Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!
Will Richardson, author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (Corwin Press) asserts that thousands of teachers use technologies, including Blogs, to create forums for interactive learning.
I know of several fifth grade teachers, for example, who write blogs that challenge their students to dig deeper into class assignments by asking questions that require additional research to answer. Students who do extra work get extra credit.
Online, of course, any blog is open to a worldwide audience, but the teachers I know who have created blogs are writing to get the attention of their own students. They post their blog addresses in their classrooms on the blackboard or white board. If they also have a website, teacher bloggers include eye-catching links on both sites and they include their blog addresses at the close of e-mail messages they send to parents.
In other words, teacher bloggers post and repeat their online addresses with creative graphics and standout fonts to get the attention of their target audiences.
Technology options for interactive learning and communication aren’t limited to blogs, websites and e-mails. Richardson identifies six additional technologies in what he calls, “the teacher’s toolbox” that “promise to change the way we teach and learn.” These include Wikis; Rich Site Summary (RSS); Aggregators; Social Bookmarking; Online Photo Galleries and Audio/video-casting.
Whooa! Even teachers who are recent graduates of schools of education may need tutorials to master the Read/Write Web. Educators who began their careers during the Web’s early years or before it was even born may find the prospect of learning how to use these technologies somewhat daunting.
A big motivation to embrace some or all of tools in the Read/Write Web is that the content and graphics teachers write and create for one tool can be transported easily to another.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to help fifth grade students focus on the key points of a historical document in your Social Studies curriculum. You can format the key points in a post on your blog and copy the post to your website, encouraging students to visit both. You may also invite them to interact with the information by posting comments.
Not technology savvy and maybe not a techie wannabe? No problem! There are plenty of ways to focus student attention on learning with creative repetition that’s technology-free. Let’s go back to the Social Studies lesson…
Here are a few tech-free tricks to try:
- Make a colorful poster with the key points of the historical document.
- Break up the key points into pieces that students can collect in a classroom scavenger hunt.
- Copy the poster, cut it into puzzle pieces and invite students to put the puzzle together.
There’s no question that creative repetition gets attention and helps children master information and skills.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!
Talk with you next week,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet