: : Tech skills: web navigation, texting, emailing
My guess is that many of you have heard of Remind 101
, a very helpful tool for teachers who want to use texting (or email for those without cell phones or unlimited plans) to contact their classes to tell them important information. Most teachers use it to warn learners about a school closure due to snow or remind them not to forget to bring something to class. To get a sense of how it works watch this video
Lesson ideas: As with many technologies, the intended use is not always the ultimate use or at least not limited to it. (I’ll bet you know where I am going with this…) It is not exactly ideal that this uses only one way, “top-down”
communication, but I can see ESOL and ABE teachers using this easy-to-use technology to send small bites of information that might help accelerate learning outside the classroom.
So what do you think? Am I pushing it and stretching the boundaries of this technology or can it be used for educational purposes? Tell us what you think or if you have used Remind 101 or other technologies in this way. Steve Quann
- Messages can only be 140 characters in length but the key points or a brief summary of a lesson could provide some (albeit limited) help in the retention of material.
- Since the teacher can set when messages can be sent they could send a vocabulary word a day.
- And perhaps a question to ponder, received by students before class, might help with getting their minds wrapped around a concept or at least get them coming to class looking forward to what they will be learning.
Share any comments, your experience using this activity or any suggested variations you have (particularly using other technologies).
: : Tech skills:
cut and paste, drag and drop, zoom
Many of you have probably used an interactive whiteboard and either added text, shapes, or colors to it. Mural.ly
is an online whiteboard on steroids. You can add photos, links, video, presentations, and comments. It even has a chat box that you can use during collaboration.
It you are still not sure of the concept go to Mural.ly
and immediately test it out with the neat widget right there on the home page without signing up. If you do sign up, it takes a minute to learn, with the exception of the zoom in and out feature. But if you have ever used Prezi
it will be a snap.
Instead of suggesting one particular lesson here, I am going to generate a few ideas that could help you get started using it with your classes. Then I hope others will generate more potential lesson ideas below. Lesson ideas:
Before beginning an actual lesson, make sure that you have at least demonstrated the features, if not had them try hands on. Consider showing them the instructional video clip. Before a lesson:
In small groups, (the board could look busy if too many students are on) use it to engage learners and activate schema around a topic. A simple example might be when a class is reading about a news event. Ask them to demonstrate the location of the event with text, links, or pictures, or ask them to add YouTube news video of related stories. During a lesson:
- Have beginning ELLs (or others) share photos of their family and then describe each family member.
- Ask students to add their favorite YouTube videos on a specified topic. For example: For ELLs, the past tense; for ABE, fractions; and for Workforce preparation, how to prepare for an interview.
- Each student shares a link to their favorite educational website. The other students in the group go to the sites and share one thing that they learned on them.
- Have students use the comment feature to share their thoughts about another student’s posting.
- As a writing activity, ask students to work together to give directions or instructions. You might suggest they use arrows pointing from one step to another.
- Have students use Mural.ly for a collaboration tool as they brainstorm ideas, gather resources, and organize their presentation. Make sure they use the chat box to communicate!
- Create a holiday board, for example in anticipation of Thanksgiving, with images, videos and “stickies” stating what they are thankful for. (You might want to consider a project that deals with how Native Americans view this day.) Follow up with an activity after the holiday where students might add photos or comments about how they spent the day off.
After a lesson
Steve Quann Share any comments, your experience using this activity or any suggested variations you have (particularly using other technologies).
- Using stickies, ask learners to reflect on how they will use the information they learned in a lesson.
- Have students share their project documents, presentation or video on Murla.ly.
- Add comments on each student's work for the other students to read
- Use the chat feature to ask questions about a topic and have students respond in real time.
Today's lesson is from Joe Panzica
, adult education instructor in central Massachusetts. The goal of the lesson is to provide practice or an introduction to spreadsheets and coordinate geometry to students with little or no experience with either. Students will calculate and plot points based on an equation and see how an equation can describe a straight line, a smooth curve, or a symmetrical pattern.
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- Put the function table and coordinate grid on the board. (You can download and project the template spreadsheet above).
- Enter an appropriate number in the x column of the function table. Then enter a y value. Ask students where the point these two numbers describe would fall on the coordinate grid. Get someone to plot it with help from the class. Then plot it yourself (by hitting "enter" if using the projected spreadsheet)
- Repeat the above using numbers that form a straight line. Plot at least five points.
- Review with notes on the board: A point on a grid is identified by two coordinates: x (horizontal) and y (vertical).
- Erase the function table and write a simple linear equation in the equation box. Enter x values and let the class calculate the y value. You can demonstrate the algebraic method of writing the equation, plugging in the x value, and solving. Then plot the points forming a straight line. You can also enter some y values and then calculate the x values.
