Teaching the process of writing

If the teacher does not provide students the time required to process a piece of writing, then she will continue red-marking those “final” drafts until the end of time. And the student will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

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The dilemma  hand-944607_640

One big problem with education is the inconsistencies from teacher to teacher. Teachers follow the “standards,” but there is a gray area between each standard and each year. Also, teachers perceive and teach things in different ways.

Perceiving the writing process

For example, many teachers tell students to follow the writing process, but they do not emphasize that each step in the process has equal value. Too many teachers emphasize the final draft more than any other draft. Nancie Atwell, the author of In the Middle, writes that what you do not include in your final draft is just as important as what you do include.

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.

– Anne Lamott

The Final Draft

By the time a writer gets to the final draft, it should be final, or as close as the writer can get to a final. At the end of the process, the student has cut and pasted, conferred with the teacher and fellow students, edited, proofread and run the paper through Grammarly so many times that it should be his or her best work.

Why do teachers get papers that are far from the student’s best work?

Teachers need to carve out the time for their students to think of an idea, write the first draft, the second draft, (however, many it takes) confer, revise, edit, and proofread. If the teacher does not provide students the time required to process a piece of writing, then she will continue red-marking those “final” drafts until the end of time. And the student will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

Cultivate     pen-1570634_640

If teachers develop the skill of using the writing process from the time their students start writing until they graduate, the process will be second nature to students. Every year students need to learn that cultivating writing is a process that takes time.

Erase the inconsistencies

Teachers who teach writing are, or absolutely should be, writers. Any writer knows that writing is a complex and non-linear process. Writers know this because they consistently practice the writing process. This practice eventually leads to something close to perfection.

To emphasize the value of each step of the writing process, teachers must allow students the time to follow it diligently. Only then can we expect them to churn out quality writing.

Explore and evaluate your writing process

Teaching in the 21st-century classroom: Learning Port’s simple version

The Essential 21st-century Skills

The essential 21st-century skills include creative thinking and innovation, problem-solving and reasoning, global and cultural awareness, collaboration and technological literacy. Fortunately, we have the technology to teach these skills to the 21st-century generation. One way is through the flipped classroom.

The simple version of the flipped classroom

In the flipped classroom, students use valuable classroom time for creative thinking and innovation, problem-solving and reasoning,  global and cultural awareness, and collaboration. Instead of listening to a teacher lecture about a subject, students listen to a lecture to familiarize themselves with the content of the subject outside of the classroom.  The next day, they come to class prepared to apply their knowledge.

Bloom’s Taxonomy
blooms-tax-01-sbIf students are going to learn the essential 21st-century skills that we claim to be teaching them, they need to use their valuable classroom time to apply these skills.The classroom is a hotbed for collaboration and creative thinking. Teachers and students should not waste this valuable time passively absorbing information. They must exercise higher order thinking skills.

Here is what you should do

  1. Assign a module for homework. The advantages:
  • it takes less time than a classroom lecture and it is interactive
  • students with a short attention span can take a break
  • students learn the material at their own pace.
  • students can replay material that they do not understand
  • students can test their understanding at the end of the module
  1. Assess the student of the material before presenting the classroom challenge.
  • assign the assessment provided at the end of the module.
  • use the immediate feedback to gauge the students’ understanding
  • answer questions about the material before proceeding with the lesson
  1. Present a problem (a lab, a math concept, an essay. . .) that promotes
  • creative thinking and innovation,
  • problem-solving and reasoning,
  • global and cultural awareness
  • collaboration,

Now what?

The only thing left to do is try it. All of Learning Port’s  modules are aligned with the MOE curriculum guidelines so you can find a module that matches the lesson you want to teach. It might be an adjustment at first. You will have to figure out the timing, adapt the strategy to a student who may not have access to the Internet at home, but the students will reap the benefits from this positive shift from a passive approach to learning to an engaging and enlightened one.

Welcome

This blog is for parents, teachers, tutors and students who want to support each other.

Welcome to our blog.

