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Benefit of Clickers in Class?

July 21, 2010

Stephanie Chasteen wrote a blog post over at “The Active Class” that fits will with the theme of this blog.  So I wanted to share it here.  You (if any of you are still out there) will have noticed the lack of activity lately.  Yet, this is a long-term project, it’s about quality not quantity :).

In her post, Stephanie outlines some research on using clickers in a classroom. Her post provides several links to additional research.  I found this research interesting as it demonstrated that clickers did not cause an improvement in student achievement.  Go read her post and the researchers’ attempts to explain this finding.

Technology – Roadblock to reform?

April 30, 2010

I know the title of this post will ruffle some feathers, but the research here reviewed raises some important issues based on observation of a tech-enthusiast teacher.  While the study classifies as a case-study so is not widely generalizable, the findings that technology hindered student-student discourse and caused more focus on completion of tasks rather than deep processing draw out important implications for how we use technology in our classes.  Those of us who enjoy technology must use caution so that our desire to integrate technology does not hinder our other goals for students. Read more…

The Importance of Generalizations in Social Studies

April 25, 2010

Shiveley & Misco (2009) suggest that generalizations are a logical step in teaching kids to think critically about what they know and transferring that knowledge to a variety of topics within the social studies. After understanding the relationship between “fact” and “concept” students will be capable of producing high-quality generalizations that eliminate isolation of ideas and stimulate crossover and relevance to the social studies curriculum. Read more…

Reform by Reframing

April 22, 2010

The human mind struggles to reframe existing systems. Breaking away from what has been to redesign something potentially better requires courage, vision, and initiative. This may be one of several obstacles to educational reform, but one school in Israel accepted the challenge with remarkable results. Read more…

The Failures of Elementary Social Studies

April 12, 2010

Since the inception of NCLB and standardized testing in math and language arts, teachers of all disciplines (specifically the creative arts) have been voicing distaste in how their subject is being treated as a distant thought. In this article, Dr. Paula A. Mathis (U. of Hawaii) and Dr. Nichelle C. Boyd (U. of Mississippi) discuss the effect that this is having on pre-service teachers in grades K-6 with the emphasis placed on answering the following: Read more…

Mind Games & Teacher Beliefs

April 9, 2010

Teacher Beliefs

A teacher’s beliefs about the nature of knowledge, her subject area, herself as a learner, and about how kids learn are among the many types of beliefs teachers possess about their vocation. Researchers have repeatedly found strong relationships between teachers’ educational beliefs and their actions including planning, instructional decisions, and classroom practices (see Pajares, 1992).

Research Summary

In her in-depth case study on the influence of a teacher’s stance of wonder, curiosity, and exploration on student engagement and learning, MacKenzie (2001) collaborated with a seventh-grade science teacher in a suburban middle school. The researcher spent many hours as a participant-observer in Ms. Moran’s classroom taking field notes, recording audio and video, examining Ms. Moran’s teaching materials, and conducting interviews. The data collected over the research period was analyzed by the researcher in collaboration with Ms. Moran. Read more…

Sequencing Middle Grades Social Studies

April 4, 2010

The Social Sciences encompass a number of different fields that must be woven together to provide the learner with an accurate understanding of the discipline. Teachers must be well versed in geography, history, culture, economics, and politics and government and sequence the knowledge appropriately so that the course does not haphazardly jump from topic to topic in an arbitrary manner while losing the learner in the process.

Guidry and Carson (2010) have identified the difficulty that many teachers have in sequencing their course appropriately which forces the instructor to rely on the textbook as a sole means of instruction rather than a tool to facilitate learning. Read more…