A tweet from Edutopia titled, "Dispelling Myths About PBL and Direct Instruction" had me quite confused today. In the tweeted video, the speaker, Dr. Darling-Hammond, explained how it would be incorrect to assume that Project-Based Learning (PBL) and direct instruction are antithetical because they are actually complementary instructional techniques that mix well. If direct instruction … Continue reading Are PBL and Direct Instruction Compatible?
This week I led a reading group session at my school on the article, "Have Technology and Multitasking Rewired How Students Learn?" by Daniel Willingham (here). Having led a lot of these, I'm convinced that reading groups are a more effective and enjoyable form of professional learning than ones that do not focus on a … Continue reading 5 EdTech Myths We Should Leave Behind
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
Something I've been trying to do for more than a year is transition this blog from one about "Zach and Stephanie's latest thoughts on teaching" to one about evidence-informed teaching and learning design. Compare this older blog post, for example, to a more recent one to see the difference. I haven't been modeling this blog … Continue reading Bridging the Gap Between Teachers and Researchers
Using technology for the sake of using technology wasn't a good idea pre-COVID and it isn't a good idea now. Supporters of the unconditional use of technology, and there are many out there in EdTech positions like mine, typically argue that multiplying the use of technology will develop "21st century" domain-general skills like critical thinking … Continue reading Linking Technologies to Effective Teaching Strategies
I've found feedback to be something of a unifier between teachers of diverse persuasions. Whether you're tech-savvy or tech-averse, traditional or progressive, elementary or secondary, everyone seems able to agree that a feedback-rich learning environment is something to strive for. But what sorts of feedback are most likely to yield the best results? My epiphany … Continue reading Effective Feedback with Online Learners: Corrective vs. Suggestive vs. Epistemic Feedback
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
Educators continue to ask both the right and wrong questions about distance learning during this online learning period. In a recent post, I argued that instead of squabbling over which technology we use, or whether a synchronous format has advantages over an asynchronous format, we should look at distance learning through a different lens. Specifically, we … Continue reading Reducing the Distance in Distance Learning
I have a 9-month-old daughter who still cannot crawl. I've tried having her build up her strength through various leg and abdominal exercises. I've shown her interactive diagrams and YouTube videos of babies crawling, and I've read her the definition of crawling from the dictionary. I've modeled the correct way to crawl so many times … Continue reading Help! I’m Trying to Teach My 9-Month-Old How to Crawl and it isn’t Working.
There is a widely-held theory that by learning an instrument, playing chess, or even swinging a Wii remote around in P.E, students' cognitive abilities and academic skills will increase, which will help them be better thinkers across the subjects. This isn't a new theory; people used to think taking Latin unlocked something inside you so … Continue reading Transferable Skills Are Cool. But Do They Transfer?