Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

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TECHexpress Episode 19 with Lynda Cutting and Craig Dunstan is out!

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1:1 iPads – Working with fewer apps can make for more success…

English: An image of an iPad 2.

English: An image of an iPad 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This recent post, ‘iPads in the Classroom – Can we make it simpler.’, linked above,  from Daniel Edward’s blog, SydEd, is worth reading and noting! By both administrators and teachers. Daniel’s good advice is relevant to us at ASV, especially as our schools and teachers develop their 1:1 programs and apps lists.

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Some excellent English usage, and other Infographics from huntingenglish

Alex Quigley, (I identified Alex from his twitter handle, @HuntingEnglish ) writes on his blog of the same name:

I have to say I am mildly addicted to finding these great infographics. They are an excellent way of presenting a vast amount of information in a lively, visually interesting way. I am set on finding the best of them and when I get some time in the summer actually creating my own!

Alex certainly has found some very informative and useful infographics, which you might be able to put to good use in your teaching and learning programs.

Infographics | huntingenglish

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Assessment for Learning: The Cramlington Teaching and Learning Model


Zite (Photo credit: AJC1)

It’s been quite some time since I blogged! The main reason I guess is that I have been concentrating on using twitter to develop my own personal learning network, but as a new school year begins it’s time to make another start with this blog.
I have also been exploring a lot of iPad apps and one of my favourites at the moment is Zite!
I came across this blog post yesterday in my iPad Zite magazine app. See url linked below.
I’m sure you’ll find it an interesting read. It is a short article. It supports a focus on how we can continue to use Formative Assessment strategies in our classrooms in our teaching to improve students’ learning achievement.
When you read the post, record it as professional reading, and maybe write a short reflection, perhaps using a Visible Thinking Routine such as ‘Connect, Extend Challenge’. (ASV teachers: See your ‘Visible Thinking’ book – received at 2012 ASVAC!
Zite personalized magazine app. Available for free in the App Store  www.zite.com


eReader or Tablet Devices of iOS and Android Variety? Which do you recommend?

A colleague recently forwarded me the emailed query quoted below. It came from his colleague was seeking information about the value of introducing eReaders in his school for loading on textbooks and novels. I thought I’d share my response:

We are currently looking at the feasibility of issuing eReaders to all our students for all their required school textbooks and novels. I would like feedback from anyone how has already taken this path and maybe able to advise on any pitfalls and a reliable and cheap supplier of the eReader and the associated texts.

