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Top 5 Ways to Foster Student Creativity

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On November 17th, educators from around the world gathered virtually to explore ideas around what it means to create at The Virtual Summit by EdTechTeam. Sessions ranged from Creating with Chromebooks to Creating Real World Problem Solvers and Creating Teacher Leaders. It was inspiring to see the excitement and motivation for teachers to begin creating opportunities for students immediately. Throughout the day, conversations centered on student creativity when designing instructional experiences. Empowering students through access to quality educational technology resources provides a platform for redefining learning and letting your creativity in your students and your classroom shine!

As you continue your journey on what create means to you, here are 5 ways to foster student creativity in your classroom.

Creative expression is in all of us

Start with you and the culture of your classroom. Try Sketchnoting and model your creative growth with your students as you journey alongside them. Do you use iOs devices in your classroom? Try Apple’s Everyone Can Create Project Guides to fuel creative expression in every student.

Celebrate Divergent Thinking

Cultivate the idea that there is more than one way to do something in all facets of learning. Showcase examples of products, creations, and discussions that promote different perspectives and ways to show an idea. Try presenting work to a larger audience either via Google Hangouts or a Google Site to model to students that their voice counts.

Provide choice in learning products/tasks

Providing choice is a strategy to unleash creativity and personalization in your students. Try using Digital Choice Boards or Interactive Learning Menus in your next lesson task/culminating project or a Choose Your Own Adventure Google Slide Deck. Or check out this Creative Apps Directory by SmashboardEdu. Choice allows students the freedom to be creative without restraints.

Creativity is everywhere

Integrate creativity teaching into content areas. Creativity can be taught. Intentionally highlight opportunities for discussion around creative thinking and problem solving throughout the day. Try implementing Design Thinking or Project Based Learning instructional models to facilitate creative thinking throughout a unit. Computer Science is even a great place to let student creativity shine. Programs like Google’s CS First provide scaffolded opportunities to integrate coding and creativity.

Design a culture of creativity in the classroom

Creative thinking is a mindset that needs to be nurtured. Are flexible thinking and deeper questioning evident in your classroom? Use this creativity roadmap from ASCD to get started.

posted May 2 by Chito

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If your students knew how much more money they could earn if they studied hard, went on to further education and got good grades, do you think it would make a difference to them? 

That was part of a question posed in a new paper published in the Journal of Development Economics and featured in the January edition of the Centre for Education Economics’ (CfEE) Monthly Research Digest

Ciro Avitabile and Rafael De Hoyos ran a randomised controlled trial in Mexico designed to address whether or not providing students with better information about the earning returns of education – and the options available to them – led to greater effort and learning. 

The experiment involved about 4,000 Mexican Year 10 students, across 111 classrooms in 54 schools. They first asked students how much they thought they could earn if they progressed to different stages of education. 

Both boys and girls underestimated the average earnings of adults with a high-school degree and overestimated the earnings of adults with a university degree. 

Want to motivate students? Tell them learning boosts earning power

Setting the exercise

They then started the trial: 26 schools were randomly allocated to receive the intervention and 28 schools were randomly allocated to the control group.

The intervention consisted of an exercise that provided the following information through specially designed interactive computer software: 

1. The benefits: average wages of workers with different levels of schooling.

2. The costs: details of a government scholarship for higher education.

3. How long the benefits might last: average life expectancy.

The educational outcomes analysed were obtained largely from the results of the Enlace examination, which students sit at the end of Year 12. This is a low-stakes test with no bearing on graduation, university admissions or school funding, but is highly predictive of future academic and labour-market outcomes.

For various reasons, examination data was available for only 61 per cent of the students in the trial.

A second set of outcome measures were derived from a university placement exam used by a subset of universities.

Mixed picture

So what were the results? 

First, the intervention increased students’ expectations of how their future earnings might increase if they committed to education, with associated positive effects on the level of effort they reported putting into it. 

However, the information provided had no effect on the probability of students taking the Enlace low-stakes test. 

For those that did take the test, there was a large, positive effect on maths scores, but only a statistically insignificant positive effect on Spanish scores. 

The impact size in maths was almost large enough to close the gender gap between boys and girls – and larger than the effect of coming from a high-income family. 

Difference in outcomes

Unfortunately this did not follow through to any statistically significant effect on the probability of sitting the university placement exam, nor on scores in that examination.

Effects on the low-stakes test were slightly larger for girls than boys, which appears to be due to the fact that the information intervention improved the aspirations of girls in particular. 

Consistent with this explanation, the information intervention increased the likelihood that girls (but not boys) chose to study economics in high school, and made them less likely to have married at ages 18-20 – an indication of their desire to go to university. 

Equity issues

Effects were also larger, however, for children from wealthier households – suggesting the intervention had equity implications that must be considered.

