New To TeachThought? 33 Of Our Top Posts Of 2012

, , 1 Comment

 

best-of-teachthought

 

The following list represents some of our best posts of 2012. TeachThought didn’t launch until late late July/early August of 2012, but in that time, through the gifts and effort of many of our staff and partners, we’ve been able to put together some content that some of you have found helpful.

These are not simply our most popular posts based on pageviews and social media sharing. (In fact, some of the list represents our least-shared content.) It is rather a mix of some of your favorites, and some of ours, and can function as a pretty good starting point if you’re just discovering TeachThought.

1. How 21st Century Thinking Is Just Different

“There is more information available to any student with a smartphone than an entire empire would have had access to three thousand years ago. In one form or another, that idea has been repeated quite a bit since the Shift Happens videos were making their rounds on YouTube a few years ago, but it’s easy to miss how incredible this is. Truth may not change, but information does. And in the age of social media, it divides and duplicates in a frenzied kind of digital mitosis.”

2. What the iPad’s Popularity Says About Education

“Whether you find the iPad’s success energizing, interesting, or repulsive (we’ve seen all three reactions recently across our social media channels), there’s no denying its presence. The little glass rectangle from Cupertino has left a lot of change in its wake. Education is operated by human beings (for now), and sometimes human nature takes over, looking for a fix, solution, or magic bullet to a problem that’s enormously complex.”

3. How Google Impacts The Way Students Think

“The natural limitations of Google have led to a cottage industry of digital platforms that have moved past simple mass curation. These traditional social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpondiigopearltreesScoopit, and others enable users to save information. Upstarts like pinterest make this process niche, allowing for plucking of visual artifacts, and allowing users to organize them into infinite categories.”

4. 12 Alternatives To Letter Grades In Education

“The letter grade fails because its job–to communicate learning results to learners and families—cannot possibly be performed a single symbol.”

5. 12 Principles Of Mobile Learning

“Mobile Learning is about self-actuated personalization. As learning practices and technology tools change, mobile learning itself will continue to evolve. For 2013, the focus is on a variety of challenges, from how learners access content to how the idea of a “curriculum” is defined.”

6. What Education Can Learn From Video Games

“Here, the pursuit of mundane minutiae can become paramount. Traditional goals—“beating the game”—are in effect supplanted by a self-selected, self-paced, and even artistic expression of your interaction with the game. With some achievements so difficult to obtain, requiring huge investments in time, the achievements became both personal expression and social status.”

7. 25 Ways to Use the iPad in the Classroom by Complexity

This visual demonstrates 25 ways the iPad can be used in the classroom, and is arranged by complexity. More than anything else, this can be helpful for ideas.

8. Why All Ed Reform Fails

“Citizenship requires awareness, and awareness starts with learning of some kind. The need for a literate society extends beyond concepts of industry and workforce: the human spirit has prevailed for millennia in societies absent our sprawling Capitalism. So in this kind of society, where does the “learning” happen?”

9. How The Brain Works

“Although the brain is an amazing organ, it’s not equipped to process the billions of bits of information that bombard it every second. Filters in your brain protect it from becoming overloaded. These filters control the information flow so that only approximately 2,000 bits of information per second enter the brain.”

10. 25 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom by Complexity

Like the iPad visual above, this post shows off 25 ways the twitter can be used in the classroom, and is also arranged by complexity.

11. The Past, Present, and Future of the iPad in Learning

“Education has an odd reputation for both resisting change, and short-sightedly jumping on emerging edu-trends. This odd juxtaposition colors much of the school reform debate, and bleeds into its adoption of technology as well. In many schools, iPads are being used in extraordinary ways to unleash student learning, while in others it’s characterized as a luxury, lacking priority in an instructional setting where the curriculum and instruction may not considered to be up-to-snuff.”

12. How Gamification Uncovers Nuance In The Learning Process

“There are as many pathways to “success” as there are individual personalities; this is a theme of the 21st century. Gamification allows not just for recognition of these ideas, but convincing validation for truly personalized learning.”

13. Rethinking Grading In A 21st Century, Project-Based Learning Environment

“Before you can evaluate the performance of any grading or scoring system, it must be clear what the goal or function of such system is. What should a “grade” do?”

14. How To Capture Ideas Visually With The iPad

“By its very design, the iPad promotes consumption. Essentially an interactive mobile screen, the combination of physical form and supporting software-based user interface on Apple’s wunder-tablet suggests watching and listening, enabling you to tear the “monitor” off the desk and take it with you.”

15. 12 Silent Saboteurs Of Innovation In Education

“Top-down change–programs from the district and state level, for example–can certainly support educators, but lasting innovation and change must come from a collaboration between learners, educators, and communities. In an era of “accountability,” teachers are tasked with “proving” everything.”

