Category Archives: FIP

Creating Engaging Learning Objects

Creating an effective Student Council team dynamic

Learning objects: have you heard of them, or is this a new term to you?  A learning object is one object or item in an online Learning Management System (LMS) that allows the student to obtain information or practice newly obtained information. While learning objects are simple enough to define, they are not as easy to develop.

When preparing to create online content for your students, begin with the AKS (standard) being taught and the learning target for the lesson.  Learning targets help us to create a learning object that has one focus.  One distinct purpose exists for the learning object.  Students may be acquiring new information using a presentation, they may interact with embedded flash cards to preview vocabulary for an upcoming lesson, or they may complete an assessment to show mastery and understanding.  Whatever the case may be, the learning object has one, singular focus.

Breaking the lesson down into focused sections helps the teacher organize pieces of the lesson while helping the students understand what they are doing in each learning object.

  • Engage: This is the activating strategy.  This could be a video that introduces the upcoming unit or lesson, a discussion board that students can use to express their background knowledge, or embedded virtual manipulatives paired with a guiding question.  
  • Learn: What interactive activity can students use to learn new information?  This is a great place for a video, created or curated by the teacher, to teach a new concept.  In math, a teacher may want to record a new strategy students can use to solve a linear equation.  In social studies, a teacher could embed a video sharing information about the history of an ancient civilization.  In science, students may use a 3D science tool to explore parts of the animal cell.  In band, students may listen to a recording of the new piece of music they will begin soon.
  • Practice: This type of learning object gives students the opportunity to practice their newly obtained understanding and refine it when given immediate feedback.  Students may be presented with a math problem they are asked to solve and then are able to reveal its answer to see how they did.  If they were incorrect in their answer, students would have access to an explanation of how the problem should have been solved so they can identify where they went wrong.  In science, students may complete a matching activity between the parts of the cell and their functions.  Practice objects should not be punitive, but rather give students a way to try applying their new knowledge, check their work, compare their notes to the teacher’s notes and then start the cycle over again.  
  • Show: This learning object invites  students to show their mastery and understanding of the standard they’ve learned as they have completed learning activities inclass and online.  Teachers can  offer students the option of representing their learning using a web tool of their choice to promote deeper engagement  or by offering a few options that appeal to a variety of learning styles.  The intention of this type of learning object is for the students to show what they have learned so the teacher can evaluate the learning and provide additional feedback.  Teachers can use rubrics to assess an object submitted to a dropbox or posted to a discussion board.  Classroom Assessments or quizzes can measure student understanding.
  • Extend:  As students submit assignments to show what they know, teachers will be able to identify common misconceptions among students and/or develop remedial lessons for students who need additional support.  During this time, teachers can offer students an opportunity to extend or deepen their understanding through an Extend activity.  An Extend activity could include a current event article  related to the AKS (standard) being taught that students interact with, or it could include suggestions for going deeper into the content.  An Extend activity could be a preview into the next unit or a preview of how the information learned will “reappear” at future grade levels or in the real-world.  Extend activities provide a great opportunity for differentiation.

When creating learning objects, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Learning objects should be:

  1. Directly connected to a specific AKS (Standard).  All learning objects should help the student master the content.
  2. Singular in focus.  Learning objects should be focused on one learning objective at a time.
  3. Singular in purpose.  Each learning object should have a clear purpose evident to the student.  
  4. Student facing.  Ideally, the student should be able to utilize the learning object without the teacher present to give verbal directions.  Where directions are needed, they should be written to the student.  When applicable, directions should be read aloud.
  5. Level appropriate.  Differentiation based on skill and ability level should be used when developing learning objects.  Learning objects should also be grade level and standard appropriate.

Let’s start building!  Here’s a planning guide to help you:

DigitalEngagementPlanningGUide

DigitalEngagementPlanningGUide (1)Four steps to keep in mind:

  1. Prepare: Identify your learning targets and create an outline.  Perhaps start with how you’d teach this lesson in the brick-and-mortar classroom, then brainstorm ways students can obtain or interact with this information online.  “If your course doesn’t engage your learners, or overloads them with information, those all-important learning goals are not going to be achieved. Structure your content by dividing it into modules and learning paths so that there’s an achievable path for your learner to follow”  (McEnteggart, 2017).
  2. Create: This could also be subtitled: Build.  This is where you curate interactive materials and create engaging activities while considering a variety of learning styles.  Also consider how students will show understanding.  Will they interact on a discussion board or submit to a dropbox?  Will they practice using interactive tools like Quizlet, NearPod or Quizizz?  Structure your assignment into modules and sub-modules to keep it organized and easy to follow, use learning paths to help drive students.
  3. Deliver: Switch into Student view and see it from their perspective.  Did you create release conditions in your Learning Management System to drive their learning?  Do they work?  Is the content being delivered easy to follow and engaging?  If it’s text heavy, are their options for read aloud?
  4. Measure: Ask your students about the activities.  What did they like or not like about the activities?  WARNING: Middle Schoolers will say they don’t like anything so be specific.  Ask students how long they think they spent on the tasks and then use User Progress to calculate the average time spent on each activity and the module as a whole.  Measure student learning.  Based on their responses to discussion boards and/or test items, how did they do?  What would you as teacher do differently next time?

References

Chiappe Laverde, A., Segovia Cifuentes, Y., & Rincón Rodríguez, H. (2007). Toward an instructional design model based on learning objects. Educational Technology Research & Development, 55(6), 671-681.  http://proxygsu-sgwi.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=27017916&site=ehost-live

Keramida, M., (M.Ed.). (2015, July 08). The Importance Of Learning Objects In Instructional Design For eLearning. Retrieved from:  https://elearningindustry.com/the-importance-of-learning-objects-in-instructional-design-for-elearning

McEnteggart, P. (2017, January 06). 4 Steps To Prepare Engaging eLearning Content. Retrieved from:  https://elearningindustry.com/4-steps-prepare-engaging-elearning-content

 

Flexibility through Mirroring

As teachers across Gwinnett County use eCLASS C&I tool to assist in reaching the transformational level of teaching, they are seeing the benefit of offering students choice of the best strategies and tools to show their learning in their classrooms.

ForresterIn innovative classrooms, Gwinnett teachers at all levels –  elementary through high school campuses –  leverage available technologies to facilitate collaboration. Students are encouraged to bring their own devices, and schools are investing in numerous digital resources.

In such transformed classrooms, technology tools are seamless. At Grayson Elementary, a 2-year investment in digital streaming media players and tablets for classroom teachers is helping to infuse technology to improve instruction.

Spencer, a kindergarten student in Christa Fernandez’s homeroom, checks his math problems alongside his classmates as his teacher stands to the right of the classroom holding an Apple iPad. Mrs. Fernandez has taken a photograph of a recording sheet and completed sample problems for her students using a notes application, which is projected on the whiteboard.

She hands the iPad to Spencer, who works a problem using the same notes app his teacher just used. Spencer’s classmates are listening to him explain his process, while looking at the projection on the whiteboard. The iPad that Spencer uses is mirrored on the board via  Apple TV. By this time, Mrs. Fernandez has crossed the room to assist another student, who has raised her hand.

“With the Apple TV I am not tied to my desk and can walk around and hand the tablet to one of my students to demonstrate their learning,” explains Mrs. Fernandez. “It is a great way to introduce whole group what I want a student to do in a small group or independent technology center.”

landtroop-apple-tvThis school year, Grayson Elementary’s PTA purchased a 3rd Generation Apple TV unit for every classroom. Teachers at Grayson received iPads in 2015, and the Apple TV provides opportunities to make the iPads even more useful in the classroom.

Teachers actively using media streaming devices say that having access to a mirroring application is incredibly helpful and allows students the flexibility of showing what they know and expressing their ideas with a touch of their finger.  

“Anything you can pull up on your tablet can be projected onto your screen, so it frees you up from always using your teacher computer, and since the tablet is small, it allows students to pass the device around,” notes Sara Forrester, a 2nd Grade teacher. “The use of a whiteboard app allows students to draw, write, and solve equations from their tablet.”

Teachers and students have projected tablets in their classroom for demonstrations, to show examples, to explain concepts, and for simulations.

While Apple TV is a popular media streaming device choice for many schools, especially those with larger inventories of iPads, other mirroring device options exist in the marketplace. (One caveat, and definitely a reason to consult with county technology support staff when exploring options, is to insure that the WiFi networks – school system’s network and tablet – will be integrated. If the WiFi networks are segregated, the devices and/or streaming applications likely will not communicate. Test any options before investing).

