Tag Archives: ict

Differentiated Instruction and TechnoKids

differentiated instruction

Every time teachers step into their classrooms, they face the evidence of the need for differentiated instruction. Each student arrives at school at a different starting point: a certain attitude of readiness for learning, an individual style of acquiring knowledge, and a distinct level of mastery of concepts. Multiply these three factors by the number of students in the classroom. The resulting figure is daunting but makes it obvious that ‘one teaching method fits all’ isn’t a practical strategy.

Differentiated instruction recognizes and supports individual differences in learning by using a variety of teaching strategies. There are so many options and resources available today that we can adjust for the diverse abilities, needs, learning styles, and interests of our students. As teachers, our goal is to optimize student growth and success at all levels of ability, not simply to achieve or reach a standardized benchmark. Teach every student.

Brain based learning studies support a variety of instructional strategies. As students make connections between what they already know and their new learning, interconnections in neural pathways are formed. As a result, information is stored in multiple areas. Meaning and retention are both enhanced.

In teaching ICT, we have lots of ways of tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. TechnoKids project-based computer lessons support differentiated instruction with student resources, teaching strategies, and assessment tools.

Process

Differentiated instruction requires that we provide a variety of learning opportunities. Students should be able to build a repertoire of tools. They can accommodate their own preferred styles of learning, as well as recognize and build skills in their individual areas of weakness.

TechnoKids project-based learning supports the process of learning using differentiated instruction:

  • Vary learning tools. Integrate technology and use the computer as an alternative and additional tool.
  • Target different senses with multiple instructional strategies. TechnoKids Student Workbooks engage students by reading written instructions, studying illustrations that support text, looking at infographics, and handling manipulatives such as TechnoKids tool flashcards. Sample files have students listen to audio and watch video. Brain based learning studies show that most of us learn best when the kinesthetic senses are used – doing, handling, building. Robotics projects prepare students to build STEM skills and support hands-on learning. TechnoKids Teacher Guides provide teaching strategies, technology integration ideas, and assessment tools.
  • Chunk material into manageable parts. TechnoKids projects are divided into smaller sessions or assignments. In this way, a complex task becomes doable.
  • Present learning tasks in graphic organizers. When students create a plan of their ideas for a an inquiry, TechnoKids projects often have them use a chart, brain storming web, or mind map to outline and develop their proposals.
  • Repeat to reinforce. Students build skills through practice, so Skill Reviews and Extension Activities allow for repetition.
  • Allow students to work at different paces. By using the pdf or print copies of TechnoKids workbooks, individual students can complete the activities on their own timeline.
  • Mix up individual and group collaboration. Individual, pair, small group, and whole class activities should all be part of classroom experiences. Flexible grouping allows students with similar learning styles to work together.

Content

Recognize that students have different levels of familiarity with concepts before a lesson is taught. Differentiate activities by designing assignments that cover various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, from remembering (lowest level) to evaluating (highest level).

  • Give students the big picture. Most TechnoKids resource files include a number of samples of completed projects. Seeing and reviewing a finished project solution motivates students, builds interest, and provides a clear example of what is being assigned.
  • Provide a starting point. A number of TechnoKids projects, especially primary level projects, include templates. Students can focus on the technology and learning skills without getting bogged down in the less critical details of setting up a document.
  • Combine methods of instruction. Blend a mixture of teacher directed, print, video, and any other instructional techniques. This serves the purpose of both maintaining student engagement as well as appealing to diverse learning styles.

Product

The final creation or solution to an inquiry process should be interdisciplinary and open-ended. Allow students to build on their learning style strengths by offering choices. Self directed learning allows for students to work independently and develop critical skills such as organization, creativity, judgement, and persistence.

  • Build engagement by offering choices. Involve students by encouraging them to pitch their own ideas for projects. TechnoKids projects allow for creative thinking and open-ended learning experiences.
  • Offer a variety of outputs. When students are given options, they take more responsibility for their learning and become more engaged. TechnoKids projects may be a presentation, visual art, timeline, graphic story, newsletter, questionnaire, blog, interactive map, animation, and many more!
  • Provide opportunities for assorted types of assessment. TechnoKids grading tools include student, peer, and teacher checklists, rubrics, rating scales, marking sheets, and skill summaries.
  • Incorporate reflection. Summarize learning, process new learning, identify areas for improvement, and set goals. Many TechnoKids projects contain a reflection component in a final celebration of learning.