- Have students access the template on their computers. At first they may need to be given simple linear equations, but gradually they can make up their own. Each student should create at least 3 graphs. As they get more comfortable, encourage them to note the y intercepts and to change the slopes. (Exponents will create a curve)
Examples of progressively more complex graphed points and equations
At first, students might just want to practice entering coordinates for a while. This can be demonstrated if you have a projector or a SMART board.
It’s your judgment when they are ready to grapple with equations or the concept of a y intercept. In the graphs below we've started with y = x and then y = x + 3.
Computers tend to use the carat symbol “^” to indicate exponents, used here for y = x^2.
You can encourage students to play with Excel functions which include trigonometry functions plus a lot more! In the example below, we've used y = sin(x).
Share any comments, your experience using this activity, or any suggested variations you have below. If you have an idea you'd like us to feature, e-mail us Leah Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!
The Fall issue of The Change Agent
is all about the technology in our lives. Our own Steve Quann participated on the editorial board. (Find out about how you can be on a future Change Agent editorial board
). In this issue, articles explore the benefits and drawbacks of the new technologies that are increasingly part of our daily lives. The magazine and its website (available via subscription
) offer many discussion prompts and ideas for use in the classroom, but here are some extra ideas for combining The Change Agent’s
discussions and language skill-building with some technology use in the classroom. Lesson idea:
Many of the articles written by adult students grapple with the pros and cons of personal technology. Page 25, “Social Media: Charting the Benefits and Challenges
” by Betty Garcia, shows one student’s attempt to organize her thoughts in the form of a table. Make sure that everyone has a basic understanding of what social media
refers to. Then read through the article and table and discuss Betty’s points. For more background reading and discussion, you may want to have additional articles on hand, such as “It Hurt. I was Furious.
” by Sterlin Reaves or “Finding Felix: How Facebook Helped Us Find Our Little Brother
” by Makeda Laurent.
Have students recreate the table in Microsoft Word including the items they agree with and adding in their own ideas. To make the table, open Word and select “Insert” then click on “Table”. Select a table that is three columns wide by seven rows high to match the article. Fill in the text
Take it further:
- Once the chart is complete, challenge students to add bullet points to each line giving examples.
- Urge students to improve the presentation of their charts by tweaking font options, alignment, and shading.
Share any comments, your experience using this activity, or any suggested variations you have below.Leah Peterson
- Have students come up with the content as a group. Students could each contribute their opinions about social media and combine them all in a list. Working as a group or individually, they could then create the table and determine where each item belonged. If this step was done individually, afterwards they could compare where they’d placed each item and discuss any differences they found.
- For some online fun, check out another social media pro/con list. Then click on the "create a list" tab to make your own. You could use the topic of social media or pick a new issue. This type of list lends itself well for issues where a decision needs to me made. Note that you need to set up a free account for it to calculate the results and show you a graph, but you do not need an account to just preview the information.
: : Tech skills: typing numbers and inserting data into cells Of the fabulous three of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, I find that Excel is least used by teachers integrating technology. Perhaps this is because some think it is harder for students to learn, but maybe it is because being math-phobic like me, some teachers view it as more daunting than need be. (Do fewer teachers integrate spreadsheets into projects and other classwork? Let us know what you think and comment below.)
Anyway, here is a very simple activity that actually could even be used in beginning ESOL classes when starting to talk about students’ families. It also has the potential to be extended into a complex project with more advanced ABE/GED students reading census data and surveying their own community. Using this spreadsheet template you can have your students input their own family sizes to find the class' average.
- Begin by explaining to the class your purpose for the activity. (e.g., “We are talking about families…” “We have been learning about averages…” “We have been working on understanding charts and data from the census...”)
- Review the meaning of the word “average.” Ask the class if anyone knows what the average family size in the United States is? Ask if they know the average in countries where they (or their ancestors) are from? Depending on the class, you might ask about changes over time and why in some countries family size has diminished.
- Present a challenge or driving question. Depending on whether or not you plan on a broader-reaching project or not, you might ask (and discuss) one of the following:
- What do you think the average family size is in our class?
- What do you think the average family size is in our school or community?
- What is the average family size in the United States and how does it compare to our community or class size?
- If need be, introduce or review basic functions of a spreadsheet and when they are used.
Options for the activity:
Closing activity: After students have gathered and entered data, have them save the spreadsheet and report their results to the class.Note: If you are using this as an English language learning activity, if need be, before they start, prepare students on how to ask questions. For example: “How many people are in your family?” Encourage them to ask more questions too such as, “How many sisters do you have?” Don’t forget to work on phrases like: “The average family size in my survey is/was…”Follow up/Extension: Have the class answer and discuss the following questions:
- One computer class - If you are working on one computer (preferably with a projector) ask students to come up and type their name and family size into the cells. So they keep engaged, ask the rest of the class to call out the number when an individual types in the family size. Also have them notice and call out the new average as it automatically changes. (Click in the cell and show them how the average has been programmed to change as data is entered. If your goal is for students to learn this aspect, use this segue to instruction.)
- 1:1 – If you have a computer lab make sure students are able to access the document. Ask students to take a short survey and enter the names of students next to them.
