the experiments and projects we were attempting to do at that time as an early digital publishing team, were beyond our combined knowledge and capability, and being on tight budgets invariably we would learn software packages or web design techniques via the easy-to-use searchable interface that Lynda provided. I didn’t look back.

Since then, there has been a massive increase in the amount of both office and classroom hardware and software being produced and sold all around the world along with all manner of different attendant courses on how to make everything work.  

In the classroom, the ubiquitous classroom whiteboard is supplemented with voting pads, laptops, iPads, and a whole host of other technology hardware and software products and services. As this has grown, the amount of video content has grown targeting teachers and giving them tips on how to use it.

This year the COVID crisis has highlighted both the need for increased interaction with online resources in any form of education for both teachers and learners.  Our own recently launched TOM – Teaching Online Masterclass is a free online professional development resource for teachers making the leap into remote teaching and learning. Teachers, who hold a crucial role within the education eco-system, are being rapidly upskilled in the methodology of teaching both in the classroom and online using a blend of different learning experiences. This is key to creating the community they create in the classroom, in the online space – a definite challenge. If they don’t, they risk being left out in the rain. Their pupils will become alienated and the process will become soggy and tired.

We have learned from my son’s school that at the flick of a switch, his year one teacher can take the classroom experience and re-create it online with individual 1:1 teacher Zoom time factored in for each and every child online too.  We now have a timetable for home-learning should the school be closed, and if it’s needed will give him 1:1 teacher Zoom time every two days – something which in its own right is no mean feat. 

Teaching and learning are going through an enforced change right now.  With little or no notice, thousands of schools up and down the country are having to adapt and change to home-schooling supported by the teacher online.  Whilst the last lockdown was pretty much a write-off educationally from the perspective of every fellow parent that I’ve spoken to, there seems to have been a huge technology uptick in our local school since. Systems have been geared up to make sure that everything can be run as if it were in the school, and a questionnaire sent before the term even started has made sure that every child has access to the technology needed in a home-schooling environment, if just via a smartphone.  

We are hoping that school stays open, but if not, then this time round, teachers and their pupils have better support.  Let us hope it will be a more fun and educational time.

Teaching Online Masterclass logo with logos from Adobe, ClickView, iCivics, Makematic and Participate

Launch Of Professional Development Videos To Help Educators Adapt To Online Teaching

We’re pleased to announce that Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) a free course for educators to help adapt to online teaching is now available to view at tom.makematic.com

TOM is a free online professional development resource for teachers making the leap into remote teaching and learning. With a focus on pedagogy over technology, it’s a catalogue of bite-sized videos produced in partnership with Adobe, ClickView, iCivics and Participate. TOM contains 50+ professional development videos from K-12 online teaching experts about online pedagogy, designing online classes and curriculum, building communities of practice and digital well-being.

“TOM is a series that has been created with K-12 educators in mind. It focuses on online pedagogy over technology and really takes into account what the research tells us works in this space. The contributors were carefully chosen because of their expertise in the K-12 education space, as practitioners or professionals who really know what it takes to be a super online educator. More than ever educators are crying out for resources such as this, and that’s why it’s such an exciting project to be involved in.” Tara Walsh, Makematic’s Director of Engagement and Innovation, said.

“We work with tens of thousands of incredible teachers who are facing so much uncertainty in their work. That makes it extra important for one thing to remain certain – that teachers are talented professionals who know what effective instruction looks like. With the right guidance, there’s no reason they can’t transfer that effective instruction to online spaces. TOM is that guidance. It meets teachers where they are and provides targeted and convenient coaching to elevate their online practice.” said iCivics’ Chief Education Officer, Emma Humphries.

TOM is now available to watch for free at tom.makematic.com.

TOM is also available at Adobe Education Exchange. Sign up to earn an Adobe digital badge and 4 hours of accredited professional learning.

Image of teachers and students in the classroom learning

What Does It Mean To Support Students With Learning Disabilities?

Lately, I’ve been doing a fair bit of work with my school leaders to help our staff be better positioned to teach and support our Students with Learning Needs (SWLN). It’s not to say that our staff are not doing anything – they are. It’s also not to say that they don’t know what they are doing – on the most part, they do. But I’ve come to the realization that there is, a lack of understanding in knowing the ‘why’ behind their supports, (aside from the obvious why that is).

Why do we modify, adjust or accommodate the learning needs of students?