This blog is for parents, teachers, tutors and students who want to support each other.

Parents

Here you can find answers to questions as simple as what is e-learning. How will my child benefit from using e-learning? How can I support my child? Why is this e-learning platform better than any other one? Where can I find more information? How do Learning Port Modules align with the curriculum?

Teachers and Tutors

Blogs include the latest in technology, lesson plan ideas, musings about e-learning, and what is happening in the world of education.  You can find links to supplement your lessons. You can read about some of the many ways that you can use Learning Port products in and out of the classroom. Posts will also include articles about how to prepare students for higher education in the 21st-century.

Students

Look here for tips on how to prepare for exams or classroom tests. Find out which of our modules will help you understand lessons taught in your classroom. We may even throw in some games and jokes.

E-learning defined

An e-learner chooses when and where he or she will learn, and how long he or she will spend on the lesson. The e-learner takes learning into his or her own hands and follows the principles of motivation, feedback, practice, and reinforcement upon which e-learning is founded.

by Elizabeth Goodhue

E-learning

When I tell people that I work for an e-learning company, I am usually met with a blank stare, or comments like, oh, so you are a teacher? I am, but I don’t teach. I work with a team of teachers, instructional designers, graphic designers and programmers to design modules for both learners who want to learn outside of the classroom on their own time and at their own pace and for educators who want to use e-learning to motivate their students.

What is learning?

According to Google, learning is “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.”

E-learning is “learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet.

“Successful e-learning depends on the self-motivation of individuals to study effectively. ”

The key word here is learning. According to talentlms, learning is “acquiring skills to tackle not only today’s issues but to tackle tomorrow’s issues as well.” No matter how you define it, learning happens when we absorb information and retain it so that we can apply it to the world.

For the purpose of this article, which is to gain a general sense of the term, e-learning is learning from an Internet-based platform. An e-learner chooses when and where he or she will learn, and how long he or she will spend on the lesson. The e-learner takes learning into his or her own hands and follows the principles of motivation, feedback, practice, and reinforcement upon which e-learning is founded.

Technology — Friend or Foe

Technology is not the villain when it comes to attention span. If we use technology in our classrooms to teach, we open space for critical thinking and problem solving. Then our students can move outside of the classroom to be interns, volunteer for people in need, perform scientific experiments, create masterpieces, or write symphonies.

When students use Snapchat or Instagram during class, what are they trying to tell us?

In 2015, The Telegraph posted an article suggesting that humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones. If this is true, then most of their readers did not read the conclusion: “Just because we may be allocating our attention differently as a function of the technologies we may be using, it doesn’t mean that the way our attention actually can function has changed.”

What is the average attention span?

Some research suggests that using a child’s age plus one year is a starting point for the number of minutes a child can attend to a single assigned task — 5 +1 minutes for a 5-year-old, 8 minutes for a 7-year-old, etc. This means that a teenager may be able to pay attention in class for 14 to 19 minutes. However, activity, interest, motivation, fatigue, among other things, factor into attention span.

What’s the real problem?

Perhaps instead of worrying about how technology distracts students, we should consider the real problem, which is how we teach our children. If a 15-year old’s attention span is 16 minutes, then why are we teaching in blocks of 50 to 90 minutes or more? If our attention spans are as short as the number of years we have lived, why shouldn’t our students use the Internet as a tool to get past the trivial stuff?

Learning efficiently

Using technology to promote learning, teaches self-motivation, pacing, and an efficient way to learn the essentials of math, science, reading and writing. Encouraging and training students to use technology to gain knowledge efficiently provides us with the space to teach them more about the world.

Open up the span of learning

By the time a student reaches university he or she should use calculators, e-learning, and other Internet sources. Then he or she will have more time to address the more important complex issues that no one else can solve, or write articles that no one else has written, or make new scientific discoveries.

Technology is no villain

The extra time students gain by using shortcuts that the Internet provides gives them more time to explore things that it cannot teach us like compassion, empathy, grit, love, pain, dedication, motivation, how to navigate the world, and how to be happy.

