CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

In an effort to increase writing and encourage students to increase the quality of their work, Fordson social studies teacher Angela Altomonte has been giving students assignments that they are to complete on their own individual blogs. Students use studentsites.dearbornschools.org to create a site and then post the assigned work on their blog. By default these blogs are only viewable by people with dearbornschools.org accounts–which means they’re not available to the broader public. This allows students and teachers to be able to see the work of other students because they have to log into StudentSites to see it.

For most students, publishing work online raises the stakes a little bit. Because it will be viewable by more people than just their teacher, many students put forth the extra effort to make things look good, care a little more about their grammar, and spend a little more time on the presentation. For some of these students, what would have been a simple writing prompt response statement has become a multi-media masterpiece.

Take a look at some samples of what students in Ms. Altomonte’s classes have done:

Why, as CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 puts it, “produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience”–when there actually isn’t an audience? When students publish work online, there is an audience (or at least the potential for one).

Teaching is Hard

Over the past couple weeks, students in Ms. Angela Altomonte’s U. S. History class at Fordson have been working hard at preparing lessons to deliver to their peers on various topics. They learned valuable lessons about what it takes to be a teacher–and taught us a lesson about what students are really capable of when it comes to technology.

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When Learning Emerges

“Every day is filled with uncertainty. Learning prepares you to deal with uncertainty. ‘Education’ prepares you to deal with certainty. …There is no certainty.” -Dr. Sugata Mitra

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Hanging Technology on the Wall

“All this technology stuff is great! How do I hang it in the hall?”
Let me show you.

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From Vestigial Video to Empowering Evaluation

The problem isn’t with videos. Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to watch a video about it. Sometimes a video is necessary to support other materials in learning about a particular topic. I tell people that half of what I’ve ever learned has been from YouTube. I’m kidding, of course, but it may not be that much of an overstatement. The problem, as always, is what students are doing with the video.

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The Myth Of Magical Technology

Just this morning, I received an email from Kahoot reminding its users that they can administer “homework that corrects itself”. As a teacher, this is intriguing to me for many reasons. Giving self-corrected homework helps me avoid a little of the mundane practice of...
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