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Give Teachers Credit: They Know Learning Is Social

Ed Surge – Brad Spirrison

” The enthusiasm shared by educators who understand that social media will forever impact their lives and practice is very reminiscent of the vibe expressed by dot-commers two decades ago during the first wave of the Internet boom—this is a very good thing. I’ve served as both a journalist and participant within each movement. My job is to interview and survey the pioneers, investors and stakeholders who drive technological change, share their stories, and collaborate with very smart people to build and distribute tools that help everyone else get involved.”(more)

To Build Teamwork, Breakout EDU Challenges Students to Think Out of the Box

Ed Surge – Chrissy Romano-Arrabito

“I was on my way to my new gig as an elementary teacher one morning when I first heard the term “PBL paralysis” on a podcast. Erin Murphy and Ross Cooper, authors of Hacking Project Based Learning, were using the term to describe the hesitance that teachers feel when jumping into Project Based Learning (PBL), a hands-on model which encourages students to learn through doing. Their advice? Start with a small project and go from there. I decided to take their advice, beginning with a simple project for my 3rd graders around designing balloon-powered cars. But what started out as promising quickly went south. Balloons weren’t inflating, cars weren’t making moves. While I observed my students, I realized the main reason they were struggling was that they simply weren’t working together as team. There was no collaboration and there certainly was no effective communication. In some groups, students were downright mean to each other.”(more)

The Importance of Preparing Students for Life After Graduation Through Collaborative Learning

Education World – Joel Stice

“Kathy Murphy, a seventh-grade math teacher in Worchester, MA, often has both students and parents question her about the value of her group work assignments. It’s only after presenting them with the challenge of explaining what they already know to a peer that they see the value of collaboration. “Even the kid who thinks they are the top student can learn something from the other students,” Murphy told Edutopia. Few problems in the real world are solved by a single individual, and teaching through collaboration in the classroom presents a number of benefits that will stay with students long after they graduate.”(more)

Teacher collaboration leads to Common Core math success

Ed Source – Theresa Harrington

“Fifth-grade math teacher Wei Zhang moves her hands in small circles with her palms up, coaxing her students to think about the math problem on the board. “This way makes it easier to certain people,” Zhang said as she explained how to set up an equation that included both addition and multiplication using brackets. “Do you have to do it this way? No. What are the other ways you have learned?” It’s a lesson in learning math the Common Core way – using multiple methods to come up with the right answer. The state standards require students to think critically as they solve problems – and math test scores at E.M. Grimmer Elementary School in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area reflect the impressive growth that students have made during the past two years.”(more)

The key to deep learning? Listen more, risk more, learn more

E-School News – Alan November

“Have you ever taught a lesson really, really well—but not all of your students got it right on the test? Or, as a student, were you ever surprised that you completely blew a question on a test? Stacey Roshan is one of those teachers who cannot accept that her students fail when the material has been covered in class. Stacey’s response to this universal dilemma is to leverage emerging technologies to learn more about how, when, and why her students make mistakes—and her techniques have led to deep learning of difficult math concepts.”(more)

STEAM education is a collaborative experience

The Daniel Island News – Kate Maas

“In schools across the country, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is the exciting new approach to classroom learning. Replacing STEM, STEAM acknowledges the importance of art (and design) in fostering creative problem solving and risk-taking. The introduction of STEAM opened exciting new instructional possibilities, good news for educators who favor creative, hands-on approaches to learning in place of textbook based lessons. Educators like Daniel Island School’s Jason McDermott. Although he’s technically the sixth grade social studies teacher, by most accounts, he’s an experienced time-travel guide who leads his students on fascinating journeys through world history.”(more)