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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Find the time to upgrade your lessons for the 21st Century

Over the last few weeks, I have heard some great ideas for making my lessons more effective in the classroom.  I am not resistant to change and technology integration, but like most, I don’t always have time for all of the logistics.  Guess what, I just found the time!
This is my lucky month.  No excuses!  I have an extra day!  Inspired by Heidi Hayes Jacobs (at FETC) I am going to take one small step and upgrade just one lesson for the 21st Century. Why not ask your principal if you could leap over one faculty meeting and spend the time upgrading the content, skills and assessments to bring it into 21st Century ?  Surely you have one lesson that could use an overhaul!   Technology can provide ideas, content, tools to help you do just that.

Looking for some ideas?  Visit  for a comprehensive library of lessons that reflect upgrades in content, delivery, and assessments.

Upgrade your content by linking to videos from youtube or schooltube to give students a visual introduction to lessons.  Use Google News to search for current events on specific topics.  Visit the Library of Congress site to find primary documents.  There are many new ways to upgrade your content.  Did you know that Wikipedia is now considered as reliable as Encyclopedia Britannica?

Incorporate the 4C’s – creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
Is brainstorming part of your lesson?  Use wallwisher, linoit, or edistorm – simple post it note tools.  Students can see each other’s postings, reflect and comment on them.  Media and other resources can be attached to postings.

Do you hold class discussions?  Get kids started with a prompt in a discussion tool, like Collaborize Classroom  including visuals, informational text, etc to start the discussion at home.  Collaborize Classroom, a free discussion platform has a whole library of high quality questions that can be copied to your classroom site with the push of a button.

Are you looking for problem or challenge based learning?  Use the SCAN tool at TregoED to teach students a problem solving strategy based on the acronym SCAN.  Use the free problem based scenarios to have your students participate in a session practicing true collaboration.  Lessons are easy to set up and students just log in with a screen name (no registration, passwords, etc.)

No matter what you chose to upgrade, technology can decrease your workload, increase student engagement and give them opportunities to practice 21st century skills within the content.

Take advantage of of leap day!  Take the time to take the first step.  (And while you’re at it, why not ask your principal to take the leap and let you use the time at another faculty meeting sharing your successes?)

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