From a policy perspective, the fact that the intervention costs next to nothing and is inherently scalable makes it attractive. 

Of course, it doesn’t solve the core challenge of improving the quality of teaching in low-to-middle-income countries, and it’s important to take equity implications seriously. 

But free interventions that raise pupil achievement are rare and this one certainly warrants further exploration in other settings.

Lee Crawfurd is a fellow of the CfEE and deputy editor of its Monthly Research Digest. This blog is based on his selection for the January issue of the digest. You can view a flipbook version, download a pdf copy and subscribe to receive copies of the digest free of charge here

The CfEE is an independent thinktank working to improve policy and practice in education through impartial economic research

+2 votes

5 Ways Teachers Are Integrating Technology into the Classroom

Teachers are developing lesson plans that may not be delivering the learning message that speaks to the times, as well as student learning abilities. How can we fix this issue? By integrating technology into the classroom.

Utilizing technology and implementing tech into lesson plans can ensure a more interactive class experience. Technology can reshape the future of education in big ways, forming new bonds between students and teachers, and with students and the entire learning experience.

“Technology helps change the student/teacher roles and relationships: students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators,” Edutopia explained. “Technology lends itself as the multidimensional tool that assists that process.”

Integrating technology into the classroom, however, can seem challenging for educators. This is due to the tech resources needed, like computers, tablets, software/apps, internet access, and more. With a bit of due diligence, these obstacles can be overcome and tech can be tethered with the learning experience in amazing innovative ways.

Let’s dive into the five ways teachers are integrating technology into the classroom, and how all educators can too.

1. Making Use of the Gamify Learning Experience

Gaming has become a huge part of students’ lives. Whether at home or in the classroom, the gamification of learning is a valuable strategy to pursue. Why? Students want to engage in learning in new exciting ways, and the gamify learning experience can do just that.

For example, you can have digital scavenger hunts in the classroom by challenging students with fact-finding questions that they need to complete online. This is a great way to integrate technology into the learning experience by making a game of it. Students not only learn how to research material online, but they also stay engaged — it is a win-win!

2. Building Lesson Plans Using Differentiated Instruction and Tech

Tailoring your lesson plans to your students is increasing in popularity. This type of teaching has been implemented using a differentiated instruction program that takes into account how students learn, their abilities, and more. For instance, by grouping students in a class based on their abilities can improve the effectiveness of the teaching message.

How can you implement this into your class via technology? The upswing in tailoring lesson plans to diverse learners has caused many companies to create software and online platforms, like Big Universe, that serve up large amounts of learning material aimed at filling the differentiated instruction gap within classrooms.

3. Develop a Class Website

There are a lot of fun ways to integrate technology into the classroom, but none as exciting for students as developing a class website. Students are often mystified by the power of the internet, and being online can be a serious eye-opener for them.

Building a class website is also affordable for educators since WordPress delivers free websites and themes you can use to make this tech-inspired classroom activity happen. The aim is to do it as a class in order to engage everyone, so from start to finish, have everyone involved.

A class website is also valuable for parents and education managers to see what is going on in class and how each student is developing. It is another technology inspired learning asset that is a win-win.

4. Create a Classroom Blog

Since you have a class website, why not go one step further and create a classroom blog. This is an excellent way to inspire students and keep them engaged in classroom activities. Blogs are also essential in teaching reading, writing, listening, using tech, and so much more.

Within your free WordPress website, create a blog section and create interactive activities for each blog. For example, you can start a blog with a title, topic, and introduction paragraph. Then each student will add a section while staying on topic and true to the overall blog story.

Once published, your students can read it all, listen to it, and share it with their parents. It is interactive in the classroom, as well as bringing the learning experience home.

5. Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

If you have grown students, chances are they are on social media. This is good because you can leverage one of their favourite ways to spend time on learning. For instance, you can pull a video from YouTube and use it for Q&A sessions. Or you can use travel images of social media influencers as a discussion piece in class.

Are You Ready to Integrate Technology into the Classroom?

There are certainly more ways than one to integrate technology into the classroom. The above five ways are only the tip of the iceberg. The goal is to give students the digital tools they need to grow and be successful throughout their education. How do you integrate tech into your classroom?

+2 votes

Pedagogies become obsolete when they continue to focus on what’ they teach rather than how’. Indian education has suffered for decades on this score because the purpose of education has never envisaged fostering curiosity and creativity as being critical to education but in knowing facts and information. We teach our kids to memorize but never to understand.

Reinventing teaching can reform education

WHY DO WE TEACH?

Reforming education requires deciding what education is for. I believe that critiquing the way we teach is dependent entirely on knowing why we teach’. A time has come when this why’ itself needs to be questioned and reinvented. In other words, what we need is not doing why’ better but in finding an entirely different why’. This is because the old why is no longer relevant. Consequently, the very purpose of education needs to be rethought. Only then would education reform be revolutionized.

