Tag: individual differences (Page 1 of 2)

Personalized Learning With Richard Culatta

In this TED talk, Richard Culatta speaks about innovative learning and personalized education. It’s truly inspirational and gives some great, practical tips.

Richard Culatta is an internationally recognized leader in educational innovation with experience in k-12, higher education, and workplace learning environments. Culatta is known for his thoughtful approach to bringing new ideas and collaborations to the education ecosystem. Culatta is currently serving as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and as the Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

MMI Revolution: A Personalized Children’s Book

This. Is. Incredible.

I advocate, fight for, and bleed the mixed-media, interactive revolution, but I seem to always think of this as a digital-only field. It’s not. By definition, MMI is all kinds of media, and this digital-only thinking hinders the very revolution we are trying to spark.

One of my favorite MMI projects is The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home, a “magical, personalized storybook.” The user (a parent) inputs some basic information about the child, and orders a personalized picture book about a trip through the universe. Each trip is personalized, including finding the child’s name in a constellation of stars.

This really is worth checking out — for the revolutionaries, and especially for anyone who has children in their lives. https://www.lostmy.name/en-US

10 Sites for Differentiated Instruction

This is a fantastic list of resources for teachers (and everyone else) who wants to start dabbling in Differentiated Instruction and Personalized Learning.

Differentiation, the ability for teachers to meet the needs of a variety of learners, is a key component for successful teaching.  While there are lots of ways this can be done and lots of tools that educators can use to accomplish this, there are many sites that can help facilitate the process. This list is in alphabetical order.

  1. BrainNook – A wonderful site/apps for Math and Language Arts that generates detailed common-core aligned reports allowing educators to set assignments targeting students weak areas  or areas for improvement.
  2. Clever Island – A fantastic site that covers a wide range of subjects: Math, Reading, Science, etc. Also, CI is geared for students to learn at their own pace as well adapt to children’s different learning styles.
  3. Gummii – An innovative site (private alpha)/app for different areas of Math (fractions, addition, subtraction).  Gummi immerses students into a educational 3D world (similar to Minecraft) where they solve mathematical equations tailored to differentiated instruction.

Read the Rest at TechLearning.com

Ten Elements of Educational Storytelling

This post is part of a series that explores the Basics of Educational Storytelling. Largely taken from my master’s thesis, The Value and Principles of Educational Storytelling (which can be read here), this I will lay the foundation for an educational storytelling model regardless of setting and medium. We look at the basic elements of storytelling, five guiding principles and educational stories, and practical tips.

Check out the rest of the series.

This is it. We have taken a long journey through educational stories and barely scratched the surface. In the best tradition of “memory episodes” from T.V. shows we love, I wanted to walk down memory lane. Here is the entire series boiled down into ten-ish bite sized bits 🙂

1. Why Educational Stories?

Stories are part of humanity, and have been ever since, and probably before, humankind took to speech. John Niles even went as far as to call humankind Homo Narrans, storytelling man. Cultures have developed myths, legends, and works of fiction core to identity, history, and moral behavior, and the transmission of knowledge. This is not a past society phenomenon. Narrative still shapes our daily lives, be it intentional or unintentional. It seems that stories can be a great deal more than fun.

Fables are specifically useful in character education and the passing along of traditions, mores, and cultural ethics. Stories are not just effective in teaching social-oriented principles (like fables). Process-oriented principles like math, the scientific method, problem solving, and even computer programming can all benefit from storytelling.

2. A Good Story, Well told

At its heart, and educational story must be a good story. We can all relate to some cheesy special (though I bet you learned some good stuff). But, its simple: the better the story, the more attached we get, and the more powerful the opportunity to learn.

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Interactivity and Educational Storytelling

This post is part of a series that explores the Basics of Educational Storytelling. Largely taken from my master”™s thesis, The Value and Principles of Educational Storytelling (which can be read here), this I will lay the foundation for an educational storytelling model regardless of setting and medium. We look at the basic elements of storytelling, five guiding principles and educational stories, and practical tips.

Check out the rest of the series.

We are nearing the end of our Basics of Educational Stories series. In total, we have looked at the basic elements of story, the value of educational storytelling, the Hero’s Journey and how it can be used in educational stories, and the first four of five principles: Hero Audience Bonding, Emotion and Learning, Presentation, and Learning Profiles.

Now we dive into the fifth principle: Interactivity.

