Solving Problems is an Inefficient Way to Learn How to Solve Problems

I am the Director of Educational Technology at an independent school, which in normal times means I do a lot of coaching and strategizing around technology-enhanced instruction. I chair a department and a committee of pedagogically savvy EdTech coordinators and teachers, and we work on ways to improve the academic program. However, due to some … Continue reading Solving Problems is an Inefficient Way to Learn How to Solve Problems

Are PBL and Direct Instruction Compatible?

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?

5 Research Articles for Amplifying Assessment and Feedback

I'm excited to announce that I am contributing a chapter on assessment and feedback for the upcoming book, Amplified Learning: A Global Collaborative! The book has quite an interesting concept: Each chapter begins by capturing the experiences of the contributing teacher through vignettes and examples before transitioning into the supporting research on a particular topic … Continue reading 5 Research Articles for Amplifying Assessment and Feedback

Asynchronous Learning: The Answer to Mid-Year Monotony and Teacher Burn-Out?

By far the most popular blog on this site (in recent years) is the The Unproductive Debate of Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning post that I wrote right as COVID hit, a post that already seems out of date. In a close second is the Scheduling Remote Learning to Allow for “Flow”. In both posts, I … Continue reading Asynchronous Learning: The Answer to Mid-Year Monotony and Teacher Burn-Out?

5 EdTech Myths We Should Leave Behind

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

Why the Genius Hour Fad Died

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

Bridging the Gap Between Teachers and Researchers

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

Linking Technologies to Effective Teaching Strategies

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

Effective Feedback with Online Learners: Corrective vs. Suggestive vs. Epistemic Feedback

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

educationrickshaw.com does student choice work? Is student choice effective?

When Student Choice Backfires

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