December 2019: My 20/20 Vision

Kathy's Katch

This past year, 2019, has been an exciting year! The use of new technologies in the classroom have exploded. The number of new tools, apps, and sites to support the embedding of augmented and virtual reality in the classroom have become a hot topic of discussion. And the new devices and tools for coding have turned the Hour of Code into a year-long exploration for students as well as access to makerspaces as they become commonplace in most schools.

As I look ahead and back, I just want to make sure pedagogy does not get lost in the shuffle. Without a solid content-knowledge background, and well-crafted formative and summative assessments, students may not be getting the whole picture.

My vision for 2020 is for educators to sit back and think about their good teaching practices and make sure students have a solid foundation in content.  Although technology is awesome, and provides us with cool tools and computer programs that provide students with feedback and differentiation to help them, I feel we still need to use some “old skool” pedagogically-sound methods in new ways, enhanced by technology, to support student learning.

One concept I  have been interested in for years is that of activators and summarizers and how they impact student learning. I have an entire page of my site, Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything, with all types of information and resources dedicated to the topic. And, having been trained in using Research for Better Teaching’s activators and summarizers (overview here), I know how effective taking the time to include these strategies in my classroom lessons and/or units could be for student learning. I still use some of these same methods in my online graduate courses and face-to-face workshops, too.

The Discovery Education Streaming site has included many of these type of strategies for years in their online instructional resources and techbooks. Their goal is to provide teachers with ways to embed their online video, audio, and additional resources effectively in the curriculum.  Strategies are submitted by Discovery Educators and Discovery Education staff and each strategy includes a downloadable PDF version of the ideas as well as a vignette, which may includes an instructional video or additional information by the author of the strategy idea. And, since 2018, the SOS Strategies have been aligned to McREL International’s six-phase model for learning. I have always found these great strategies to be useful in the content areas and across the curriculum outside of Discovery Educations Streaming, too.

The SOS Instructional Strategies can be found in Discovery Education Streaming, and they are categorized by topic.

On my Discovery Education blog, Kathy’s Katch, in February and March of 2016, I took some of the SOS non-tech strategies  and “digitized” them by suggesting technology tools that could enhance the strategies. And in 2018, two educators, Carrie Willis and Caitlin Arakawa, also “techified” additional SOS strategies.

With the addition of the Board Builder tool within Discovery Education Streaming, educators can now include SOS Strategies as well as support materials on a digital assignment board. Students can use their own Boards to digitally submit projects and creations to the activator or summarizer assessment.

Here is a sample of one of the Discovery Education’s SOS strategies, “25 Things You Didn’t Know”.

And here is the instructional video that goes along with this SOS Strategy.


So, as we soon begin a new year, I encourage you to make a resolution to investigate activators and summarizers and build them into every lesson and/or unit of study. After all, it is all about the pedagogy, right?

Do you use the Discovery Education SOS Strategies in your classroom? Do you use Board Builder for student creation of assessments?  Do you use other activation and summarizing strategies enhanced by technology? Please share your experiences, thoughts, ideas, and questions in the comments. Have a Happy New Year!

 

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