Thursday, August 16, 2007

LoTi Mentor Certification Days 1 & 2 - Shelbyville, KY - Reflections

On Tuesday, August 14th, Lora and Terry spent most of the day with you "LoTizing" video clips and related learning activities. Please consider the following points:

1.Having students apply what they have learned to a new authentic situation involves more than just depositing the information into a webpage, blog, wiki, or multimedia presentation; it requires students applying the pertinent concepts or skills to a situation that directly impacts the learner, his/her immediate surroundings, and/or the larger community. If this is not the case, then you most likely have either a LoTi 2 or 3 learning experience.

2. The easiest way to discriminate between LoTi 2 and 3 is the presence of (1) Higher Order Thinking Skills (Bloom's Taxonomy) or (2) one or more Complex Thinking Strategies. If a learning experience is teacher-directed and engages students exclusively at the Knowledge/Comprehension levels, then it is almost assuredly a LoTi 2 lesson. Conversely, if a learning experience is teacher-directed and engages students at the Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and/or Evaluation level or enables students to exercise one or more complex thinking strategies (i.e., Problem-solving, Creative Problem-solving, Decision-making, Investigation, Experimental Inquiry, Reasoning, Personal Reflection), then it is almost assuredly a LoTi 3 lesson.

3. Reaching consensus about the "learner-centeredness" of a classroom experience is sometimes difficult. The easiest way to achieve some type of consensus is to first divide the learning experience into three components: Content, Process, and Product. If you detect that a minimum of two out of three of these components is "learner-centered" then we call the entire experience a learner-centered activity. Conversely, if you detect that a minimum of two out of three of the components is "teacher-centered" then we call the entire experience a teacher-centered activity.

3. Whenever possible, use the LoTi "Sniff" Test to help approximate the LoTi of any lesson plan, web-project, or instructional unit.

4. A truly differentiated classroom has LoTi 0-4 occurring on a daily basis.

5. The appropriate or target LoTi should always be commensurate with the content standards being addresssed and at the desired level of student cognition.

On Wednesday, August 15th, we focused on several areas impacting instruction, assessment, and technology use in the classroom such as how to model a LoTi 3 investigation (remember the Reaction Time for Middle School) as well as how to conduct a Lesson Plan Analysis on a sample web-based project (i.e., WebQuest - And They Came to the Streets that were Paved with Gold).

We also reviewed the procedures for your staff to complete the DETAILS for the 21st Century Questionnaire and then completed Certification Task #2 (Individualized Professional Development Plans) for a sample teacher.

I introduced another concept called H.E.A.T. to help us think about ways of implementing LoTi and 21st Century Skills/Themes in the classroom. Based on the Partnership for the 21st Century, these 21st Century Skills/Themes include:

21st Century Learning Skills
Information and Communication Skills
- Information and Media Literacy
- Communication Skills

Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
- Critical Thinking and Systems Thinking
- Problem-solving
- Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity

Interpersonal and Self-Directional Skills
- Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills
- Self-direction
- Accountability and Adaptability
- Social Responsibility

21st Century Themes
Global Awareness

Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

Civic Literacy

Health and Wellness Awareness

I used a lava lamp as a metaphor to represent the different levels of LoTi in the classroom. What causes one lesson to be at a higher LoTi level than another relates directly to the amount of HEAT generated.

- Higher order thinking
- Engaged learning
- Authenticity
- Technology tools

Keep in mind that the H.E.A.T. acronym represents four of the dimensions from the larger scoring guide that we use to evaluate lesson plans and instructional units. The reasons for addressing only four dimensions are threefold: (1) KISS principle, (2) reduce the amount of staff anxiety-already too many competing priorities going on in the classroom, and (3) hit the critical elements first.

We ended the day with conducting a H.E.A.T. observation of a middle school math classroom (Archimedes Screw) and a kindergarten classroom (Weather Prediction).

May the LoTi Be With You Always!


Interesting Links:

Survey Monkey
Zoo Tycoon
Explore Learning - Gizmos
National Budget Simulation
Baby Name Wizard

I look forward to your comments.