Technology is not the villain when it comes to attention span. If we use technology in our classrooms to teach, we open space for critical thinking and problem-solving. Then our students can move outside of the classroom to be interns, volunteer for people in need, perform scientific experiments, create masterpieces, or write symphonies.

What is Gamification?

If you are a parent who is wary of an e-learning platform that promises gamification, never fear! When we learn, we absorb information; we manipulate; we make mistakes; we try again, and continue learning until we can apply what we learn to the real world. Gamification challenges students and parents to take an active part in their learning process by moving at their own pace and reaping the rewards.

by Elizabeth Goodhue

Gamification is not gaming

I don’t want my child to play games all day!

If you are looking for an e-learning platform to support your child’s learning, gamification is going to be a feature. If you interpret this term the wrong way, you might say that the last thing parents want their children to do is to play more games on the computer. But hold that thought for a moment.

Why is a child is willing to spend hours, sometimes entire weekends, in front of a screen playing a game? Your children love games because they get instant feedback and rewards. We, humans, love rewards. We are a competitive lot and when we can advance to the next level of a challenge it motivates us to keep going. It makes us feel better that we have accomplished something, and we have! The same is true when we learn.  Gamification gives students the incentive to succeed. So when you look for a strong e-learning platform for your child, remember that gamification is a good thing.

What is gamification?

Gamification has been around since the late 1800’s.  Originally, companies used reward systems to encourage people to buy from them and to build loyalty.

I am old enough to remember Green Stamps from the early 1960’s. They were all the rage with housewives. Whenever my mother filled the gas tank or went to the grocery store, she only went to places that gave her green stamps. Religiously, she pasted them into her Green Stamps booklet. When the book was full, she could trade it in for a houseware product.  It was hard to tell what was more exciting — filling the book or getting the actual reward. Essentially, every time she bought from the A&P or Esso, she would get a reward. She made a point of shopping there just so that she could get her just reward — a behaviorist approach to establishing loyalty!

Fast forward to the computer age.  Gamers were born! Marketers, educators, policy makers, and businesses followed suit. Why wouldn’t the benefits of the instant feedback and rewards that enticed gamers, entice buyers,  clients, and students as well?

Now gamification has spread to the e-learning field with outstanding results.

Playing games and gamification are not the same things

First of all, playing games and gamification are not the same things. There may be mini-games within the framework, but the gamification is the big picture. When you hear the word gamification in a sales pitch for e-learning, it means that students learn under a framework of gamification. The sole purpose of gamification is motivating and reinforcing student learning with feedback, rewards, and a chance to practice a subject until they master it.

How does gamification lead to mastery?

  • Immediate feedback

  • With gamification, students get immediate feedback confirming their response to the material with an explanation or a hint for the student to try again.  A ribbon displays the student’s progressive score as he or she proceeds through a module. At any point during the module, the student can review the feedback and try to improve his or her results.

  • Hard Evidence

  • Gamification provides hard evidence of student progress by collecting and storing a record of it. The data to measures the student’s success, how many attempts or how long it took to achieve it, and whether or not the student needs more practice to reach mastery. Parents who are curious about their student’s progress can access this data as well.

  • Reward

  • Gamification reinforces a sense of accomplishment for students who reach academic goals by boosting them to the next level of learning. Thus gamification rewards students’ with new challenges and activities while receiving badges and tangible rewards as well.

  • Active, not passive, learning

  • Learners learn by doing. Gamification stimulates learners to engage in what they learn rather than having to wade through volumes of overwhelming text. Gamification scaffolds a subject to make it possible for learners to accomplish simple tasks and build upon them to gain knowledge.

Never fear

pt3-gamificationIf you are a parent who is wary of an e-learning platform that promises gamification, never fear! When we learn, we absorb information; we manipulate; we make mistakes; we try again, and continue learning until we can apply what we learn to the real world. Gamification challenges students and parents to take an active part in their learning process by moving at their own pace and reaping the rewards.