Archive for August, 2011

Bigger is not better so share activities not lessons

One is more versatile than the other

In education, salary may be better when it’s bigger. But with learning resources, bigger is much worse than smaller.

At an NSTA event last year, I spoke with a colleague I respect about resources available for teachers. He cited research that suggests that professionally designed unit plans result in the best learning outcomes when teachers are prevented from making adjustments to the plan. As teachers made more adjustments, the results actually got worse.

However, we both agreed that teachers would always make changes unless they were forced to leave things alone. In fact, there was evidence that these unit resources were not used again after the research had been conducted.

The reason that the professionally designed units worked better as a whole, is that all the parts were very high quality, and each part was chosen to work well as a system. My question to him was:

Pick the pieces that fit

“What if we just provided teachers with lots of high quality parts? Teachers could assess the specific student need in the classroom, and then choose the parts they need to build the learning experience that works best. I think teachers would use high quality resources if they have flexibility, and aren’t forced to use what works for someone else.”

My Question: Why are teachers driven to personalize their lesson plans?

My Response: Teachers care about students, and we want as much ownership as possible in decisions affecting their learning. If you give us something that we don’t think will work, we will take the extra time to customize it to our students for success. Some things aren’t worth delegating to others, especially when an awful lesson plan can lead to mutiny.

Teachers need a way to customize resources and take ownership over them. If we share lesson plans, it takes too long to do that. If we share great activities instead, it may fit what we need without customizing. If it doesn’t we need a super fast way to make it fit.

Edufy is a resource that make all this possible and makes it fast. Now, we can share, find, and customize our classrooms in no time flat. What do you think – if you have access to great parts, can you design something that will fit? Are you more likely to use resources if you can customize them? Post a comment and join the discussion!

Best wishes,
Phil

Updates to Edufy – Tagging and Standards!

The Edufy team is excited to announce that we have just launched several new improvements and capabilities to Edufy based on feedback from the community. We are hopeful that these new features will help you successfully prepare for the upcoming school year. As always, please make your voice heard on how we can make Edufy better and more relevant to your classroom needs. Without further delay…

Improved support for Embedded Tables – you told us that some tables weren’t displaying properly in activities, many times stretching too wide across the page making the activity very difficult to view online and offline. In this release tables will self format so that they display optimally both online and when printed out for use in the classroom.

Standards Alignment – just the first step of many, we are introducing support for Standards alignment for Edufy activities. Providing this alignment empowers you to easily incorporate into your broader curriculum goals. In this release we have begun with the ability to align to Virginia State Standards with other states to come in the coming weeks and months. Standards alignments can be seen when viewing any individual activity. Look for Standards based searching in a future release!

Activity Tagging Рour goal is make it very simple and intuitive to find the best, relevant activities for your needs. As hard as our team works to curate and classify the activities, it can never replace the power of the Edufy community. Our new tagging feature adds one more layer of classification and data to search against so that you can explore and discover activities on your own terms.