The obvious answer lies in our legal obligations. The Australian Disability Discrimination Act (Government, 2020) and Disability Standards for Education (DEAT, 2018) relate to ensuring that

(1) a person is not treated unfairly because of their disability and

(2) that a student with a disability can learn and participate in education on the same basis as their peers.

Within our classroom and our teaching practice, it is up to us to ensure that a SWLN is able to learn and is not made to feel different because of their struggles. I mean you wouldn’t ask a student with a broken leg to run 100 metre race, would you?

And it’s the words – modify, adjust and accommodate – that I’ve come to realise that staff struggle to understand. By unpacking the differences between modification, adjustment and accommodation I’ve seen a real change in classroom practice.

Let’s unpack this further

Modification. In education terms, modification means that changes in academic expectations need to be made. That the student is working at a level below their peers, and as such, we need to modify the curriculum expectations to enable them to achieve and feel success. A student with an Intellectual Disability or a Developmental Language Delay requires modifications. They are cognitively behind their age appropriate peers so cannot be expected to complete the exact same output as their peers. Teachers need to modify their level of work so that it is more cognitively appropriate. Students who require modification may also benefit from accommodations and adjustments, depending on the subject and their challenges.

Accommodations and adjustments can be discussed in the same manner. This is where teachers need to make decisions that either accommodate the disability or the learning is adjusted because of the disability.

  • When we accommodate, we use our knowledge of the learning challenges for the student and use this for their outcomes.
  •  Yet, when we make adjustments, we are changing the way we expect an output from a student because of their challenge.

Take Dyslexia for example – it is a Specific Learning Disorder generally related to reading and writing. We can’t ask a student with a reading disability to sit and read a passage of text aloud to the class, or even to themselves, without some sort of accommodation or adjustment. To accommodate the dyslexia, a teacher would avoid asking this student to read aloud. To make an adjustment for dyslexia would be to allow the student to use assistive technology that reads aloud to them as they follow along.

How to know which is appropriate?

This is where your knowledge of your student in your class is paramount. When planning your lesson or assessment task, teachers need to take the time to consider the following question for each SWLN.

  • Is the student capable with a couple of tweaks or will it not be enough to just tweak?

If the student is still not going to be able to achieve with adjustments, then modifications might also need to be made.

Always ensure you have consulted with both the student and their family to ensure they are

(1) aware that changes to their curriculum need to be made and

(2) to give the student a voice in their learning – that they have been consulted and agree to what you’re planning for them.

I always tell my parents that they have a PhD in their child, and this goes a long way to helping us at school to know how best to support their learning journey.

Videos About Artifacts Bring History To Life

Artifacts bring history to life because they help develop key historical skills.

“Artifacts engage students physically, emotionally and intellectually. [They] require the application and practice of twenty-first century skills. […] Transcend the limitation of language, age, gender and discipline [and] tell stories. Discovering and telling the stories of objects helps students assimilate data into an orderly pattern. Our minds recognize and remember patterns. Artifacts engage students in effective learning. In other words…Artifacts Teach.”

William Virden, University of Northern Colorado

The Museum Of Artifacts That Made America

As a former secondary history teacher, I regularly used replicated and real artifacts in my history class.  I used artifact boxes from museums, recreated archaeological dig on campus and even mummified a chicken. To tell you the truth, I took the study of material culture, real and fake a bit further than most of my colleagues. And, I blame my background in archaeology for this. It paved the way for a love of artifacts and a desire to use material objects in my history classes as much as I could.

Unfortunately, we don’t have collections of artifacts to send to schools. But we’ve created the next best thing: a growing collection of bite-sized videos called the Museum of Artifacts That Made America. This series tells the untold stories of artifacts that have played a significant role in American history. It explains the historical relevance and detail of the object and provides its significance and context.

From the first video game to a chapstick spying device to the cotton gin. Series 1 titles include: The A7L Space, Suit, the Negro Baseball League, DJ Kool Herc’s Turntables, Hamilton’s Writing Desk, the Chapstick spying device, The Stature of Liberty, The Skidi Star Chart, the Cotton Gin and the Harvard Printing Press, Five-Shot Colt Patterson, The First Video Game (Tennis for Two), Keds, Windshield Wiper, The Ruby Laser and Abraham Lincoln’s Top Hat.

Let’s Hear From The Production Team

Our production team enjoyed creating this series so much! The team included: Producer, Zoe Lack, Script Writer, Lee Henry, Lead Animator, Dan McGarrigle and Sound Engineer, Kevin Gillen.

