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Which of these 4 Instructional Strategies do you use in your class?

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

Instructional strategies, according to Alberta Learning, are “techniques teachers use to help students become independent, strategic learners. These strategies become learning strategies when students independently select the appropriate ones and use them effectively to accomplish tasks or meet goals.” the strength of instructional strategies is that they determine how teachers can go about realizing their teaching objectives.

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Instructional strategies are derived from different educational theories. Here some examples of 4 key instructional strategies as identified by Gayla S. Keesse.

  1. Direct Instruction. This is what some refer to as the traditional method. Direct instruction is primarily teacher centred and consists of direct lecturing or vertical teaching. It is a form of explicit teaching that consists of repetitive practice, didactic questioning, drill and demonstration. This strategy is particularly useful for ‘providing information, or developing step-by-step skills.
  2. Interactive Instruction. As its name indicates, this strategy consists of creating learning environments conducive to interactions and discussions. It posits that learning takes place through interactive communication of knowledge and this interaction can happen in different forms including: open or closed group discussions, collaborative project work, whole class discussions …etc
  3. Experiential learning. One of the seminal works in experiential learning is Dewey’s "Experience and Education". This strategy highlights the primacy of the process of learning over the product of learning. The purpose is to enhance students motivation and increase their retention rates by connecting classroom learning to their lifeworlds. This can happen through engaging students in reflexive thinking about their own experiences and how to leverage what they learned in the past in new contexts.
  4. Independent Study. Gayla defines this strategy as “the range of instructional methods which are purposefully provided to foster the development of individual student initiative, self-reliance, and self-improvement. Independent study can also include learning in partnership with another individual or as part of a small group.

Google relased a new service called Youtube Kids

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Google released a new service called YouTube Kids which is ‘a new family-friendly app that makes it easy for kids to explore a vast selection of videos on any topic.’ YouTube Kids features popular children’s programming, plus kid-friendly content from filmmakers, teachers, and creators all around the world. YouTube Kids apps are available for both Android and iOS.

This new app provides young learners with a variety of kids-appropriate channels and playlists including: Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, and Dreamworks, online hits like Mother Goose Club, TuTiTu, and Super Simple Songs, plus anything else they’re into - music, gaming, science, crafts, and more.

YouTube Kids also provides parents with a set of interesting features to allow them to oversee how their kids are using the app. For instance there is a timer that parents can set to let their kids know when it’s time to stop watching. Watch this video to learn more about YouTube Kids. 

A classroom poster on steps for good writing

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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5 Steps to Writing A Poem is a visual created by Cambridge University and outlines the 5 major stages to composing a poem. In fact, the steps mentioned here are generic and can be used for writing any other genre, of course with a bit of tweaking. As a teacher you might want to share this work with your students and guide them through the different stages they need to follow to produce a good piece of prose or poetry.

The 5 steps featured in this visual are : inspiration (some basic techniques for generating inspiration and ideas to write about), Brainstorm (mapping out ideas), Form and Style (raise students consciousness to the different styles out there), Word Choice (use of language and vocabulary), Five Sense (engage your senses to create and imagine scenarios for your ideas and writing).

The visual is available in PDF format that you can download for free and use with your students. Here is the download link. Click here to see and download the original poster. 

Get 500 free books on coding

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Coding is one of the most demanded skills in the 21st century learning. There is a growing need for teaching students the fundamentals of coding and computer programming not only because these are the skills needed for the future job market but also because coding allows learners to better understand their digitally focused life and therefore enhance their interaction with digital media.

We have already featured a plethora of interesting resources, apps, and tools that teachers and parents can draw on to introduce coding to their kids and today we are sharing with you another important resource we learned from Life Hacker. The popular GitHub has compiled this excellent list comprising more than 500 free books on programming and coding. The books cover different topics from programming languages to software architecture.

We thought you might want to have a browse through this list and see if anything grabs your eye. Enjoy 

Professionally designed templates to use in Google Docs and sheets

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Template Gallery is a useful Google Doc add-on for teachers and students. It provides you with a variety of professionally designed templates for your documents and spreadsheets. Most of these templates are not available in Google Drive’s public gallery. Examples of the templates provided by this add-on include: calendars, schedules, invoices, time sheets, budgeting tools, letters, resumes, financial calculators, and more.

To use Template Gallery, you need to install the extension from this page. Once installed you can then browse through the gallery.”When you find a template you want to use, click on the Copy to Google Drive button and the add-on will save a copy of the template into the root folder of your Google Drive.”

A Google drive tool to insert different accents in your docs

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Easy Accents is definitely a must have Google Docs add-on for students, teachers, educators and anyone else who write using different language formats. Easy Accents enables you to easily insert accents for different languages directly into your Google Doc. The add-on supports a wide variety of accents that include: Esperanto Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Māori, Português, Sámi, Spanish to mention a few. And only recently Easy Accents added a new feature that lets you insert capital accents in your docs.

To start using Easy Accent, you need to install it from this page. After granting it permission to access your Google Docs, you simply click on “Add-ons” and select “Easy Accents” and then click the language you want to use. Accents of that language will be displayed on the sidebar of your Google doc from which you can directly insert them into your paper. Watch this video, created by Greg Lawrence, to see this add-on in action. 

The ultimate guide to hashtags

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Hashtags are social networking phenomena par excellence. They originated in Twitter a around 2008 and since then they adopted and integrated into many other popular social platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus, and Instagram. We have already shared several posts covering the educational potential of hashtags, most popular among them all is teachers’ simple guide on the use of hashtags.

Today we are sharing with you this beautiful visual we discovered through a tweet from Tom D’Amico. This visual, which is created by Quick Sprout and initially shared on The Seen, provides a very good explanation of what the concept of hashtaging is all about and how it works in different social media websites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. We invite you to have a look and as always share with us what you think of this work.

Click here to see a larger view.

Google announced a free online education conference

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Google has recently announced Education on Air which is a free online conference about leading for the future and shaping today’s classrooms. This event which will take place on May 8-9 is open to anyone with an interest in education: teachers, administrators, students,parents, school leaders…

Education on Air is hosted online so you can join it anywhere you are with Internet connection. The conference schedule and list of speakers will be released next April. Here is what is in plan so far.

Day 1: Leading the future “On Friday, May 8 from 10am-3pm EST, hear from educators, students and business leaders on the topic of leadership in education. Short keynotes and panels will help answer the question “how do we prepare our students for a future that is ever-changing?” Topics will include creating student ownership, leading change and fostering innovation in schools.

Day 2: Shaping the classroom today On Saturday, May 9, join any of the 90+ sessions, run by educators for educators and held throughout the day across time zones. These sessions are designed to help you immediately in your school. We’ll have tracks for four groups: teachers, leaders, IT and general interest. Topics will include supporting literacy in early learners, successful device deployment and empowering digital citizens.

Register here to stay updated about Education on Air proceedings.

Gianfranco D'Aversa

Mexico City // Rome // Foggia

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