Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I posted my course project plan today.  I have incorporated opportunities for using technology in the classroom as well as assignments to be done independently at home.  I believe that the use of technology and the ability to make decisions for their culminating activity will provide motivation.  However, in working with pre-teens motivation is a tenuous thing.  As I work through the process of assembling the course for presentation to the students, I will search for different websites to use that are engaging.

Students engagement is the latest buzzword around my school.  In a recent professional development session, the presenter discussed four levels of student engagement.  They were from lowest level to the highest: rebellious, submissive compliant, driven compliant, and fully engaged.  The rebellious student does not engage and is disruptive in the classroom.  The submissive compliant does what is expected but desires to be left alone.  This person has, in the past, been called a wallflower or "cipher in the snow".  The driven compliant student strives to do what is required to achieve a level of success in grades or to meet parent/teacher expectations.  The fully engaged student is "in the zone".  For these students the clock does not matter.  The statistics given for the ratios place the majority of the students in the compliant zones.  The presenter stated that full engagement was a rarity.

I located a site, which lists five levels of student engagement.  The additional level is just above rebellious and places students who are not disruptive, but offer no effort to participate in this category.

While I will not disagree with the statistics mentioned above, I will say that the computer based site, GetKahoot! is something that my students are wild about.  This site is new and the developers appear to be very interested in student engagement.  If you search me on Twitter(@PrimeFactors_LJ) you can see some evidence of GetKahoot in use.  My students ask me every day if we are going to Kahoot.  On the days and at the time that we are using this site, there is 100% engagement in the activity.  Teachers and students can both make quizzes and polls.  These are then presented in the classroom via projection.  Students use handheld devices to respond.  For quizzes, time and accuracy allow the students to amass points.  My 7th graders are very competitive!  I am sure that an administrator walking down the hall when we are Kahooting wonder if I have lost total control.  I do nothing but make an occasional comment as the game progresses.  If you have not tried this site, check it out.  I have proof it is engaging, at least in the middle school.

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