“I’m really proud to have worked on the American artifacts series. It was a fun and rewarding challenge to try and visualize and bring humor to these stories of American ingenuity. I even learned a few things that surprised me, like using a chap stick as a spy device during the Watergate scandal or how the first tennis video game was created on an oscilloscope. I hope viewers get as much enjoyment watching them as I did in creating them.”

Dan McGarrigle, Lead Animator

Using Artifacts Videos In The Classroom

Understanding the origins and significance of artifacts is so very very important. We take material objects for granted. But when we delve deeper it can be surprising what can be discovered. In fact, one of the most interesting class discussions I’ve ever had, was one we had about toilets. Yep, I said it, toilets. The discussion started in ancient Rome, moved to the development of the modern toilet, toilet habits, hygiene, social norms, disease and finally toilet humor. The students were engaged and interested and learnt so much that day.

But enough about me, here are three activities for you to use when using the Artifacts That Made America in your classroom.

Activity 1: Things You Didn’t Know

Use this activity before watching the video.

  1. Divide the students into 5 or 6 groups. Assign the group themes or topics. Either provide groups with a series of images, videos, still and articles about their topic, or give them some classroom research time to do some research. For example: if you were using the Chapstick spying device video, your five themes could be: The Cold War, President Nixon’s presidency, Watergate, Cold War Espionage, Key events in the 1970s.
  2. Using their assigned resources, each group will develop a list of five ‘things they didn’t know’ about their assigned topic. To create their lists, students can use large sheets of paper and markers or post it notes.
  3. When groups finish creating their lists, ask each group to share their five facts. Ask groups to provide evidence as to why the facts they chose are important to know.
  4. Combine each group’s list of five ‘things you didn’t know’ to create a collaborative list of Things You Didn’t Know. These can be displayed somewhere in the classroom, on post-it notes or digitally using a tool like Trello.
  5. This activity can be extended to incorporate less or more groups. But make sure that each group shares 5 things to the class.

Activity 2: A-E-I-O-U

Use this activity during and after watching the video.

  1. Explain the activity to the students before watching the video. They will watch the video, without taking notes and will be required to fill in an A-E-I-O-U chart afterwards. Tell the students that they’ll watch the video twice.
  2. Show the students the A-E-I-O-U chart and answer questions they may have about it.
  3. Watch the video, but do not let students take notes. 
  4. Once the video has finished, ask the students to fill in their A-E-I-O-U charts individually, in partners or groups.
  5. Watch the video one more time, and allow students to further add to their chart.
  6. Get students to share what they learned, and discuss the questions that have been posed as a class.

Activity 3: A History Of [Your Town/City] In 30 Artifacts

This one has been inspired by a New York Historical Society teen project in 2012, which was in turn inspired A History of the World in 100 Objects. Get each student to choose an artifact that reveals a piece of your town or city’s history and write a story about it. When pieced together, the artifacts tell the story of the town/city’s history and demonstrate the important role artifacts have in telling that story.

Over To You

Now it’s time for you to explore the first season of Artifacts That Changed America. from our series Untold. A free collection of short, compelling history videos and animations designed to shine a light on the stories that don’t make it into the classroom.

For more information about Untold visit the website at untoldhistory.org

Teacher standing in front of her students at school

Preparing Students With Disabilities To Return To School

This is the second article in our series of educator insights. In this second article, Leader of Learning Support, Kate Macpherson talks about how she’s preparing vulnerable students to return to school.

Many countries worldwide are beginning to reduce restrictions. They are starting to open up their town and cities to some semblance of the life they knew before covid-19. This includes schools. 

Our students have not stepped foot inside their school gates for a couple of months. Other countries will be longer. When my state government announced the return to school timeline, I asked my students to give me an emoji rating of how they felt. Their responses included ???????, and some a whole combination of these!! These responses were from my year 9 class and none of them have a disability.

Let’s Talk About Students On The Autism Spectrum

Since the announcement, I’ve had a few phone calls with families who have a child with a disability. The parents’ reaction has led me to wonder – how do we prepare a student with a disability to return to school? Especially students on the Autism spectrum. Many who have already struggled with all the changes occurring in their life, and that’s not including what is happening in the world at the moment. Change is not easy for these students. 

