How 2 simple role-play games can transform students into active learners

Role-play enhances engagement and subject matter mastery. It’s also a lot of fun

role-play-game-deskStudents learning about the code of Hammurabi by acting as a council trusted with applying it

Maybe you’ve seen them interacting at Comic Con in fantastic costumes or reenacting decisive Civil War battles down to the smallest detail. Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably more familiar with role-playing than you realize. In education, role-play-as-learning is a unique experience which enhances student engagement, social skills, interest, and mastery of subject matter. It’s an approach that can have some major benefits for students.

At its core, role-play involves spontaneous, co-creative, contextualized, personally involved learning, and one of the best ways to introduce the concept to the classroom is though LARPs. Short for Live Action Role-play, LARPs are one part acting, one part historical immersion/interaction, and one part systematic modeling. It conceptualizes major concepts interwoven within human narratives that inspire students to enjoy and retain their knowledge within their experience. It leverages emotion as a mechanism for students to personalize key knowledge, processes, and concepts. And it involves embodiment and situational modeling, guiding students to not only learn the material but to experience it in context.…Read More

5 critical 21st century skills that go way beyond the 4 Cs

Teach students to think like entrepreneurs with these skill sets

21st-century-skillsSince the publication of his highly impactful book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman has been teaching his readers and listeners to think differently about our world and how we interact with each other. Friedman consistently talks about new skill sets that are required for anyone who wants to not only survive but truly thrive in the hyper-connected world that is life in the 21st century.

Educators have been tackling a new mindset for student learning for nearly two decades. In the early 2000s, when as a nation as we sat at the dawn of the 21st century, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (formerly The Partnership for 21st Century Skills) introduced the education community to a Framework for 21st Century Learning, which highlighted 18 different skills. Over time leaders from a broad spectrum of business and education communities narrowed the focus to concentrate on a set of skills that came to be known as the 4Cs—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

The goal was to have the 4Cs integrated with the “3Rs” that had served as the backbone of American curricula for centuries. As the K-12 education community continues the work of embedding the 4Cs into all content areas, the world continues to evolve and we find ourselves once again considering what it is all students must know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school.…Read More

Do online charter schools measure up?

A three-part research study indicates that online charter school performance may be underwhelming

online-charter-schoolsNew research offers evidence that online charter schools post weaker academic performance and struggle more to maintain student engagement than their conventional brick-and-mortar peers.

The National Study of Online Charter Schools, released Oct. 27, analyzed online charter school operations, policy environments, and their impacts on student achievements.

The three-volume study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, and the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, describes the achievement effects of online charter schools.…Read More

Best and worst states for the subject every school should be teaching

Comprehensive report details state progress (or lack of) in teaching finance and economics in K-12

states-finance-economyIn the midst of the country’s slow climb to economic recovery, there’s been an outpouring of support from communities to teach today’s students the one subject that could perhaps prevent future economic woes: personal finance and economics. However, though states are making progress, there’s still work to be done.

“The number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy,” said Alan Greenspan, economist and former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

And the Council for Economic Education (CEE) agrees. The CEE’s report, “Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools 2014,” conducted every two years by the CEE and collects data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, highlights the best and worst states for teaching personal finance literacy. It also reveals some startling facts about student struggling with finance.…Read More

New digital resource center aims to inspire student innovation

New resources from PBS keep digital learning in the spotlight all year long

digital-resources-studentIn celebration of the third annual Digital Learning Day earlier this month, PBS LearningMedia, an on-demand media service for educators, has released a collection of free resources called “Be Inspired. Be an Innovator.

The digital collection includes dozens of videos, documentaries, and lesson plans that explore the creative and critical skills needed to develop products and processes that affect daily life.

These materials cover a range of topics for digital learning, including green technology, the role of science in the economy, and inventions—from Galileo’s telescope to the electric car. In addition, PBS LearningMedia has created a special video and infographic as reference guides to introduce and encourage digital innovation skills.…Read More

One amazing example of how to train teachers on technology

One school district changed the standard in professional development; and it did so with a ‘Technology Academy.’

teacher-technology-tools

eSchool News provides not only daily original content on the latest in technology and innovation in education, but it is a trusted resource for teachers and administrators on how to implement technology to improve learning and enhance the student experience.

Our webinars, professional development, Educator Resource Centers, and best practices feature helpful tips for educators. The following story is one specific example of how to train teachers with the latest edtech tools.…Read More

3 startling misconceptions about student testing

New report reveals the problem isn’t time on testing; it’s the quality of the tests

testing-student-misconceptions A new report is shedding light on what the nation might not know but teachers have known for a while: Time spent on testing depends on district requirements and the quality of the tests. The report argues that it’s time to switch the national conversation from time-spent-on-testing to quality of testing.

The report, “The Student & the Stopwatch: How much time do American students spend on testing?” produced by Teach Plus and authored by Mark Teoh, Ed.D., director of Research& Knowledge at Teach Plus and a former teacher and administrator, encompasses research from 32 districts across the U.S.—both urban and suburban—and over 300 teachers.

The report measured testing habits in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math in kindergarten, third and seventh grades.…Read More

Dying student still has to prove he can’t take a standardized test

Eleven-year-old Ethan Rediske has been in hospice care for the past month and is likely nearing the last days of his life, the Huffington Post reports. Yet, it appears Florida school officials aren’t convinced he should be able to opt out of an upcoming standardized test. Florida requires all students in the state to take a version of Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). While a recent law allows some special education students facing exceptional circumstances to be exempt from these tests, getting approval isn’t easy…

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