Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeping it Real: Authentic Connections for Students in the Classroom

Most educators would probably agree that learning is most effective when it occurs in a "hands-on", "learning by doing" environment, where students are engaged in real world, meaningful tasks. So how can educators keep it "real" for students? The third target area in the H.E.A.T./H.E.A.R.T. process is Authentic Connections. Authentic Connections represent what people might actually do in the real world - real life issues, themes, problems. The degree of authenticity may fluctuate depending on the age and background of the learner; yet all authentic assessments possess the following attributes: (1) allow for multiple solutions, (2) relate to student’s prior knowledge, (3) have personal meaning, (4) are challenging, and (5) employ complex thinking processes. One of the easiest ways to infuse greater authenticity into student learning experiences is by integrating one of more 21st Century Themes into the learning experience. These themes include:

* Global Awareness,
* Economic Literacy,
* Health and Wellness Awareness, and
* Civic Awareness

You can learn more about connecting to these themes at The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

When observing teachers and providing feedback, there are ways one can suggest making these Authentic Connections in the classroom. Outlined below are commendations and recommendations focusing on the third target area of H.E.A.T./H.E.A.R.T.: Authentic Connections.

Authentic Connections: Commendations
As always, start off with a positive and cite specific examples that the teacher used during the lesson to help students make connections to the content that is being presented. Then suggest the possibility of connecting this content in additional ways. Have the teachers review their own lessons to pinpoint where they can make authentic connections themselves. Additionally try to encourage small steps towards authentic activities by guiding teachers to examples of authentic learning using 21st Century Themes.

Authentic Connections: Recommendations
Remind teachers that all authentic learning experiences possess the following five factors that should be kept in mind while planning instruction:

1. Allow for multiple solutions
2. Relate to student’s prior knowledge
3. Have personal meaning
4. Replicate challenges found in the real world
5. Employ complex thinking processes (e.g., problem-solving, decision-making)

Keeping this mind, we can begin our attempts at keeping it "real" for students as you turn up the H.E.A.T. in your classrooms!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Digital-Age Makeover Construction Kit

General Resources:
21st Century Learning Revisited
LoTi Sniff Test
LoTi Framework
A-Z List of Informal Assessment Strategies
Questioning Toolkit
21st Century Performance Assessments

Math Resources
Math Tools
Get Real: Math in Everyday Life
Math Projects
Applying Math Skills to a Real World Problem
Funny Math Videos on Teacher Tube

ELA Resources

Family and Consumer Science Resources
Online Resources
Family and Consumer Science Website
Thinkfinity -Search by Content for Resources, Lessons

Science Resources

Virtual Labs

Social Studies Resources

National Budget Simulation

Fine Arts Resources

The Audition Room
SFS Kids

Web 2.0 Resources
• Web 2.0 Tool:
Survey Monkey
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
21 Classes
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool: EditGrid
• Web 2.0 Tool:
• Web 2.0 Tool:

Website Construction Resources
Wikispaces for Teachers
Scholastic Home Page Builder
Jog the Web

Interactive Map Resources
Intute World Guide
National Geographic Map Machine
Google Earth

Video Editing Resources
Movie Maker (Windows)
iMovie (Mac)

Publishing Student Work Resources
Publishing Students Resources

Virtual Field Trip Resources
Take or Create One
Internet 4 Classrooms Trips

Photo Sharing Resources

Screen Capture Recording Resources
Cam Studio
i Show U (Mac)

Friday, February 5, 2010

LoTi Administrator Orientation: Irving ISD

Provided below is the agenda for our LoTi Administrator Orientation session.

Big Ideas for Today
Mega-Trends Impacting Digital-Age Learning
21st Century Teaching and Learning

What is LoTi?

Discussion: How does LoTi relate to H.E.A.T.? If you have access to a laptop, add a comment at the bottom of this blog post now about the relationship between LoTi and H.E.A.T.

What is the LoTi Continuous Improvement Cycle?
• Plan
• Implement
- Retrofitting LoTi
• Sustain

Discussion: As an administrator conducting classroom walkthroughs, what criteria or "look-fors" do you currently use to gauge acceptable instructional practices? How do these criteria compare with the H.E.A.T. look-fors?

What is Digital-Age Leadership?

Professional Development Opportunities:
Online LoTi/H.E.A.T. Classes (User ID: lotiguest/Password: lotiguest)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

LoTi Snapshot: Union County School District

Provided below is the agenda for our LoTi "Snapshot."

Let's first explore digital-age teaching and learning by viewing the short video clips below.

Now, rank the videos from Lowest (1) to Highest (3) in terms of representing digital-age teaching and learning.

• Discussion: Add a comment at the bottom of this blog post now about the specific "look-fors" that separated your highest rated video from your lowest rated video.

What is H.E.A.T.?

• Discussion: Conduct a H.E.A.T. analysis of the Food Chains video. Was it bringing the H.E.A.T. to student learning in terms of Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic connections, and Technology use. Take a minute to reflect on the amount of student H.E.A.T. generated from the video. 

What is LoTi?

• Discussion: Conduct a LoTi Sniff Test of the Elements Commercial and Biology videos. What was the LoTi Level of each video? 

• Discussion: How does LoTi relate to H.E.A.T.? How does the LoTi/H.E.A.T. Model relate to 21st Century Skills. 

What is the LoTi Continuous Improvement Cycle?
• Assess
- MILE Guide Self-Assessment Survey - Partnership for the 21st Century Skills
• Plan
• Implement
- Sample H.E.A.T. Strategy-Web 2.0 Tools
• Sustain
Classroom Walkthroughs with H.E.A.T (User ID: lotiguest/Password: lotiguest)

• Discussion: What criteria or "look-fors" does your school district currently use to gauge acceptable "digital-age learning" best practices? How do these criteria compare with the H.E.A.T. look-fors? 

Professional Development Opportunities:
• Online LoTi/H.E.A.T. Classes (User ID: lotiguest/Password: lotiguest)