Some of the concerns raised in my conversations include:

  • I’m not looking forward to seeing my classmates
  • I’m worried about the workload when I return
  • What will I do without my iPad at school?
  • I’m nervous about seeing everyone again – I like being home 
  • I don’t want to wear my school uniform again
  • I don’t know what to expect when I return
  • I don’t want to go back to school, I like learning from home

So, how do we prepare our most vulnerable students at this time? 

Let’s Start Slowly

  1. Find out from your students what they are worried and excited about – it’s always important to focus on the positives!
  2. Normalize your students emotions, especially their fears of the unknown. As their teachers, we also have our own fears and worries about what is to come and how school will look and work.
  3. Ensure all staff who have contact with this student are aware of these feelings so they can respond appropriately for their subject. Have a common response so as not to confuse the student in these preparations.
  4. Be willing to talk about their return to school – don’t be afraid to have these conversations with your students.
  5. It is best to gradually build up their return to your classroom. Seek their feedback about what they liked about your subject or class during remote learning, and ask them to suggest ways it could work in the physical environment.
  6. Plant little seeds about changes your school is making due to social distancing guidelines and personal protection measures.
  7. Support your parents as well as the student – this is difficult for them as well!
  8. Encourage parents to gradually build up the transition back to face to face learning
    • Start putting on the school uniform gradually, adding one item each couple of days until they are wearing their full uniform in the last couple of days of remote learning
    • Slowly reestablish bedtime and morning routines that they would be expected to follow once back at school – a lot of my students are rolling out of bed a few minutes before their morning homeroom!
    • Start to bring back some of the pre-lockdown norms and expectations at home such as limiting screen time, (difficult when we are expecting them to still work on their computer during the school day, but this refers to the fun screen time).
    • Discuss the differences and slowly ease back on the fun screen time.

I do not know exactly what our return to school will look like at this stage, but I do know that there are many families and students who need our support to make it as smooth as we possibly can in such a time of uncertainty. I am aiming to keep them informed and to slowly build up their positive mindsets and willingness to cope with, yet another, change!

14 Awesome Free Online Educational Resources For Teachers And Parents

With all that is going on at the moment, it’s easy for schools and parents to be overwhelmed with the whole idea of online classes. 

To make the task of finding quality content easier, Makematic has curated what we consider to be the most useful places for you to go to help you; either take your classes online or for schools already there, to further enhance what they’re doing.

We’ve started by sharing what our partners at Participate, Adobe, Vidcode, Scholastic and Unity are doing, and followed it up with other sites we think are worthy of your time.

Participate – Survive Leaning At Home With Kids

The folks at Participate have created a free Learning at Home resource for both teachers and parents. In addition to the resources that are on the site, there is a thriving educator community which you’ll be able to join. 

Adobe – Distance Learning Resources

Whether your school routinely supports distance learning or is facing unexpected closures, Adobe has assembled resources and learning opportunities to help educators engage remote students through online learning. This resource offers so very much from courses, lesson ideas, article, blogs, webinars, events, professional learning courses and like Participate a thriving online educator community.

Vidcode

Vidcode is a creative coding platform for teens. The website has courses that teach computer science, object-orientated programming, web programming, design and JavaScript, most of which need very little parental support. To support schools through COVID-19 Vidcode are allowing schools to sign up and access the Vidcode full curriculum until May 2020 or until schools reopen. We created a series of curriculum-linked videos. You can check them out here.

Scholastic

Scholastic has created a website with resources to keep kids reading, thinking and growing whilst they are at home. There projects from pre-K to secondary that are built around either stories or videos. Young people will be able to do these projects on their own, with their families or with teachers.

Unity Teach and Student

Unity Teach

Tonnes of resources for educators to show you how to use Unity to create interactive products and experiences in 2D, 3D, AR and VR.

Unity Student

Free to 13 + in the United States and 16+ in the UK and the  European Union, can access the real-time 3D development platform and workflows used to create immersive experiences across industries. Young people will be able to independently build the skills they’ll need for a career in AR/VR, games and more.

Learning Keeps Going and Home Learning UK

Learning Keeps Going has been created to help keep the education community going. They are a coalition of education organisations who have curated strategies, tips and best practices for teaching online. The organisations include: EdSurgeConsortium for School Networking (CoSN)Education WeekDigital PromiseState Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)Council of Chief State School Officers and ISTE.

Home Learning UK is being led by educators who have come together to offer time and expertise to support colleagues, parents and students in the UK and beyond.

Zoom

One of the leading web conferencing tools. Students and teachers can fill in an online form using their school email addresses and are then verified by Zoom will have any accounts associated with that school’s domain also gain unlimited temporary meeting minutes, according to a site set up for the process overnight. The free Basic accounts are also available by request in Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Poland, Romania and South Korea.

