While ChatGPT (see previous post) has taken the world by storm, and truly set fire to education, there are other artificial intelligence (AI) platforms that can also impact education. While there are always going to be negatives associated to these latest developments, there are also significant positives if you look for them. Critical thinking is a very important skill to develop in our students and teaching them how to use AI to enhance rather than replace it is crucial. Before we rush to ban all of the AI platforms and websites that are emerging, educators should dive in and explore the possibilities. The two I am going to explore have benefits for both teachers and students.
The field of education, particularly here in America, is going through a crisis that doesn't seem to be near a solution any time soon. Both new and experienced educators are leaving the field. School districts are finding bandaids to stop the hemorrhaging instead of more effective treatments. Long term subs, some barely out of high school, and others without degrees or education training are now teaching students in order to fill positions. Horror stories about what a teacher has said or done to students in their care are becoming more and more publicized and prevalent. Okay, so I have identified the problem. Great. Now what can we do?
Ever find yourself looking for a quick activity that has value for your learners but doesn't require a lot of prep or extra work on your part? I think most educators find themselves in this position occasionally, whether it is an activity to kick off the class period, the learning session, or the conference workshop. A powerful but often overlooked tool in our arsenal is the quickwrite. Some of you are already thinking, that's great, but I don't teach English. I know, but the quickwrite is a flexible tool that all subjects, except maybe physical education (PE) and fitness/conditioning, can use daily, weekly, or periodically.
As I prepared my room for the new school year back in August, I did a lot of thinking about the hallway bulletin board that is under my control. I hate doing bulletin boards, generally speaking. In this post, I walk through the process of creating an interactive bulletin board for students to color.
Many teachers, in fact probably most teachers, are always looking for ways to help students engage with the content being taught. Student engagement is perhaps the holy grail of teaching. Many teacher evaluation systems have it as a standard or indicator, which increases the motivation of teachers to locate that elusive cup. In researching creativity with my master's partner, Kristy Graber, we came across a nugget that might lead us to the holy land of student engagement.
My son Ryan plays travel baseball and high school baseball, and he is fortunate to get to play both of those with his cousin Hayden. They are three weeks apart in age, so they naturally get to do a lot of things together. However, having the same throwing partner for both the travel team and the high school team is pretty cool. Your throwing partner is important, so having the right one is crucial.
"I'm not creative" is something I have heard everywhere I have taught, uttered by student and educator alike. In fact, one of the first things that drew me to Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A PIRATE, was his stance on creativity. In his book and in person, Dave talks about creativity and the hard work it entails.
Relationships between students and their teachers are important, but so are the relationships built in class between classmates. While pacing guides and other curriculum demands can become overwhelming fast, there are some easy ways to work in relationship building too. New students popping in throughout the school should definitely be a reminder to add team building or relationship building into your plans, but the truth is that all students benefit with regular or periodic activities that help them get to know their classmates.
If you aren't using Google Forms, it's time to up your game and this post may help get inspired to give it a try. If you are using Forms regularly or at least frequently, this post is for you too. Although Forms can help you quickly and easily gather data and artifacts for assessing student learning, this post isn't really about that. My focus here is more on the aesthetics of those Forms.
If you have never considered how tech can make your class more inclusive, I encourage you to do so. If you have considered ways to meet the needs of your students in more diverse ways while helping to build a positive culture in your class, then this post may be just a refresher for you. I will briefly feature Pear Deck, Buncee, Microsoft tools, Wakelet, and Flipgrid to show how these tech tools can help you create that inclusive classroom we all need.