16. 10 Secrets To Surviving As A Teacher

“Surviving as a teacher isn’t easy. Between the sheer work load, diversity of tasks, brutal pace, and seemingly divergent initiatives pulling you in a thousand directions, education can break even the most noble spirits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Below are ten tips to keep you ticking when things get tough.”

17. How To Be A Mediocre Teacher

“So you’ve got to admire the mediocre teacher in that they exist in schools at all. They’re the survivors in the school building, able to withstand crushing district programs, and decade after decade of government mandates to keep on keeping on. If there is ever a zombie apocalypse (or any kind of apocalypse for that matter), find the closest mediocre teacher and follow them.”

18. 23 Ways To Use The iPad In Project-Based Learning

“Project-Based Learning is a method of giving learners access to curriculum in authentic ways that promote collaboration, design, imagination, and innovation while also allowing for more natural integration of digital and social media. While given strategies may or may not fit exactly into your curriculum or grade level, consider them instead as a kind of board of ideas to inspire your own thinking.”

19. 12 Characteristics of an iPad-Ready Classroom

“Implementing iPads isn’t exactly a just-add-water proposition. While they’re wondrous little devices capable of enchanting learners for hours, to get the learning results you’re likely after will take planning, design, and reflection.”

20. Moby Dick Is Dead: The Search For The Modern Reader

“Moby Dick, then, isn’t so much dead as eagerly seeking an audience with the 21st Century learner, and it is our charge as educators–through technology, a new emphasis on schema, and a new purpose for intellectual, cultural, and media diversity–to creatively accommodate that.”

21. 50 iPad Apps For Struggling Readers And Writers

“Whether you’re the parent of a child with a reading disability or an educator that works with learning disabled students on a daily basis, you’re undoubtedly always looking for new tools to help these bright young kids meet their potential and work through their disability.”

22. What You Need To Know About Self-Directed Learning

“Why It’s Especially Relevant In 2013: Modern access to information and formal (e.g., MOOCs and free eLearning sources) and informal (video games and simulations) learning platforms make self-directed learning more accessible–and powerful–than ever before.”

23. 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deploying iPads

“Usually, iPad deployment will focus more on budget issues, apps, networking logistics, check-in and check-out procedures, school and district tech-use policies, hardware precautions, and aspects of classroom management. To begin thinking more broadly about iPads in an educational environment, consider questions like these.”

24. 27 Ways To Publish Student Thinking

“Publishing student thinking can be among the most powerful ways to improve learning. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the biggest reason is that the “threat” of publishing moves the lodestone from the classroom to the “real world.” This, of course, changes everything.”

25. 9 Characteristics Of 21st Century Learning

“Some educators seek out the ideal of a 21st century learning environment constantly, while others prefer that we lose the phrase altogether, insisting that learning hasn’t changed, and good learning looks the same whether it’s the 12th or 21st century.”

26. 12 Characteristics Of An iPad-Ready Classroom

“Implementing iPads isn’t exactly a just-add-water proposition. While they’re wondrous little devices capable of enchanting learners for hours, to get the learning results you’re likely after will take planning, design, and reflection.”

27. How Students Learn

“By watching predictions play out. 2. Through the right collaboration at the right time. 3. By being left alone. 4. Through play. 5. By seeing the parts of the whole, and the whole of the parts.”

28. The Illusion Of The Widget

“And so public education whirs on without an identity or brand; it continues to trying to reinvent itself without leadership—personal, curricular, or structural—much less any useful degree of commonness other than to unanimously admit, at best, the inexcusable mediocrity of our collective machine. In a country with the resources that we posses, this is Shakespearean-style tragedy.”

29. 50 Top Sources Of Free eLearning Content

“From databases that organize over 1,000,000 students throughout 16 universities, to a small library of documents for those interested in history, the opportunities for free online learning continue to expand as the Internet becomes a crucial component in education.”

30. Clarifying Transfer

“If you only can recall and state something you don’t really understand it. You have to be able to explain and justify its meaning and applicability – a Meaning goal – and you also have to be able to apply it into settings where it is needed, without being prompted to do so or shown exactly how to do so – Transfer.”

31. 100 Best Digital Learning Tools For 2012

“There is therefore a clear trend this year in using tools to “organize” digital resources, as well as a continued interest in notetaking tools; Evernote continues its rise up the list, and MS OneNote makes its way back up the list again too (probably due to its new mobile apps).”

32. 60 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom By Category

“Social media offers some great opportunities for learning in the classroom, bringing together the ability to collaborate, access worldwide resources, and find new and interesting ways to communicate in one easily accessible place.”

33. How They Get It

“How can you tell if a student really understands something? They learn early on to fake understanding exceptionally well, and even the best assessment leaves something on the table. (In truth, a big portion of the time students simply don’t know what they don’t know.)”