In many ways, interactivity is a capstone of the other principles. When a story is interactive, it gives a more genuine bonding experience and increases emotional involvement, makes a much stronger presentation, and complements a variety of learning profiles. If interactivity is the capstone, it can also be called the bedrock. When a story is interactive in some way (even if just encouraging the audience to picture themselves in the protagonists place), it encourages the other principles by design. Interactivity holds it all together and shoots steroids into an educational story.

By designing stories that are interactive and allow the student the chance to participate, the repetition of processes can be made more interesting. Younger students, especially, have a great ability to learn as they interact. The hero may ask the audience for help, the storyteller may include exercises into the story, and the story will most
definitely include the hero working through the processes in order to reinforce the learning.

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Educational Storytelling: Presentation, Craft, and Learning Profile

This post is part of a series that explores the Basics of Educational Storytelling. Largely taken from my master”™s thesis, The Value and Principles of Educational Storytelling (which can be read here), this I will lay the foundation for an educational storytelling model regardless of setting and medium. We look at the basic elements of storytelling, five guiding principles and educational stories, and practical tips.

Check out the rest of the series.

I’m going to attack two guiding principles of educational storytelling in this post, since they are so related.

Craft

It is not enough, simply to tell a story with a good message. Even if all the steps are perfectly executed in a captivating tale where the lesson is wonderfully presented, students do not learn by listening. Students learn by doing. It is important, after the story has concluded, to include segments of practical discussion. Not theoretical analysis of the literature, but truly pragmatic discussion of the lesson. Students must be encouraged to
act on the lessons learned and explore the topic with greater depth.

Learning Profile

A Note on Learning Styles

All people do not learn in the same fashion. This is something that has been known to mankind since the beginning of time. However, in recent years, some more scientific study has been completed that has helped educators understand how different students process information. Theories of multiple intelligences abound. Robert Sternberg broke intelligence into three separate categories: academic, creative, and practical (Berger, 2006).

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(Five) Guiding Principles of Educational Storytelling

This post is part of a series that explores the Basics of Educational Storytelling. Largely taken from my master”™s thesis, The Value and Principles of Educational Storytelling (which can be read here), this I will lay the foundation for an educational storytelling model regardless of setting and medium. We look at the basic elements of storytelling, five guiding principles and educational stories, and practical tips.

Check out the rest of the series.

Educational storytelling means a lot of things to a lot of different people. It can be expressed through classroom instruction, student writing, moral teaching, and singing songs around a campfire. These may seem like far-flung and unrelated activities. It becomes even more muddled when we talk about educational storytelling for different purposes: Identity/Social Oriented teaching (like morality tales), and Process Oriented Teaching (like math and science). How can any of these things be reconciled? It feels like there are too many things going on to find common ground.

Well, all of the above can be boiled down into to some commonalities. This is not an end-all list, but a place to start.

In my research, educational storytelling in all its forms can be built upon five basic principles: Hero Audience Bonding, Emotion and Learning, Presentation and Craft, Presentation and Learning Profile, and Interactivity. We will touch on each one here, and dedicate a post to each in the future.

1. Hero Audience Bonding

We create a hero the audience can learn through, vicariously. Once a character is made identifiable, the audience is able to “see through their eyes” and experience the world as they would through empathy and emotion. As the hero progresses through the story, learning and problem solving, the audience will learn the same lessons — given they have bonded with the main character.

2. Emotion and Learning

There is a reason you remember the joke your grandfather told you at six years old, but you cant remember what you had for breakfast. Emotion makes things memorable. This isn’t just an axiom, its biological science. There are specific, easy things you can do in any type of story to entice the brain to store the information away.

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Personalized Instruction in the Classroom

This post is part of a mini-series introduction to Individual Differences in Instruction and Storytelling. I lay the groundwork for deeper adventures in Differentiated Instruction, Learning Styles, Personalized Stories, and the like.

Check out the rest of the series.

Now that we have looked at the theories and concepts behind differentiated instruction, let’s see what it looks like in the classroom itself. I am not a classroom teacher, so I will rely on the best. Scholastic Publishers has a fantastic resources for teachers. This article was excerpted from the Scholastic Professional title, Differentiating Reading Instruction, by Laura Robb and can be found at http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-differentiated-instruction.

I have taken a few excerpts  to give the gist of the article, but I highly recommend you read the original.


