August 21, 2020
Can I develop the right amount of content for my students?
That was my immediate thought when I encountered an iPad for the first occasion.
The purpose of this article is to share with you a different perspective on how to use Schoolwork rather than other apps for teaching and learning. In my opinion, Schoolwork is offering a new way of teaching and learning, which is more focused on active learning and digital differentiation.
Learning modality evolves each day
This story is not focused on technological issues but rather on learning. This year it was clear to me that there was a demand from students for digital education as everything is now digital in our daily lives. And particularly during lockdown, how else could students learn from home without a digital platform? I usually introduce math in my classes through problem solving because I think that creativity is the basis for learning math.
I used mainly two principal ingredients: Schoolwork and Keynote. Keynote was used to create a template for each student (Scaffolding). Schoolwork was used for quickly distributing a copy to each student so they could adapt and create their own method to solve a problem. Schoolwork is essentially focused on tasks. But this was only the beginning of the process.
In fact when I used Schoolwork for cooperative learning lessons, something special happened. All of my students received a mathematical expression and remarkably all of them produced the result; they simply needed to find the operation to complete the set tasks. In this lab it was very important to focus on peer to peer evaluation and student cooperation was at the centre of learning “I need you to effectively accomplish my task!”.
How can we best learn remotely?
Transform homework by using Schoolwork! This is the story of a maths test which lasted ten days; sharing is better than copying…this is how life works sometimes; negative events can create opportunities. Distance learning after more than two months is very hard for both students and teachers. We all require face to face contact to be part of a real community. This is especially true for young students, their first year in secondary school; they lost the sense to be new, entering the school environment ready to become young adults. They lost something special. Some of them had difficulty dealing with domestic problems with relatives, economical restrictions and so on, and their learning proficiency was critical to helping them move forward in life.
As teachers we were really worried about the difficulties they faced completing homework; yes homework … I hate you! So in my maths lesson the time for the written algebra test arrived and I found enormous improvements. Some honestly too much! Surely some of them copied?? As I review this project I realise that collaboration is a key component of successful learning; share and you can gain new knowledge.
So I decided two things: I did not change the evaluation and I took this situation as an opportunity to make an experience of what sharing is and the importance of not copying! I shared this point with my students using a calm and reassuring voice as I know how important it is to be real in front of students. I also informed my students about the evaluation process and that high results would be the basis for the following year’s lessons. It was at this point that one student admitted copying! This presented the opportunity to express one great fact in life: for anyone there is a second chance! I found a renewed sense of hope and decided to launch a new type of written math test: a 10 days long test! In ten days I prepared and shared a one to one keynote on Schoolwork and all lectures were devoted to completing these tasks. This turned out to be a fabulous sharing occasion; students were really free to ask questions, they personalized the required maps and voice recordings helped make the entire process creative. I encouraged my students to 1) Share, 2) Develop their ideas and 3) Simplify, simplify, simplify. In retrospect, I am so grateful that lockdown presented me with the opportunity to break down old walls. My old methods and evaluation was ingrained in my flesh and brain and it was limiting the possibility for students to learn important stories and experiences through creativity.
Click here to learn more about Schoolwork.