While eReaders have their place, I disagree with the purchase of eReaders merely as a storage for textbooks.
I also disagree with the premises stated in this gizmodo.com article that was referenced in one of the responses to the email writers query. I stand to be corrected but from the points argued in the article it is my opinion that the writer may not be an educator. I do agree however with responses given by the main ‘Comment’ writer , who I suggest writes from the point of view of an educator. The writer of the article quite unfairly I believe uses the commenters seeming preference for Apple devices to try to discredit the comments. While the commenter might prefer Apple products his/her arguments could equally apply to android as to apple devices, as such devices allow apps to be downloaded that are appropriate for pedagogical use.
To be frank, I’d never vote for the purchase of a device for education purposes such as an eReader, however cheap, if it is just being purchased to able to access textbooks or even novels in digital form. How is this different to having paper versions?  It is my opinion that this is false economy.
As well, while other devices, whether android or iOS are more expensive they allow for far more 21st century pedagogical variety and functionality, and all of those ‘smart’ devices allow access to free eReader apps such as iBooks, Kindle etc., which if absolutely necessary allows for digital textbook and novels upload.
To my mind this is much better economy, even if in the first instance fewer devices are able to be purchased.
I would argue too that the educational world is actually moving quickly towards Bring Your Own Device programs that alleviate initial and ongoing costs for multi-use devices e.g. purchase, insurance etc.
As well schools and educators often decry and ban the use of personal devices in schools, however I would argue that administrators and teachers really do need address the question of how they might work with their students to create a culture of trust to allow for the educational use of personal digital devices in schools rather than perpetuate the development of a culture of banning. I would ask, ‘Have you explored for example the value and use of twitter to connect, network and learn, messaging to survey, blogging to collaborate globally, podcasting to reflect, videoing to engage, wiki to collaboratively publish etc. etc.’ Personal digital devices ranging from smartphones of all varieties, iTouchs, iPods, Android and iOS tablets can all be utilised to carry out all of these tasks and more.
I would in fact argue that these days there is no need to use textbooks at all in a 21st century learning and teaching environment. We are entering the conceptual age, where inquiry, curiosity, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and reflective practice (by student as well as teachers) among other skills, are paramount for our students to develop for life-long learning. All of this in opposition to retaining 20th century, education-still-in-the-Industrial-Age focused pedagogy. Isn’t using an eReaders for textbooks merely transferring traditional methodology to new technology? Just transferring paper-based books into a digital form, with some interactivity added? Isn’t this just doing the same old  thing in a new way rather than a new thing in a new way?
Content, information, interactive or not, is abundant, even unlimited these days via the Internet. Better for teachers to consider, explore and implement the pedagogical changes needed for delivering 21st Century learning and teaching and then allow the students themselves to decide what tools they need to use to support their individual learning needs, than make the tool the focus of learning. The tool chosen may be the humble pencil or may indeed be a multifunctional digital device.
It is important to remember that 2012’s Year 12 students right down to our Preps have never been educated in the 20th Century; indeed those annually entering our schools now were all born in the 21st Century. Sobering thoughts I think for educators.
And here endeth my rant and rave.
What is your opinion? I’d be pleased to know.

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‘Making Time for Feedback’ by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

More on formative assessment and feedback from ASCD’s September 2012 edition of Educational Leadership journal:

‘Feedback for Learning’

Douglas and Nancy write:

‘Teachers don’t need to mark every mistake a student makes. Here re some smart ways to save time and give great feedback.

Ask any teacher what he or she needs more of, and it’s a good bet that time will top the list. Anything that promises to recoup a little bit of our workday time is sure to be a best seller.

One overlooked time-saver is in how we use feedback. Teachers know that feedback is important for teaching and learning. Unfortunately, most secondary teachers have far too many students to make it realistic to provide individual, face-to-face feedback, so they rely on written feedback to do the heavy lifting. In an attempt to provide students with information about their performance regularly, they grade papers until the wee hours, writing carefully constructed comments in the margin.

Too often, this type of feedback transfers the responsibility for learning back to students, who have little understanding of what they need to do next…’ READ ON…

Two videos are also attached to the article:

1. EL editor-in-chief Marge Scherer’s interview with Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.

2. Algebra teacher Ben Teichman from Health Sciences High in San Diego answers Nancy Frey‘s questions about feedback

Source: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept12/vol70/num01/Making-Time-for-Feedback.aspx#interview

Related articles:

‘Feedback for Learning: Seven Keys to Effective Feedback’, Grant Wiggins in Educational Leadership (gilsoncollegelandt.wordpress.com)
Seven Keys to Effective Feedback (annmic.wordpress.com)

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Formative vs summative assessment – and unthinking policy about them



 I meant to add the link below (from a 2011 Grant Wiggins blog post) as a related article on my last post on Grant’s articles about Feedback. All of his articles and posts are interesting to read together.

Grant explains the context for his post. He writes in response to an email query about a Formative and Summative assessment policy.

Grant writes:

‘…In theory, I would define ‘formative’ assessment as “useful feedback with an opportunity to use that feedback” to perform optimally on later summative assessments…’


‘…what makes a formative assessment formative – is whether I have a chance to get and use feedback in a later version of the ‘same’ performance. It’s only formative if it is ongoing; it’s only summative if it is the final chance, the ‘summing up’ of student performance…’

Read the full post here:

Formative v Summative Assessment