Excellent Tips on Research Paper Writing

December, 2014
Here is another wonderful visual from Learning Commons on the writing process. you can use this resource with your students to teach them about the different stages for preparing a research paper. The visual also includes some useful tips on the mechanics of writing like editing, formatting and composing.

Learning Commons also provided this excellent cheat sheet featuring a number of tips on how to write a research paper. This document is available for free download from this link. You can also visit this page for more visuals and resources to use in your classroom. Enjoy

writing process

New Visual: 25 Success Features Characterizing 21st Century Teachers

December 9, 2014
Here is a good visual that features some of the things successful teachers do differently. This infgraphic is based on an article written by Julie DeNeen which I would refer you to for more details on each of the 25 ideas included below. Read the list and see the ones that resonate with you and also identify the ones missing in your teaching pedagogy.

Here is a quick round-up of the 25 things successful teachers do differently:
  • Successful teachers have clear objectives
  • Successful teachers have a sense of purpose
  • Successful teachers are able to live without immediate feedback
  • Successful teachers know when to listen to students and when to ignore them
  • Successful teachers have a positive attitude
  • Successful teachers expect their students to succeed
  • Successful teachers have a sense of humor
  • Successful teachers use praise authentically
  • Successful teachers know how to take risks
  • Successful teachers are consistent
  • Successful teachers are reflective
  • Successful teachers seek out mentors of their own
  • Successful teachers communicate with parents
  • Successful teachers enjoy their work
  • Successful teachers adapt to student needs
  • Successful teachers welcome change in the classroom
  • Successful teachers take time to explore new tools
  • Successful teachers give their students emotional support
  • Successful teachers are comfortable with the unknown
  • Successful teachers are not threatened by parent advocacy
  • Successful teachers bring fun into the classroom
  • Successful teachers teach holistically
  • Successful teachers never stop learning
  • Successful teachers break out of the box
  • Successful teachers are masters of their subject

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4 Powerful Apps for Creating Mind Maps on Chromebooks

December 9, 2014
Here is a list I curated over the last weekend. The list features some of the best web tools teachers can use to create mind maps on Chromebooks. I have only included the ones I think are too simple and easy to use so any teacher can use them without any advanced technology knowledge. As I was trying these apps on my Chromebook, I discovered some glitches in the popular apps : blubber.us and Text to Mindmap so I did not include them, but you can try them out in your device if you want.

1- Lucid Chart

Lucidchart is an HTML5-based visual collaboration tool that makes drawing diagrams fast and easy. Work together with an unlimited number of others to create and edit diagrams in real time, with changes merged and synced instantaneously -- great for team collaboration.

2- MindMeister

MindMeister is another good app for creating mind maps.MindMeister is deeply integrated into Google Drive, allowing users to open and edit many mind map formats. Some of the things you can do with MindMeister include:

  •  Create, share and collaboratively edit mind maps
  • Import from Text, MindManager and Freemind
  • Export to Word, PowerPoint, PDF, image, MindManager and Freemind
  • Add icons, images, notes, links and attachments
  • Integrated live chat
  • Publish and embed maps
  • Task management and notifications

3- Mindomo

Mindomo allows you to visually outline complex concepts, tasks, ideas, and other related information in a structured form. Some of its features include:
  • Real-time collaboration
  •  Embedded video and audio files 
  •  Presentation Mode 
  •  Multiple layouts (mind map, concept map, org chart, tree org chart) 
  • Great variety of Import/Export formats 
  • Map customization by adding icons, colors, styles and map themes 
  •  Full map history, undo and redo functions 
  • Password protected mind maps 
  •  Comments and voting enabled on topics 
  • Multilevel numbering 
  •  Desktop version that enables users to work offline

Free online mind mapping web site, with realtime collaboration and cloud storage: Make a mind map online, free, and keep it in the cloud with Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub and our free anonymous storage. MindMup is available everywhere: you can access your maps with a browser or a mobile device, and cloud storage ensures you have access to your data where ever you are, and the application works nicely with both desktop, tablet and mobile browsers.

