New Links

I will soon have four new links for lesson enrichment up in our link panel on the right.  Meanwhile, you can access them from right here. 

Make a bingo game as an engaging way to review material:  http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/materials/bingo/

 Create a crossword puzzle for review:  http://search.teach-nology.com/cgi-bin/crossword.cgi

 Set up a wordsearch: http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/word_search/

 Have your students make a wordcloud, or make one yourself just by copy-pasting your writing: http://www.wordle.net/

Our Technology Plan Wins Kudos from the Committee

You might not have noticed this while the ACSI/WASC visiting committee was reading the report (or you just might not remember) but praise of our technology plan was the first in the list of major commendations to our school. 

Here’s what the committee said: 

[The committee commends] the administration, faculty, and staff for developing and implementing a comprehensive and aggressive technology plan, in order to help ensure successful integration of instructional technologies by teachers in the classroom and increasing the level of support for student learning. 

This recognition means a great deal especially to the technology team, one of whose members expended hours of time and effort in research and writing, and the rest of whom put aside other important work to sit in on meetings and contribute. 

The commendation also means a great deal to the whole school, because we know our plan has been lauded by professionals who have studied many other technology plans.  We can go forward confident in the knowledge that our hard work will reap benefits to our students. 

If you would like to see the technology plan, we hope to publish a hard copy for the office soon.  Or, just ask Angie and she will e-mail it to you.

Learning Theories: Compare and Check

Hello again. In this section, you have two exercises with your new partner.  Last time, you each studied a different learning theory and filled out a mindmap.  Now you get to compare notes as you and your partner summarize your respective learning theories out loud.  Then, in any time you have left over, you can take part in the discussion described under “Philosophy Check.”  Here’s how you can do all this:

Exercise One: Learning Theory Comparison

To do the first exercise, you both should have copies of your completed mindmaps from the previous link’s activities.  Got them?  Now download this: t-chartphilosophy08 .  Take a turn writing about your learning theory on the t-chart, and as you do so, talk it through with your partner.    As with the mindmap, feel free to type directly on the document or to write on a hard copy.  If you type on the document, save it and print it out when you’re done. (Hint: inserting textboxes will allow you to place your responses anywhere on the t-chart.)

Make sure I get a copy of your completed T-chart exercise.  You can have it scanned and sent to me, if you handwrote it; if you typed it, simply e-mail it to me in an attachment.

Exercise Two: Philosophy Check

In any time left over, talk to your partner about the elements of a Christian view of education.  You might take notes on what you are going to say to your partner and save those notes for later.  I’m giving you some suggested questions to choose from (you do not have to get through all of them).  For Exercise Two, please e-mail me your responses to one question, either one of your own questions, or one of the suggested questions.  So you are discussing several and sending me a written response to one.

  • What is the nature of reality?  What are our sources of knowledge?
  • How does your Christian outlook influence your view of the learning theories you studied?
  • Do you have your own learning theory?
  • How is a Christian teacher’s work different from that of a non-Christian teacher?
  • Is a Christian public school teacher’s work different from that of a Christian private school teacher’s?  How?
  • What is a Christian’s view of classroom discipline?
  • What is the emphasis of a Christian educator–timeless classics, core subjects (essentials), inquiry/experimentation, or social change?
  • Name some of your approaches in the classroom and explain why you use them–for example, you might use Starbucks runs because they motivate people (elements of behaviorism); you might emphasize responsibility to your students so they can fulfill their potential (elements of humanism); or maybe activating prior knowledge is important to you (elements of information processing and constructivism).

Remember that these  philosophy activities count toward your ACSI philosophy requirement.

Where did THAT strategy come from? A look at learning theories

an e-learning task for OVCA teachers

Before you begin, here are a few ideas to remember . . .

  • This project has three objectives: First, you will create a mind map illustrating details from one of four major theories that influence instruction today.  Second, you will experience an e-learning task that might give you an idea for meeting some of your own classroom objectives.  Third, in the projects that follow up today’s activities, you will demonstrate an awareness of both philosophical origins and practical applications of learning theories.
  • We are considering this a philosophy of education activity.  Yes–technically, we are looking at learning theories.  However, many times a theorist’s or practioner’s view of how students learn originate from his/her ideas about the nature of reality and origin of truth.  So this is a philosophy activity.
  • These four major theories are descriptions of how learners learn; they are not methods of teaching.  However, teaching methods grow out of one’s idea of how students learn.  So definitely, there are methods associated with each one of these theories.
  • None of these theories serve us well when we take them to their extremes, but neither is it helpful to reject any of them wholesale.  All of them contain some tenets that make sense.
  • We should evaluate these four ideas through our Christian views about the source of truth and nature of reality.  One way to think of it is that we have our Christian eyeglasses through which we see the world, and we wear them at all times.  We don’t exchange our Christian glasses for another pair of lenses when it comes to examining thought and theories behind our profession.
  • I believe that although specific classroom practices may have originated from godless worldviews, the practices themselves are mostly neutral.  However, it is important to examine why you choose a particular method.  For example, what if you had students working on a discovery learning project because you believe that individuals and society make their own subjective truth (radical constructivism)?  Would it make any difference if instead, your class was working on a discovery learning project because you wanted to inject some variety,  and you also thought that project was the best way for students to make sense of some new ideas?
  • I believe that as Christians, we are wildly free to do a great many things.  We should be careful, I think, about prescribing certain teaching methods as Christian and being suspicious of other methods as non-Christian.  Again, methods themselves are often neutral.  However, it is important to understand WHY we do what we do.  This clarity can help us do our work better and avoid automatically accepting unbiblical reasoning when under pressure from our profession to do so.
  • It is a fact that some methods work better than others to fulfill our objectives and we ought to be able to distinguish between effective and ineffective forms of instruction.  Understanding the worldviews that lie behind particular methods can help us do that.

Now are you ready?  Here we go.  Download your mindmap: mindmapphilosophy081.  Next, click on the learning theory you are studying.    Use the information provided to complete the mindmap. E-mail me the completed mindmap in an attachment; if you handwrote it, have it scanned in and sent to me.

♦Behaviorism

♦Information Processing

♦Humanism

♦Constructivism

Once you finish the mindmap, remember to access the second link in your e-mail to complete Part II of the Learning Theories study.

Did you know…

… that your learning style influences your teaching style?

Take the VARK test

A Case for teaching with technology: What do you think?