TechnoKids India Announces Online ICT Olympiad

Teachers and students in India take note: ICT Olympiad is an online contest challenging students in Grades 5 to 12. The contest promotes information and communication technology skills. Winners and prizes will be awarded in three categories:

  • Junior – Students in Grades 5 and 6
  • Intermediate – Students in Grades 7, 8, and 9
  • Senior – Students in Grades 10, 11, and 12

After registering, students receive free online access to a curriculum project. Registration opens August 1, 2015 and closes September 25, 2015. Winners will be declared October 20, 2015.
To register or for further information, visit TechnoKids India or email ictolympiad@technokidsindia.com.

TechnoKids India ICT Olympiad

Are Your Students Hiding Their Lack of ICT Skills?

You are looking at a printed poster and the work looks excellent. Does that mean your student possesses strong ICT skills? Not necessarily!

Here’s why…

Your students might be applying inefficient techniques to create the desired result. Let me give you an example.

At the school where I am teaching as a guest instructor, the students begin using TechnoKids Computer Curriculum in kindergarten. By the time these students reach Grade 7 they have spent years completing technology based projects.

ict skills

I have noticed over the past few weeks of teaching that some of the students lack basic ICT skills. Since I am a guest instructor, I am unfamiliar with which students are newer members to the school community. After inquiring about the situation, I learned that some of the students in my class have not been at the school since kindergarten, so there are gaps in their skillset.

The strategies these students are applying are not noticeable in a printed copy. For example, the Grade 7 class just completed the poster activity for TechnoWonderland. They look fantastic!

Looking at the posters you can’t tell if the students:

  • aligned text using the alignment tools or the spacebar
  • wrapped text around a picture using text wrapping tools or if they manually arranged text
  • limited their formatting choices because they did not know how to apply other tool options
  • used time saving techniques or not

How can teachers notice the lack of ICT skills?

As a teacher you cannot judge ICT skills based solely on the printed version. Instead, you need to watch your students work as well as preview the digital copy. Here are some tips:

  • Watch Your Students Work: Walk around the room or position yourself in a location where you can preview the monitors. Observe your students working.
  • Activate Show/Hide: Ask students to temporarily turn on Show/Hide. It is a tool in Microsoft Office that displays hidden formatting symbols. The ENTER key produces a paragraph mark ¶, SPACEBAR a dot, and TAB key an arrow. These marks will help you determine if students are formatting text properly.
  • Challenge Students: Make a suggestion that will improve the layout or design of the publication. If students possess the ICT skill, without instruction they will be able to produce the suggested result. If they can’t, this gives you an excellent opportunity to introduce a tool or feature.

ICT skills can’t be measured just by viewing the final printed copy. By following these tips you will be able to identify students who might be hiding their lack of skills. This will allow you to help your students discover new, more efficient ways to produce quality publications.

Create a Shared Student Folder on your Server

Teachers need to be flexible! They must adjust their lessons based on their students’ needs. In addition, they need to capitalize on their students’ unique interests. To do this, they need a shared student folder on the server.

What is a shared student folder?

Many schools have a server that is used for file management. Typically, teachers and students have folders on the server where they save their work. Permissions are used to control who can view or change the contents of the folders. In most cases, students can only access their own folder, whereas teachers can access folders for students in their class or sometimes the entire school.

folder with documents

Have your IT Specialist create a shared student folder on your server.

For teachers to share files with students, they often have to copy and paste a document into EACH student folder. This can be VERY time consuming and is often not feasible if the teacher has multiple classes. The solution is to have a shared student folder.

A shared student folder is a location on the server where teachers can place files. All the students in a particular class or sometimes the entire student body can “read” or open the files in this folder. The files are then viewed or resaved by students into their own folder.

Do you need a shared student folder?

Of course you do!
Not everything can be PLANNED at the beginning of the school year. Spontaneity is part of teaching!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever stumbled across an informative website you know would be perfect for a particular group of students working on a research project? Can you easily share a bookmark?
  • Have you ever realized that some of your students are struggling to complete a task? Are you able to easily share a template that will help them complete their work?
  • Have you ever noticed that some of your students are not paying attention or require a review? Are you able to develop a “pop quiz” that can be easily accessed by everyone in the class?
  • Have you ever noted that some of your students are struggling with learning a concept? Are you able to create a sample file or instructional video that can easily be viewed by all students?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you need a shared student folder on the server.

What can you do with a shared student folder?

There are many types of files you might want to share:

  • bookmark to a website or online educational video
  • template that offers a starting point for completing a task
  • digital assessment tools such as a checklist, review, or quiz
  • sample of a completed project that students can review to get ideas
  • instructional video that demonstrates the steps to complete a task

Be flexible! Be spontaneous! Improve student learning!

If you don’t have a shared student folder you should request that your IT Specialist create one for you. It is easy for the technician to do and will make a huge difference when you are teaching.