- In the cloud - You might create a spreadsheet document on Google Drive where students can all access and enter their own names and family size at the same time.
- Is the average family size what you expected it would be? Why or why not?
- Organize a survey of the school or local community. Then compare the data to census data. If there is a difference can they think of why? Have a class discussion and consider being in experts as guest speakers on the topic.
Steve QuannShare any comments, your experience using this activity or any suggested variations you have (particularly using other technologies).
- Ask the class to develop a new survey on a different topic.
- Expand the survey using a free survey tool such as Survey Monkey.
- Focus more on the math and spreadsheet aspect such as creating formulas with this being one example of how to do so.
- Ask the class to research the following: Why is family size larger in some countries? Was the average family size larger? If so, why?
We hope you were able to attend the webinar on September 6, Improving Adult Literacy: Using Technology to Support Learning and Motivation
, but if you missed it, the recording
is now available. For more details about the webinar, you can refer to our previous post
Join us for a FREE webinar on Friday, September 6, 2013, 3-4:30 pm Eastern sponsored by the LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center.
In this webinar we will bring together a panel of practitioners and participants who use technology to support learning and motivation. We will discuss what has worked well and what has promise in the years to come. Panelists will give a 3-minute presentation on a technology tool, approach, or innovation that they feel has the most potential to support adult learners in making literacy gains. Following these brief presentations, there will be questions from participants and a roundtable discussion.This webinar will be rooted in the lessons from Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation. This study, published in 2012 by the National Research Council, is based on a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education entitled, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research. It describes principles of effective instruction to guide those who design and administer adult literacy programs and courses. It also includes a review of technologies that show promise in supporting adult students in learning.
Participants are asked to register
in advance for the webinar and test their systems. Once the host approves your request, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the meeting. PresentersThe panelists are thought leaders, professional developers, and classroom teachers from nine different states across the nation. Panelists include:
Pre-webinar AssignmentsIn addition to reading the technology section of the Improving Adult Literacy Instruction report, participants should watch a 10-minute video clip of Dr. Art Graesser speaking on technology and adult literacy. This clip begins 33 minutes and 20 seconds into the video. We also encourage participants to review last week's discussion, How Technology Can Transform Adult Education, in the Technology and Learning group of the LINCS Community. To join the LINCS Community, go to: https://community.lincs.ed.gov/ You may also be interested in viewing an introduction to WebEx. If you have questions about this webinar, please contact Ben Bruno.
- Christopher Bourret
- Barry Burkett
- John Fleischman
- Susan Gaer
- Akira Kamiya
- Destiny Long
- Tim Ponder
- Steve Reder
- Lisa Robertson
- David J. Rosen
The conversation has started, but it's not too late to join in!
Event: Guided LINCS Community discussion with Drs. Art Graesser and David Rosen
Date: August 13-19, 2013
Where: LINCS Community: Technology and Learning group
How can technology transform adult education and current practice?
During August 13-19, 2013, adult education and technology experts Art Graesser
and David Rosen
will facilitate a discussion aimed at answering this question in the LINCS Community’s Technology and Learning
group. All current community members and the public are invited to participate in this discussion about the use of education technology in the adult education field to innovate teaching and learning to meet the needs of adult learners.
This dialogue is in response to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s call for public comments on a draft report recently released on LINCS: Connected Teaching and Personalized Learning: Implications of the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) for Adult Education,
produced through a contract with the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
Drs. Graesser and Rosen will share their reflections on the draft report with the LINCS Community in the Technology and Learning discussion group. To guide the discussion, this event will consider the following questions:
- How can the adult education field realize the vision and goals of the NETP, given its limited resources?
- Which NETP areas should be the field’s immediate focus, and what are the implications for policy and practice?
- How can the vision of connected teaching and personalized learning be applied to the adult education field and for adult learners currently unconnected to an established program?
Please join us in the LINCS Community to share your comments! Those who are not yet registered for the LINCS Community will need to create an account
to join the discussion.
This post is written by Diana Satin, education consultant and ESOL teacher.
Making a video of an interaction on a computer screen, or screencasting, has been extremely useful in my work with distance-learning ESOL students. Since we only meet for orientation and testing, it’s great to be able to point students to a video showing how to use the course website, or how to use a supplemental website I give them for their particular language needs. I also use it to explain corrections when a typed explanation is too laborious to type or to read. Having a visual and auditory explanation can be easier to follow than a handout for some people. And they can always go back to listen to it again.
I use Screencast-O-Matic
. It comes in free and pro versions. I happily pay the $15 annual fee for the editing and other goodies.
To see some examples, you can visit my class site: http://dianaesl.weebly.com/index.html
To see course how-to videos, click USALearns, SkillsTutor, or LiveMocha. To see how-tos for other sites, click Extra practice and look for resources that refer to video instructions. Have you tried using screencasts to explain how to do something for your students? Share your links with us in the comments!