Friday, March 16, 2007

Learning in a NY Minute

The NY Times Learning site has many great features to help students and teachers utilize the high quality content that should be associated with a high profile newspaper. Here are few of them made possible by the Internet:

  • Leveled reading for select articles--click on the grade level, and you get the same content with varying levels of comprehension-based complexity. Great for differentiation!
  • Hyperlinked vocabulary terms--click on the "turn on vocabulary" button, and certain key words in the article become linked to definitions. Great for building comprehension and for ELL!
  • Snapshot--each day a different photograph is featured with connections to current events. Great for taking advantage of our students' affinity for pictures!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What if? Simulation Education

"Simulation always comes back to a person asking, "What if?" This month's Edutopia focuses on the benefits of using simulations in education. Written by Marc Prensky, the featured article reminds us that simulations are not new or limited to technology (people have been asking "what if" since the beginning of time), but what we need to remember as teachers in the 21st C. is that for our students, these technology-enriched versions of "what if" meet many of their learning styles. What this means is that even for those of us who are not the most game-savvy (with the line between simulations and games growing ever less distinct), we need to build on the instructional strategies that work for our students. And for many of them, games might be the ticket to helping them reach understanding.

According to Prensky, the benefits from playing games include learning how to:
  • cooperate, collaborate, and work under stress
  • make effective decisions under stress
  • take prudent risks in pursuit of objectives
  • make ethical and moral decisions
  • employ scientific deduction
  • quickly master and apply new skills and information
  • think laterally and strategically
  • persist and solve difficult problems
  • understand and deal with foreign environments and cultures
  • manage businesses and people.
More resources from Edutopia: Social Impact Games , Sims Info