Innovate My School

To support schools that are closed, Innovate My School curated a list of all “home / remote learning” tools and promotions on the EdTech Impact platform. This is being updated regularly so it’s a good one to keep going back to.

UNESCO Distance Learning Solutions 

UNESCO has put together a list of educational applications and platforms to help parents, teachers, schools and school systems facilitate student learning and provide social caring and interaction during periods of school closure. While these solutions do not carry UNESCO’s explicit endorsement, they tend to have a wide reach, a strong user-base and evidence of impact. Most of the solutions are free and with several support for multiple languages.

Pearson

For a small handful of schools that have already been affected and have concerns around supporting teaching and learning at this time, Pearson are offering free support on primary, secondary and revision resources and have created hints and tips for online delivery.

Flipgrid

Flipgrid’s aim is simple. To engage and empower every voice in every classroom or community by recording and sharing short, awesome videos. Here are two really useful blogs for parents and teachers around Family Learning with Flipgrid and Remote Learning with Flipgrid.

Chartered College of Teaching

If you visit the site, you’ll find four Future Learn courses to help educators use technology in the classroom.

Share My Lesson

A cornucopia of resources ranging from preschool to high school on all curriculum areas. The resources range from videos to lesson plans to activities. They also have a community that you can join to expand your professional learning network or to get some help. Other content providers are doing similar things, so it’s probably a good idea to check out your favourite ones.

Makematic

Last but certainly not least, we have lots of free videos and animations. A mixture of teacher CPD, classroom resource and family projects, these resources can be accessed here.


Teaching Key 21st Century Skills In Every Classroom

Research by The Sutton Trust found that 94% of employers, 97% of teachers and 88% of young people regarded ‘life skills’ as being at least as important as academic grades to future success.  These life skills include what we commonly refer to as the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

Developing these key 21st-century skills is an ongoing process and mastery takes many years to achieve. Research has shown that two things can really help these skills – explicit teaching of these skills and extra-curricular activities. Whilst we can’t help with extra-curricular, we can help educators develop these skills to be explicitly teaching them in the classes.

That is why we worked with Participate to develop the series – The 4Cs. Part professional development part classroom resource, the series will help educators:

  1. Understand how to teach these skills in their classes on a daily basis, 
  2. Understand how these skills are used in the workplace
  3. Better prepare lessons to develop these skills with those they teach.

What’s Included?

Educator Professional Development

Series 1 – What are the 4Cs?

8 live-action videos with educators explaining what the 4Cs are and how to teach them in every classroom.

4 educator podcasts case studies where educators talk about how they have implemented the 4Cs into their everyday teaching practice.

Series 2 – In the workplace

4 live-action videos with people talking about what the 4Cs look like in the workplace.

Student Facing Resources

Series 3 and 4 can be used in so many ways. They can be used as whole class activities or as part of a blended or flipped learning experience. Whilst series 3 and 4 have been created as standalone resources, they can be used as a sequence.

Here’s an example:

You’ve decided that you want to develop your student’s creative thinking skills by introducing them to lateral thinking

You can engage your students with the skill by watching How To Be More Creative With Lateral Thinking from series 3. Following watching and discussing the contents of the video, as a class or on their own, students could develop this skill by completing any of the following activities from series 4:

Series 3 – How can …?

12 animated explainer videos that give the audience an understanding of how and why each of the skills can be developed by focusing on different sub-skills of each of the Cs.

Communication and CollaborationCritical Thinking and Creativity
Giving and Receiving Feedback
Understanding Body Language
Social Skills
Listening Skills
Creating clear messages
Email etiquette
Multiple Perspectives
Being Opening minded
Analysing arguments
Ideation
Divergent Thinking
Lateral Thinking
Series 4 – Activities

12 animations designed for individuals to develop skills on their own. These can be used in a classroom as a whole class, as part of a blended or flipped classroom methodology.

Communication and CollaborationCritical Thinking and Creativity
Improving concentration
Mic expressions
Are you a good listener?
Funnelling questings technique
Relaxation for public speaking
The subject line pitch
Questioning basic assumptions
Rebus puzzles
Recognising patterns
Brainstorming on your own
The alternative uses test
The elevator problem

Access the entire series here.

Should You Be a Teacher Vlogger?