For teachers who are OK with keeping their tablet in one location, then a VGA adapter (for a 30-pin Dock connector), or other adaptor for the type of tablet owned will permit them to display their tablet’s screen via the classroom projector. Even a document camera might work in some situations.

Robbie Dunn, a 5th Grade Special Education teacher, values the freedom from his computer that a streaming media device gives him.

Since having the ability to mirror, I have been free to roam around the class during a mini-lesson or whole group dissemination of information,” Dunn said. “It also gives the opportunity for students to show their understanding to the class easily, without the transition time needed for students to get up from their seats to go to the board.”  

The familiarity that most students have with tablets and finger operated apps makes mirroring devices a natural complement to the students’ way of learning.

“My students love when I use it for the student selection wheel (an app that randomly selects a student),” said Amanda Poole, a 1st Grade teacher. “Also, researching and streaming videos on the board is highly engaging for my students, especially since they are so familiar with technology.”

Teachers agree that a major advantage of mirroring devices in the classroom is that it is easy to use and quick to get started.

“Its main advantages in my opinion are accessibility and ease of use,” said Dunn. “If I’m sitting with a small group and see a need for a mid-workshop teaching, I can pull up whatever I need to project and students can view it from the center they are in. Plus, I never have to move!”  

Such technology occasionally can become “finicky” with a school’s wireless internet connection, teachers note, such as when the connection between the streaming box and the tablet is lost. While this issue doesn’t happen often, it requires the user to reset the connection or reset the mirroring device all together.

The uses of media streaming devices can be many. This includes watching YouTube or Vimeo videos without having to use a separate device; seamless transition between video clips; annotating documents live with students; displaying pictures of student/teacher work; demonstrating apps; playing review games; using the tablet as an interactive whiteboard (whiteboard apps); using the Khan Academy app; using as a document camera; and creative project presentations. Content within eClass that generates on a tablet can be shown through the mirroring device.

“It’s been a great tool for modeling the use of student devices brought from home as well as applications for student selection and games,” says Poole.

Fernandez, for example, uses her streaming box with BookFlix and Epic to read non-fiction texts. Since her mirroring device pairs with her tablet via WiFi, she appreciates that she can walk around and navigate and check for understanding without being tied to her computer.

During mini-lessons, Grayson teachers say, it is preferable to bring their iPad down to the floor and project from their meeting area instead of having to get up to switch the computer every time they need to show something on the projector.  

With younger learners, says Fernandez, “Apple TV and similar devices are a great way to introduce different technology activities that they will later work on independently.”

Adds Forrester, “I think the streaming device is a very beneficial tool and the more we use it and become more comfortable with it, the more ways we will find to implement it into the classroom.”

Quizlet Live–Fantastic Formative Assessment

Quizlet Live: An Overview

How can we know what students really know about the lessons we’ve been teaching? Aren’t quizzes and major tests enough for teachers to evaluate where students are? Absolutely not! Formative assessments allow teachers to quickly check where students are during the learning process, enabling the teacher to meaningfully modify the lesson (if necessary) so students can master the concepts they’re supposed to be learning, not just being assessed on and moving on to the next lesson.

There are many formative assessment strategies out there, both low tech and high tech. We recently put Quizlet Live to the test. Quizlet Live is a new twist on a beloved tech tool that allows both teachers and students to understand what the students do and don’t know.

Quizlet Live utilizes already existing Quizlet sets to create an engaging assessment for students. It’s teacher and kid friendly and is easy to set up in a few steps. To begin, teachers choose a Quizlet set for the topic the class is studying. After logging into Quizlet, teachers can either access others’ Quizlet sets or create their own. A join code is provided to share with the class, and students are randomly assigned to teams. Then it’s time to move! Students physically move to join their randomized teammates and bring their devices (laptops, phones, tablets) with them.

The game is ready to start as teams compete for the ultimate bragging rights. Since students are able to see the leader board as they are playing, they know exactly where they stand. But students have to be careful….one wrong answer makes the team start over at 0 and begin again. This encourages students to be thoughtful and deliberate when choosing the correct answer– it’s better to be correct than quick in Quizlet Live. The game ends when the first team has a perfect score. Students can play again in the same teams to try and make it to the top of the leaderboard, or teachers also have the option of shuffling the teams so new groups of student can try to make it to the top.

From elementary students to high school students to even adults, the feedback is the same–they love this engaging formative assessment tool. For a demo to see Quizlet Live in action, click here.

