By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: time saving
Posts 1 - 3 of 3

Friday, April 15, 2011

Save time with shared databases

You’ve no doubt heard the terms Web 2.0 or the Read/Write web. Where the original use of the web was primarily where a few people published information and a lot of people accessed it, the Read/Write web is about lots of people publishing. They use lots of technologies like social media, photo and video sharing, blogs and wikis but the point is that far more people are contributing information to the web, sharing it with others. And the more readily it can be shared, the better.

Here's an example of easily benefiting from the information shared by others. Nearly every class could benefit from a list of recommended books. That applies from the primary grades through high school. So we created a utility in School Site Manager to make it easy to create recommended book lists. It consists of a large database of books that are categorized by grade level and subject matter. Also, if they have won awards, that can be noted too. Now with the recommended books database, all a teacher needs to do is simply check off the books from the database that he would like to have on his recommended book list. He can make a different list for each class. If there are books he would like to recommend that aren't in the database, he just adds them. And then the books he’s added are in the database and available to everybody else to add to their recommended book lists.

The recommended books database illustrates two ideas.

  1. Online tools should save teachers work, not add to their workload.
  2. By allowing books that are entered to be available to everybody, the more teachers who use the system, the more valuable the system becomes to everybody.

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Keywords: time saving


Monday, April 11, 2011

Never grade another multiple choice test

Multiple choice quizzes taken online are superior to quizzes on paper for several reasons.
  • You don’t have to grade them. They can be graded automatically.
  • Easily administered quizzes give the opportunity for more frequent assessments. More frequent assessments have the dual benefits of providing incentive to students to keep up with the material and early identification of individual or class-wide need for review or misconceptions.
  • The results of quizzes can be used by teachers to determine what needs to be reviewed or explained in class.
  • Homework assignments can be implemented as quizzes providing immediate feedback to students and teachers about whether homework was completed and to what extent it has been understood.
  • You may allow quizzes to be taken a second time and then record only the highest score. This encourages the student to review material she missed to increase her score on the second attempt.
  • The time saved from grading quizzes can be applied to more subjective assessments such as essays and projects.
  • While not as abundant as lesson plans, quizzes can be found online
  • For quizzes that involve calculation, some quiz systems allow the numbers to be automatically randomized within limits while answers are checked based on the random values. Students can’t simply copy answers.
  • Practice quizzes can provide immediate feedback for right or wrong answers. In most cases, the student gets more feedback than she would get from a typical classroom quiz.
  • Quizzes with feedback are fun. It is no accident that quizzes and self-assessments are used so commonly in online advertising to learn about one’s health habits, financial intelligence, sexiness and personality. They’re fun and they bring attention to the advertiser. That same interest in quick assessment can carry through to biology or math class.

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Keywords: time saving


Friday, April 8, 2011

Never write another lesson plan

We find ourselves in an age of information abundance, thanks to the Internet. Among many other changes, lesson planning has become a process of organizing content that's available online rather than generating it from scratch.

Content selection and filtering is changing the way material is presented to students. A short time ago, the challenge was finding good, engaging material to present to students. No longer. Today, there is an abundance of material available. There are databases of lesson plans, enrichment material from textbook publishers, videos on YouTube, copyright-free books and images and access to images of the great art collections of the world.

Today, a teacher can seek and find too much material so show. So she must use her judgment to select those that best fulfill or complement her teaching goals. Or possibly, she could show different materials to different student groups.

This is an example of how the Internet is helping teachers improve their teaching yet requiring that they do less work. That's the goal.

As a result of all this stuff, creating lesson plans from a blank sheet of paper is no long the way to start. Rather, start by looking for available lesson plans and materials that fit and then tailor them to your purpose.

Just as critical, however, is the process of reflection. However wonderful some content is anticipated to be for the class, the proof is in how well it works to convey understanding of the lesson. You can only truly know that when it is applied in the classroom. And, based on that experience, notes about presentation and emphasis are still crucial for making the lesson better next time.

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Keywords: lesson plans, time saving

  Posts 1 - 3 of 3