10 Important Tips for Successful Close Reading

December, 2014
Close reading is definitely a "survival skill" particularly in a world drowned in information. Close reading is all about reading differently, it is reading for deep understanding through paying attention to what others would normally oversight. Being a close reader entails focus and dedication to your reading material. It empowers readers to delve deeper into the latent meanings of text searching for cues that make the reading  a totally different experience,  one that resembles the detective work. Close reading is also about critical reading, reading that does not take things at face value but rather investigates for what is hidden between the lines.

In today's post, I am sharing with you this beautiful visual that features 10 tips for successful close reading. These tips are :

1- Select Short Passages

2- Make Your Focus Intense

3- Extend Focus Through the Text

4- Students Markup the Text as They Read

5- Encourage Exploratory Discussions

6- Encourage Rereading

7- Read in Every Subject Area

8- Annotate the Text

9- Use Close Reading Marks Independently

10- Use Close Reading Strategically in Small Bites

Critical Digital Literacy Explained for Teachers

December, 2014
Critical digital literacy is one of the essential required competencies for the 21st century educator. In an era of unprecedented personal publishing, infobesity (information obesity) becomes a real issue. Teachers need to be able to critically  assess and evaluate the materials and knowledge they come across. This could be done through adopting a critical thinking lens to filter things that could otherwise unconsciously affect one's stance and interpretation of  a given meaning.

Juliet Hinrichsen and Antony Coombs from University of Greenwich developed this excellent framework to help you understand the concept of critical digital literacy. This framework is made up of 5 dimensions:

Source: http://goo.gl/fBdraV

1- Decoding:
"Learners need to develop familiarity with the structures and conventions of digital media, sensitivity to the different modes at work within digital artefacts and confident use of the operational frameworks within which they exist."

2- Meaning making
"This recognizes the agency of the learner as a participant in the construction of a text. Making meaning is a reflexive process in which the content, style and purpose of the text is in dialogue with the prior experience, knowledge and responses of the reader. Making meaning implies both understanding and interpretation".

3- Analysing
"Learners to develop the ability to make informed judgements and choices in the digital domain.They also need to be able to apply critical, aesthetic and ethical perspectives to the production and consumption of digitized material."

4- Persona
"Sensitivity to the issues of reputation, identity and membership within different digital contexts. The purposeful management and calibration of one's online persona. Developing a sense of belonging and a confident participant role."

5- Using
"Learners need to develop the ability to deploy digital tools appropriately and effectively for the task in hand. They also need to be able to solve practical problems dynamically and flexibly as they arise, using a range of methods and approaches, both individually and as part of communities."

Courtesy of Teachthought where I learned about this work.

The Digital Learning Wheel

December, 2014
Ring of Technologies is a beautiful visual wheel that displays a host of learning goals together with some examples of web tools to achieve them. To me this work  (created and shared by UAF eLearning Faculty Resources) represents the core of digitally-based learning. It also chimes in with what we have said about purposeful use of technology in instruction. Having clear goals about what you want to target in your teaching using technology will definitely help your learners make the best of that technology.
Here is an example of one of the readings of the different components of the wheel. For instance as a teacher keen on enhancing my professional development (goal), I can make use of social bookmarking websites or blogging platforms (tools ) to reach my purpose. Check out the other goals and web tools mentioned in this wheel and share with us what you think of it.

This wheel is also available for free download in PDF format from this link.

A Handy Poster Featuring 7 Ways to Integrate Technology in Class

December 8, 2014
In an earlier post I published here a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted the difference between using and integrating technology in class. I also argued  that integrating technology in instruction is a principled process that requires deep and reflective thinking about the whys behind such integration as well as  the learning outcomes expected from such integration.

In the visual below, Juliani   suggests 7 useful ways to help you better integrate technology in your classroom. Think of them as tips to guide through the the process of teaching with technology. The purpose use of technology J talks about in this visual is another word for  the concept of technology integration I talked about earlier.

7 Ways to Integrate Technology in Class