Tag Archives: self directed learning

How Can I Generate Educational Content And Lessons For My Organization?

AlchemyLogoCropThe term educator is often used to describe a person who educates the minds of those around them with new and enriching content.  For instance, if you are a part of an organization such as a museum or a historical society, you may need to create a lesson plan and share educational content. But with your busy schedule, how can you ensure that you’re creating high quality material? Below are a few tips and strategies to help you engage and teach on behalf of your organization.

  • Hosting a ‘Lesson Hack’ Day – The perfect time to engage teachers is over the summer while class isn’t in session. For a few hours, it can be beneficial to host teachers and give them access to your resources. Not only will a lesson hack day serve as a think tank for everyone to brainstorm ideas, it can also count as Professional Development credits. If your organization hosts a PD day it can specialize on a in which topic you and your organization hold expertise. At these PD days, you and fellow educators can build and contribute to each others lessons. For a good example of a PD-driven lesson hack day, see the The Maryland Historical Society’s initiatives here:http://www.mdhs.org/education/teachers/prof-dev-workshops.
  • Teacher Fellowships – A fellowship takes place over the span of a few days or even weeks and it can include lectures and other PD activities. This is similar to a ‘lesson hack’ day except it’s longer and more intense. While this type of activity will require some funding, it can bring out a whole group of people who share the same passions as your organization. The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati has an example here:http://www.revolutionarynj.org/events/american-revolution-master-teachers-seminar/.
  • Create a Competition – Everyone has a little of a competitive streak inside of them. Creating a lesson plan competition could be a great way to generate content and create an incentive for other educators to build lesson plans centered on a specific topics that pertain your organization. The reward for the ‘winning lesson plan’ could consist of being on display or even a free class trip for the winning teacher. In addition, your organization can benefit from utilizing any of the submissions you receive. Here is an example of a lesson plan competition for the language arts:http://www.lalschools.com/en/LAL/lesson-plan-competition.
  • Editathon – Your organization may well have expertise in a given field that you can share with the world, but may find inaccuracies in a number of other sources on the web, including Wikipedia. Fortunately, there is a way to correct all of the misinformation online however: an editathon. This type of event allows anyone with a basic knowledge of editing on Wikipedia and an interest in the subject you’re lecturing on to make more credible information easily available. This type of event will also serve as a think-tank for like minded individuals to come together to discuss a topic and share ideas as well as build relationships within the community. The Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have put together an event like this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/DC/Freer_and_Sackler.

Generating educational content and lessons for your organization can be successful with collaboration and the help from other educators. While you’re building digital lessons for your organization, it’s also helpful toembed certain tools into the lesson. Digital tools can help you further engage the students and create a more impactful lesson.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter,Facebook and LinkedIn.

How Can I Encourage My Students To Continue To Learn this Summer?

Alchemy LearningThe school year is about to come to a close and you will be parting ways with the young minds you’ve spent the past year molding. However, just because they are no longer your students, that doesn’t mean your influence has to come to an end. As the idea of summer reading may seem a little outdated with the recent influx of new learning and instructional technology, there are a number of alternatives that your students can use to quench their thirst for learning with some self-directed learning! Apps as well as websites have proven to be a valuable tool to constantly engage students and further their passion for learning.

Self-Directed Tools for Elementary/Middle School Students:

  • iTooch – iTooch is an iPad and iPhone app for 3-5th grade school students to help them learn math facts, language arts and science material. This free app helps students learn the material through games and text summaries of each lesson. There are over 18,000 exercises on the app for students to try. iTooch is a great way for students to solidify the material they learned in class and keep it fresh over the summer.
  • Mathmateer –  Mathmateer is an iOS app that is great for helping elementary school students learn math facts as they correctly solve a series of math problems related to time, money, numbers, multiplication, and geometric shapes. The faster that the student answers the questions, the more points they are awarded. Points accrued allow you to purchase upgrades to your rocket ship allowing it to fly longer.
  • Sushi Monster – Sushi Monster is another free app for engaging students in math. The game is directed at 9-11 year olds and is a fun way to keep them engaged while memorizing multiplication tables. In addition to being a fun game at home, Sushi Monster meets the Common Core Standards. While playing the game, students are able to earn points and unlock new levels after mastering the basics.
  • Grammaropolis – Grammaropolis is a game-based learning app for students that are struggling with Basic English grammar. It is available on all iOS devices and comes with songs, videos, quizzes and more about all of the parts of speech. It is great for Elementary school students who may be having trouble grasping the different parts of speech and how they function.

Self-Directed Learning Tools for High School Students:

  • TEDTalks – TEDTalks embody a way to engage and inspire high school aged students to think differently about the world around them. There are over 900 TEDTalk videos that subject content varies from modern exploration, rethinking the music video and more. Some of the high profile engaging speakers include tech geniuses (Bill Gates and Larry Page), rock legends (Bono and Sting), and more.
  • MindSnacks – For high school aged students, MindSnacks breathes new life into subjects such as foreign language, SAT vocab, and geography. The app offers games and lessons that go beyond basic memorization. In addition, the app alters every users experience based on the skills that you’ve been having difficulty mastering.
  • Codecademy– Learning to code is one of the most sought after skills now in the job market. For a high school aged student who is already spending countless hours online, why not learn to build your own computer program? Codecademy currently has seven different programming languages that you can learn at your own pace on their website.

There are plenty of different tools available to help students continue learning throughout the summer. Students should not only continue to learn over the June, July, and August to prevent significant learning loss, but also to expand on the subjects they are interested in as well. Self-directed learning will help engage students in the topics they’re interested in and further their passion for education.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.