 Step Inside The Classroom

“So what does differentiated reading instruction look like? I invite you to step inside my eighth-grade classroom at the beginning of my reading workshop. After a brief warm-up exercise, and a read aloud for enjoyment, I introduce an essential component of my approach to differentiated reading instruction “” the teaching read aloud. To be certain that I am reaching every student in my class, I use the read aloud to model how I apply reading strategies and to show students how to use questioning, discussion, and writing to build comprehension and new understandings while reading (Beck & McKeown, 1997, 2006; Robb, 2000, 2003). In fact, the read aloud has become the common mentor or teaching text for my students, and a primary teaching tool. In addition, I use it as a catalyst to raise students”™ awareness of issues and to build background knowledge.

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8 Pillars of Personalized Instruction

This post is part of a mini-series introduction to Individual Differences in Instruction and Storytelling. I lay the groundwork for deeper adventures in Differentiated Instruction, Learning Styles, Personalized Stories, and the like.

Check out the rest of the series.

Along the road of Individual Differences, we’ve talked about Differentiated Instruction, Multiple Intelligences, Learning Styles and Profiles, and Learner Assessments. Now, its time to sum up all this foundational theory into the pillars of personalized instruction. After this we can finally talk practicality in the classroom and in stories.

Excerpts from Laura Robb’s Differentiating Reading Instruction can be found on Scholastic Press’s teacher resources article “What is Differentiated Instruction.” In it, Laura discusses some key principles for differentiated instruction in reading that can be applied to personalized instruction in virtually any form. I have added a few more broad concepts into these 8 Pillars. These are concepts only, not specific implementations And, honestly, most of these are review of what we’ve already discussed.

Laura’s Key Principles

These are quoted directly:

  1. Ongoing, formative assessment: Teachers continually assess to identify students”™ strengths and areas of need so they can meet students where they are and help them move forward.
  2.  Recognition of diverse learners: The students we teach have diverse levels of expertise and experience with reading, writing, thinking, problem solving, and speaking. Ongoing assessments enable teachers to develop differentiated lessons that meet every students”™ needs.
  3. Group Work: Students collaborate in pairs and small groups whose membership changes as needed. Learning in groups enables students to engage in meaningful discussions and to observe and learn from one another.
  4. Problem Solving: The focus in classrooms that differentiate instruction is on issues and concepts rather than “the book” or the chapter. This encourages all students to explore big ideas and expand their understanding of key concepts.
  5. Choice: Teachers offer students choice in their reading and writing experiences and in the tasks and projects they complete. By negotiating with students, teachers can create motivating assignments that meet students”™ diverse needs and varied interests.

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Learner Assessments

This post is part of a mini-series introduction to Individual Differences in Instruction and Storytelling. I lay the groundwork for deeper adventures in Differentiated Instruction, Learning Styles, Personalized Stories, and the like.

Check out the rest of the series.

Every individual learns differently, processes information differently, and has unique interests. These factors form a Learning Profile. But how do we fill a learning profile? Is a student a kinesthetic learner or musical learner? What motivates her to learn? How much scaffolding does he need? To answer these questions, we must assess the individual.

Assessments are for more than just building a profile, however. They also measure growth. We all know of the controversies around standardized testing, and I don’t want to entrench this series in the middle of that debate. But whatever side you fall on, we must have a way to measure how effective our strategies are, how well students are learning, and where our opportunities lie. Assessments are the key. We do a pre-assessment and then a post-assessment. These assessments are not meant, necessarily, to position a student relative to other students, but to determine how they have grown in a certain area. Luckily, others have done a lot of the ground work for us. Below is a list of different types of assessments used in differentiated instruction.

Types of Assessments

From 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom by Judith Dodge:

  • Summaries and Reflections. Students stop and reflect, make sense of what they have heard or read, derive personal meaning from their learning experiences, and/or increase their metacognitive skills. These  require that students use content-specific language.
  • Lists, Charts, and Graphic Organizers. Students will organize information, make connections, and note relationships through the use of various graphic organizers.
  • Visual Representations of Information. Students will use both words and pictures to make connections and increase memory, facilitating retrieval of information later on. This “dual coding” helps teachers address classroom diversity, preferences in learning style, and different ways of “knowing.”
  • Collaborative Activities. Students have the opportunity to move and/or communicate with others as they develop and demonstrate their understanding of concepts.

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