Teachers as vloggers isn’t a new idea – lots of smart educators have been taking to YouTube for years to share their ideas. But is it something every teacher should be doing?

Some Examples

Kindergarten teacher Bridget Spackman created The Lettered Classroom Youtube channel, taking viewers on a digital journey through a typical school day. Viewers get a peek inside her classroom sessions, she shares teaching practices and discusses her students learning.

Vlogging allowed Spackman to find her niche, further developing her craft and love of online education.

“My YouTube channel has become the heart and soul of my business. This is where I can connect with inspiring teachers and those who are already in the classroom. I talk about organization, meeting standards and making connections through all grade levels.”

SmorgieVision is the personification of colourful learning. Chock-full of silly hats, funny mustaches, and glitter – colliding with rockstar teachers – all in the name of lifelong learning. Kindergarten teacher Greg Smedley-Warren is the man behind it:

“My heart is Kindergarten! I believe that every student can succeed and that it’s my job to give them the tools they need. My classroom is full of energy and fun. We are always singing, dancing, moving, and learning. If you were to appear at my classroom door you would see chaos. But it’s really organized chaos.”

Why Vlog?

For some educators, creating a YouTube channel is an opportunity to build a business. For others it might be an opportunity to develop a role as a thought-leader, leading to other professional opportunities offline.
But for the majority the rationale might be a bit simpler:

  • Sharing what you know to help other teachers
  • Playing a part in a professional learning community
  • Building useful connections with other educators
  • As a process of self-reflection
  • As a creative outlet
  • Or as a way to advocate for a different approach to teaching and learning

Whatever the rationale, getting started is simple. All you really need is a smartphone and a YouTube account. But if you’d like to take it a step further, here are a few quick tips:

  • Start by watching – and following – other educators you admire
    What makes their videos work well? What ideas can you “borrow”?
  • Pick a theme
    It’s unlikely that you can cover everything, so define a theme for your channel
  • Invest (a little) in equipment
    You shouldn’t spend a fortune to get started but if you’re serious about using video, you might want to invest in a decent DSLR and good sound. Spend some time learning the basics of editing software too.
  • Be Consistent
    Set a regular schedule for when you will make and upload new content
  • Get Help
    Reach out to some of those educators you’ve been following
  • Have Fun and Keep Going
    You’re unlikely to become a viral sensation overnight so make sure you’re enjoying the process

The Power Of Storytelling

Messages delivered as stories are at least 22 times more memorable than facts. One of the reasons why storytelling is used as a tool for the transmission and sharing of knowledge, values and experiences.

Storytelling is exploited by educators to attract interest and to assist understanding. It is used to socialise, communicate, improve literacy and comprehension, help students remember, increase empathy and encourage cooperation. In fact, it can be combined with every kind of learning and teaching.

Why Storytelling Is So Powerful

Evolution has hardwired our brains for storytelling. That’s because our brains become more active when we tell stories rather than if we hear facts. Our whole brain is put to work.

Stories have so much impact because we don’t just hear them, we experience them. Some really interesting MRI research has even demonstrated that our senses can react to stimuli in the form of a story. It showed that when a story is being told, the areas that light up in the listener and the teller’s brain is the same. Pretty cool huh?

But it doesn’t end there. Storytelling

Helps us remember. The brain releases dopamine into our system when it experiences an emotionally charged event, making it easier to remember.

Increases Empathy. Stories stimulate the parts of the brain that helps us intuit others’ thoughts and emotions.

Encourages Cooperation. Our brain produces oxytocin after listening to a character-driven story. Oxytocin has been shown to help motivate us toward cooperation.

Digital Storytelling In Every Classroom

Digital storytelling is the modern version of the traditional art of oral storytelling. We see examples of digital storytelling everywhere – advertising, social media, television and movies. And it can be leveraged by all educators to help students learn, be engaged and motivated.

With Unity Technologies we have created a series of resources to help educators across all curriculum areas use and create digital stories in their classes.

Four animated explainer videos explain what digital storytelling is, why storytelling is so powerful, the pedagogical reasons to use stories in the classroom and how to develop 21st-century skills through storytelling.

Eight videos describing the digital storytelling process itself. These videos are practical videos that not only explain in detail the different stages of the digital storytelling process but provide real examples of activities to do in the classroom.

A set of teacher showcase videos. Real educators talk about how they have created elements of digital stories with their classes.

Finally, a set of Careers at Unity videos to give young real insight into the types of careers you can pursue in the games industry.

View the entire collection here.


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