We have often talked about PLN (Personal Learning Networks) in the blog but I thought I might share a specific site that you may want to add to your PLN. It is the Teachers Engage site from Intel. This is a community of educators K-12 and the focus is transforming learning with the integration of technology. It is free to register and provides many helpful ideas and tools to use in the classroom.
There are discussion boards, webinars, unit plans, and various communities you can join to meet your particular interests and needs. The resources that are provided are excellent and there are so many of them.
I mentioned webinars, an example of one of the webinars you should attend is tonight, Aug. 7th at 6:00 Central time. Doug Caldwell, Debbie Perkins, and Julie Szaj, all eMINTS Instructional Specialist, will be presenting a webinar called The FUNdamentals of Learning. In this webinar, they “will present on websites that help teachers and students get, become, stay engaged. Focusing on middle school-aged resources, they will show tools and have participants brainstorm classroom uses with an emphasis on back to school planning.”
If you are interested in the Teachers Engage or just want to check out a webinar, come and join them tonight and see if maybe Teachers Engage is a site you might want to add to your PLN.
Terri Brines is an eIS and Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer for the eMINTS National Center.
A few weeks ago we looked at ways to promote self-directedness within ourselves. We shared thoughts about developing your own PLN (personal learning network) to promote your personal growth and development. With the school year just around the corner, you may be thinking, “What might my classroom look like with self-directed students? What positive outcomes might we experience if students learned how to be more self monitoring, managing, and modifying?”
Imagine a classroom were students are self-directed with their learning, behavior, and thoughts? As a teacher, how might you play role in and promote self-directedness in the classroom?
Encouraging students to be a part of the process when creating classroom norms is one way teachers can promote self-directedness. Allowing students to reflect on what they need to do to be a successful learner and member of their classroom community is another way to support students in the process of learning to be self-monitoring and modifying. How might reflecting on experiences from the previous school year assist them with identifying the past way they learn? What they need to be successful in a group? What strategies do you envision using to assist students with creating and being respectful of group norms?
Another area for promoting self-directedness comes in the form of assessment. Helping students create learning plans based on a pre-assessment of knowledge helps them be realistic about what they know and what direction they may want to focus their learning on. When working on long term projects, allow students to be part of the creation of the scoring guide developing descriptors for what makes a good product/project. Another idea is to present students with the standards or objectives for a project and ask them what the learning criteria should be. You can also present students with a rubric that is partially filled out perhaps with the descriptors in place and have students work in groups to decide what an excellent project would look like vs a needs improvement project. Through self-assessment students learn to look at their work with a critical eye, they reflect, and make decisions about their learning all the while giving them the opportunity to learn the skills needed to be self-directed. Self-assessment encourages students to take pride in their work. For additional ideas on a variety of ways to assess with students check out the Intel Assessing Projects, Intel’s Library of Assessments, a tool for creating assessments of 21st century learning. An account is required but it is free and easy to set up. Once you have an account you will have access to the application which includes pre-made assessments as well as a tool to create your own customized assessments to meet the needs of your unique students. Watch this video to see how it works.
Another resource you may want to consider is Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick’s Habits of Mind. Habits of Mind are 16 characteristics to help students be successful. The Habits of Mind provide guidelines for working successfully and interacting with others. Teaching students the Habits of Mind and then asking students to identify Habits they might draw upon or need to complete classroom projects successfully can help them become thoughtful learners. Students also become reflective and self-directed as they use the 16 Habits to navigate problems and challenges in the classroom in an appropriate manner.
As the school year draws near, you might take some time to revisit the Hallmarks of an Effective eMINTS Classroom, a matrix that can outline the progression of changes in teaching practice often observed as teachers complete eMINTS Professional Development. The Hallmarks can be used to assess where a classroom is and can even be used to set goals for teachers, students and classroom community. An Effective eMINTS Classroom promotes students being self-directed and as your classroom transforms into a Constructivist Learning environment, it is imperative to encourage your students to self-modify, self-monitor, and self-direct.
Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.
Bert Werk (Photographer). (2007). Vijfsprong/forked road/crossroad. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bertwerk/2821951515/
eMINTS will be offering the Intel Teach “Thinking With Technology” course this summer at no cost to Missouri educators interested in becoming Intel Master Trainers. “Thinking with Technology” is research-proven professional development for all K-12 classroom teachers, those who have eMINTS or eMINTS4 All classrooms and those who don’t but would like to learn more about technology and teaching. Ask yourself these questions:
* Do teachers come to you for advice on integrating technology into their curriculum?
* Are you proficient using software, e-mail, and the Internet for instruction?
* Will your district/organization support you as a leader of technology professional development?
If you answered “yes,” then you’re ready to be a Master Trainer! Any certified teacher can become a Master Trainer. You’ll receive free, comprehensive instruction, facilitation support, and curriculum review by a certified Senior Trainer from eMINTS to prepare you to recruit and deliver the course to teachers in your area. Master Trainers typically invest a few hours completing out-of-class homework in addition to the 4-day course they must complete. Master Trainers also commit to delivering the course to at least 10 teachers after they have completed their training. All materials to instruct your colleagues will be provided to you at no charge. You’ll recruit participants and deliver the 32 hours of training sometime during the 2011-12 school year or summer of 2012. Master Trainers who deliver the course to at least ten teachers by September 2012 will be eligible to receive a free Flip camera for their school.
Interested? Contact Cathie Loesing; email@example.com for more information or to sign up to attend the course. The 2011 Intel training will be held in Columbia on July 20 and 21 (Days 1 and 2)and on July 27 and 28 (Days 3 and 4) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Participants must attend all four sessions to be certified as a TWT Master Trainer. Lunch and snacks will be provided each day. Participants (or their districts) are responsible for any travel expenses. A Flip camera will be raffled off on Day 4 of the course.