WHERE TO START?

To achieve this, we need to start with the teachers. The shift in mindset that they need to adjust to is that modern technology has provided students and indeed, everyone with exceptional information at the touch of a button. Rather than feel upset with this development, which is, unfortunately, the case at present with most teachers, they need to learn how they might recraft their pedagogy from information dissemination to learning and processing of information.

If we fail to do this, we would continue to harbour irrelevant teachers and consequently, an archaic education system.

This imperative shift in pedagogy needs to recognize that today’s market place requires its employees creative and critical thinking and in making complex decisions. Indeed, even classrooms have started changing. I am not speaking only of the introduction of smart boards but the way modern classrooms are currently designed. Mobile and adjustable tables and seats have replaced the earlier fixed seats where students sat in a row and the teacher was the sage on the stage. Today’s classrooms are geared towards teamwork and collaborative approach that is aimed at understanding problems before solving them. Students discuss with each other and the teacher acts as the facilitator.

This requires that education responds to dynamic needs because it is a service that is offered to society. It needs to constantly evolve if it is to provide what changing societies require. Yet, for decades, while India has dramatically changed, our education system has remained more or less static. Efforts have been made to tinker with what already exists rather than envisage how it is changed in its entirety. What we need, in other words, is a revolution in education and not just reform.

One of India’s grand challenges is education. As our population grows, the aspiration for a better life would extend from urban to rural India. Indeed, it may well be argued that to empower India, education is the key. Without education, populations would continue to be subjugated and impoverished. Rural India would continue to live under a feudal scourge where the horrific nexus of local politicians, gangsters and the bureaucracy continues as contemporary reality. Rapid urbanization would see the migration of unskilled labour into cities and huge infrastructural demand would see their employment perpetuating substandard construction. Business and industry would never be 21st century because their workforce would be the 19th century.

We are on the cusp of facing disaster unless we revolutionize our education system. This needs to be a national imperative.

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Keeping Pace With edTech: The Top Educational Technology Trends

Education is increasingly becoming high tech. All the things that are happening in the world of technology are directly impacting education and learning systems. Why this is bound to happen, how our teachers, learners, and education systems as a whole are keeping pace with them, is a big concern. Here we are going to introduce 6 high tech approaches to education.

1. Custom Learning Experiences

Learning methodologies and experiences should never be the same for everyone, but the earlier education systems could never accommodate the custom learning experience as there were too many limitations. Thanks to modern technology in education, we can really initiate custom teaching and learning methodologies and experiences in our present day educational infrastructure. With modern gadgets and interfaces, now one can initiate learning based on their need, preference, and availability.

Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach to classroom education, mobile apps development for education unleashed a new way of need-based learning. For instance, a junior surgeon now can seek guidance for a critical procedure during the operation right through his mobile app.

2. Cloud Computing

More than any other technology, cloud computing unlocked the door of high tech education. The anytime-anywhere accessibility of information stored in remote cloud servers of the apps made it possible to access courseware and educational materials from any device and from anywhere. You can continue reading a book and collaborate with other students and teachers about your homework just through any device and at any time. Besides the ease of access and collaboration, cloud-based education apps solved the problem of storing data as well.

3. Speech-To-Text Options

A vast majority of devices and app platforms are now coming with virtual assistant apps and features like Apple’s Siri. Such smart assistants responding to voice commands make things even easier for learning. Moreover, the speech-to-text feature, coming with most devices, makes note taking and writing even more comfortable and fast-paced.

4. Virtual And Augmented Learning Experiences

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have come as s big boost to online education. Thanks to VR and AR learners can actually get an immersive learning experience without needing to move their legs too much. If you want to learn about space objects just by running a 3D space video on your VR headgear, you can float in space while a background voice continues depicting you the Milky Way in detail. Similarly, real-time broadcasting of critical surgical operations allows medical students to learn through a more immersive experience.

5. 3D Printing

3D printing, which is also known as prototyping, allows students to learn with a more tangible and physical experience. A student can easily shape his idea of an object thanks to 3D printers. With 3D printing, students can give shape to their imagination. In any institution, 3D printers will only help students to unleash their creative ideas and have more hands-on experiences.

6. Learning Analytics

Thanks to the increasing pace of high tech adoption of the educational system, learning data is increasingly becoming important to drive decisions and make decision-making procedures easier. The huge volume of education information and data give birth to learning analytics, as it is increasingly important to assess and evaluate student engagement, traction, and learning output. In the near future, we can see learning analytics warning teachers about certain issues, warning students about deadlines and their progress, etc. Eventually, learning systems will dictate the way education is remitted by teachers and experienced by learners. Learning analytics will boost learner engagement in education more than anything else.

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