Quizlet Live with Elementary Students

Third graders in Ms. Roberts’ class at Mulberry Elementary were up for the Quizlet Live challenge this past April. In an effort to pinpoint specific vocabulary the students needed to review to prepare for Milestones testing, Ms. Roberts chose several Quizlet sets. The topic for review was famous historical figures in the 3rd grade social studies curriculum. In a few clicks, Ms. Roberts created the Quizlet Live set and shared the code with the students. Using a variety of technology devices including laptops and tablets, the students were ready to begin.

quiz 1

The excitement in the room grew as students watched the leaderboard to see where they stood compared to their classmates. Groans of frustration could be heard if a team answered incorrectly and had to start over at zero. However, these talented students persevered and began again. Since students have to work together by talking about the answers and looking at each other’s devices to search for the correct answer, every student was engaged and on task. The collaboration and communication among the groups was amazing, and they supported and encouraged each other to reach their common goal.

2 quiz

Quizlet Live with High School Students

Middle and high schoolers love a good review game just as well as elementary students, which can be seen in Ms. Radloff’s ninth grade biology class at North Gwinnett High School. Students had recently studied viruses and bacteria, and Ms. Radloff wanted to make sure they were ready for their test in a couple of days. She took the Quizlet set she had used with the students, followed the steps found here to create a Quizlet Live game, and students were immediately engaged by getting up and forming their teams. See the students, along with some guest eCLASS Instructional Specialists, play below.

Ms. Radloff had the students play several times with several different Quizlet sets to touch on all the terms they needed to know. Not only did the students see what they didn’t know, they also had the chance to learn by repetition the things they hadn’t quite mastered yet. By working in teams, they discussed the merits of one answer over another (quickly!), clarifying why an answer was or wasn’t correct within the team.

Additionally, Ms. Radloff was able to look at the data provided by Quizlet Live to see what students missed the most so that she could re-teach those concepts before the summative test. In the end, she said, “Students fared much better than my other classes had in previous years.The information in that unit is usually very hard to grasp, but they had it down pretty well. They had so much fun that we played Quizlet Live the rest of the year before tests.”

Quizlet Live has proven to be an easy-to-use, engaging, and useful formative assessment tool that gets high marks from both students and teachers!

Formative Instructional Practices (FIP) CREW

Formative Instructional Practices (FIP)

The Georgia Department of Education has defined Formative Instructional Practices (FIP) as the intentional behaviors that teachers and students use to obtain information about learning so that decisions can be made about learning opportunities. Formative instructional practices are the formal and informal ways that teachers and students gather and respond to evidence of student learning.

Teachers determine what students are understanding and what they will need to learn to master a goal or outcome. Most formative assessment strategies are quick and easy to use and fit seamlessly into the instruction process.  The information gathered is never marked or graded, but is used to drive instruction.  Descriptive feedback should accompany a formative assessment to let students know whether they have mastered an outcome or whether they require more practice.

Implementing:

Teachers have many fun and engaging ways to check for understanding using digital technology. Some of my favorites include:

 

Kahoot!

I love Kahoot for several reasons. When I have used Kahoot in my class, students are highly engaged. Another benefit of using Kahoot is that students and teacher know immediately whether they have gotten questions correct. But one of my favorite reasons would be as students play I can plan my teaching from the questions that students may not understand.

Quizlet

Teachers can create flashcards that review vocabulary, pose questions, and review content. Students are able to quiz themselves, check for understanding, and know immediately if their answer is correct or incorrect. Quizlet has a new feature called Quizlet Live that creates a game where students are randomly placed in groups.  They work together to obtain the correct answer. I Love Quizlet Live!

Classroom Assessments

Classroom Assessments in eCLASS C&I (Gwinnett County’s Learning Management System) is a great way to have students check for understanding. Classroom Assessments can be used to give immediate feedback to students about how and why they missed a question or how and why they got a correct answer.

 

Call to Action:

How have you been able to implement formative assessments into your class? What has worked for you? How can you provide effective feedback and use it to drive instruction in your classroom lessons?

 

Sources:

Formative Instructional Practices: http://www.cgcatogo.com/uploads/1/0/6/7/10675379/formative_instructional_practices_.pdf

Georgia FIP:  The Keys to Student Success:  http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Assessment/Pages/GeorgiaFIP.aspx