Vicki Davis, another STAR at PETE&C

At PETE&C on Tuesday morning, Vicki Davis, a STAR Discovery Educator from Georgia, delivered a thought-provoking session on Technology Driven Differentiated Instruction.

Below I have reflected on some of the big ideas surrounding her message.

Big Idea #1:  Pick 3. Vicki emphasized that educators should identify the next three things they want to learn, and then work on building those new ideas in the classroom experience.  During this process, educators should remain focused on what the technology “does,” and evaluate whether it will make us more efficient and effective while enhancing the learning experiences for our students.  Educators should not just focus on what’s new and trendy.

Big Idea #2:  Every student learns differently.  To meet the needs of all learners, Vicki laid out 5 important components of what she calls the “Classroom Car.”

Part 1: Educational (social) Networking.  This could include a private ning or something like Edmodo.  With an educational network, those who are typically quiet in class are often the ones who excel in this new environment.  When using Educational Networks, make sure you encourage your students to “help you” build the learning experience, don’t just do it for them.

Part 2:  Wiki-centric classroom.  Utilize a classroom wikispace to help keep all students informed of what’s happening.  Let your wiki be the envelope through which all other things are housed.  Embed a Google Calendar into the wiki and add all of your lesson plans to the Google Calendar.  This will greatly benefit all students and their parents.

Part 3:  PLN / PLC.  A personal learning network pulls together your community and professional environment.  Encourage students to create custom iGoogle pages. They can add a ToodleDo gadget to their iGoogle and keep an ongoing To Do list that can interact with their cell phones.  They are also encouraged to subscribe to all school calendars.  On their iGoogle they can add links to class websites, and have the Google Docs, Google Reader, and Google Mail gadgets.

Part 4: Audio Production

Part 5: Video Production

Part 6:  Global Learning Projects.  Vicki started the Flat Classroom Project which focuses on ISTE NET standards.  Though she emphasized the need to flatten the classroom walls, she did state that there needs to be a learning progression.  Educators should slowly go from: classroom > school/district > managed global connection > student to student collaboration in another country with teacher management > student management of a global connection.  Ultimately, we need to look at the big picture to understand who our students are.  We cannot just focus on project-based learning nor can we focus solely on tests.  Overtime, educators need to take the risks necessary to flatten their classroom walls and provide their students with the types of global experiences that will be necessary to success in the 21st century.

The second part of Vicki’s session was focused on Gardner’s eight multiple intelligences and ideas for customizing learning experiences to address those learning styles.

To see how she highlighted each learning style in a given learning experience, check out her presentation.

Here are some highlights that I really connected with:

  1. When focusing on students’ learning styles, focus on dual encoding.
  2. Utilize technology to unleash and transform kids.
  3. Give student choice to get them excited and interested.

One of the coolest integration ideas Vicki shared was having students create an invention and then make an animo commercial as if it already exists.  I love this idea because it offers lots of student choice and could be adapted for any grade level.

My favorite social studies idea Vicki shared was having students invent scenarios in history.  If Lincoln and Churchill had a talk about ________, what would they say?

To conclude, Vicki’s session was truly focused on the idea that we must provide conditions in which students can learn.

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