Magazine article Techniques

Tools for Teachers and Students

Magazine article Techniques

Tools for Teachers and Students

Article excerpt

AS A CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) INSTRUCTOR, specifically, a business instructor, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to remain as current as possible for my students. In order to do that. I am constantly searching for ways to incorporate the newest learning trends in my daily lesson plans. I look for professional development that will equip me with the skills and ideas I can use in my classroom immediately.

Last spring, a fellow business instructor recommended Powerful Learning Practice (PLP), an online company that provides 21st-century learning courses to teachers. There is a wide array of courses to choose from--anywhere from introductory courses on how to use Twitter or Google Docs to blogging--but the one that appealed to me the most was 21st-Century Lesson Plans. I found the course to be one of the best professional development experiences in my 20 years of teaching business education, and I would like to share some of the ideas and tools I was introduced to.

Student-created Grading Rubric

One of the best takeaways from the course was to incorporate a student-created grading rubric in my business classes. After introducing a project, I will have students, as their writing assignment for the day, tell me how they think they should be graded at the completion of the project. I then combine their thoughts into one grading rubric. Because they have more of a vested interest in the project, the results and the quality of their projects are outstanding. I remember thinking when the instructor suggested it why didn't I think of that?!

PowToon

PowToon is an online presentation/movie- creating Web 2.0 tool--much like Prezi and PowerPoint--that I incorporated into my Personal Finance unit. Working in groups, I had the students demonstrate in a creative way their knowledge on a particular topic from the unit. They were also assessed individually by completing an essay describing what they learned during the unit and how they could apply it to their lives. They were required in both the group project and the essay to give specific examples of when and how what they learned could benefit them. Some examples of my student's work can be seen at http://mrsweber.net/student-page-of-fame/8th-grade-doeumentary-student-page-of-fame/.

PowToon can be used in any class. It could be employed in an English class to demonstrate knowledge of Romeo and Juliet from a student's perspective; in an Agriculture class to demonstrate how to fix an engine or properly fertilize crops/plants; and even in an industrial arts class by demonstrating welding techniques.

The ISTE NETS for Students

I have used the International Society for Technology in Education's National Education Technology Standards for Students (iste.nets*s) as a basis for my lessons plans, as well. There are six standards. I mention four below.

Standard 1: Creativity and Innovation

Infographics arc a big part of social media right now, and I am experimenting with their use in my classes. Creating an infographic enables students to use their imaginations to demonstrate their knowledge of a subject. Some sources and websites that can be used to create infographics include:

* Piktochart (piktoehart.com) and infogr.am (http://infogr.am). The software incorporates charts, graphics and video clips, and it even allows users to upload their own photos. Again, this could be used as a final project to demonstrate mastery. It could also be used as a way to have students teach other students concepts visually. …

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