When I first started teaching 9 years ago, there was a palpable buzz in the air around a pedagogical approach called "Genius Hour," also known as "20 Percent Time." This is where students choose a project that excites them, such as crocheting or building a rocket, and work on that project, unguided, every week during … Continue reading Why the Genius Hour Fad Died
More choice is good, right? We’d all rather have more items in the Taco Bell menu than fewer. People prefer to be, or at least feel like they are, in control of their destiny (just ask the anti-maskers of the pandemic!) and it seems likely that our students are no different. Theoretically, when students perceive … Continue reading When Student Choice Backfires
I recently gave a presentation called The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2Asia, a conference which I thought was an incredibly well-run by Nanjing International School. The format of the workshop was really fun: Teachers do mostly hands-on, design-related experiments on themselves to sort of demonstrate how different principles in cognitive science work. I also … Continue reading Lessons from Cognitive Science that I’ve Used to Improve my Teaching
I recently had the chance to distribute a survey to students in my design classes, one of those school-wide ones that all students have to complete on all of their teachers. I was happy with the results. It included questions such as "My teacher likes me" and "My teacher takes time to speak with me about … Continue reading How would your students grade you on Rate My Professors?
I recently had the opportunity to sit and chat with Shane from The Ed Podcast, a show that focuses on conversations surrounding the teaching life and profession. It was a great experience, and one that I think documents pretty well where I am in my career at this moment in time. Listening to podcasts like … Continue reading Turning the Tables on The Ed Podcast
In this post, I would like to focus once again on learner-centered experiences. When I'm browsing Twitter, I often come across exciting visuals that end up having an impact on my practice. One such infographic that I came across recently was "10 Characteristics of Learner-Centered Experiences" by Katie Martin. Be sure to check it out … Continue reading Learner-Centered Experiences Through the Lens of Technology
https://youtu.be/J25d9aC1GZA?t=5m20s I recently watched BBC's Classroom Experiment with Dylan William (YouTube video above). While the program is interesting on so many levels, I was especially drawn to William's first intervention that effectively bans hand-raising from the classrooms he works with, and replaces the practice with popsicle sticks. You can also read more about it in, … Continue reading Does Hands-up Damage Classrooms?
In looking back at my parents' education in the 1950s and 60s, and my own education in the 1990s and 2000s, I worry sometimes that despite the huge advances that we've seen in technology, not much has changed when it comes to how we view learning and how we design learning environments. The transmission model … Continue reading After 100 Years of the Same Teaching Model It’s Time to Throw Out the Playbook
It is increasingly common knowledge that homework is modestly effective in the upper grades, but barely effective at all in elementary. While we all have our own thoughts and opinions on how to empower students to engage in learning activities at home, most schools have specific policies in regards to homework, including how many minutes … Continue reading Making Required Homework More Effective: An Experiment in My Class
It seems like most teachers and students have access to a paid-for digital learning program. You know the kind - RAZ kids, IXL, Spelling City, any one of those listed in the featured image of this article - and they all promise to raise achievement while making learning "fun". These CAI (computer assisted instruction) programs … Continue reading That digital program your school bought will never transform learning