What do grades mean? This is a question that has been in the forefront of my brain for a few weeks now and something I've thought about regularly for years. What do they actually mean? If a student has a 95 for a quarter grade, does that mean that they understand 95% of the material covered in that quarter? Or are they just a means of comparing students to each other? As a teacher, I was taught to grade every effort given by my students. Throughout my years of teaching I've been pushed to make every assignment "count" by assigning a grade. You may ask who is forcing me. It's the community.
So how do we get students to start doing homework, even if it is not graded? We need to consistently show students the correlation between the work we give them to do, and their increased understanding of a topic. Got half of the questions wrong on a test? Well let's look at how much of the work the student did to prepare. As students do more of the work, and understand the material more, their assessments should be in line with that, if they are not, the teacher needs to prepare more differentiated material for their students.
Over the years, when I needed a new worksheet with practice problems, I'd ask colleagues, or use our testing software to make a test, that looks like a worksheet. So now, when you look at my list of tests in my testing software, I can hardly find the past tests I need because there are so many other documents that clog up my account. This is when I learned about Problem Attic. Problem Attic has every type of state standardized test you could possibly need including National/International standards and Academic Competitions. You can browse by standard type and then by topic and they just couldn't make it easier to compile these questions and format your worksheet to your liking! You can even print out the answer key to make review packets for students.
I no longer wear my Pebble. Like most new technology, when it becomes affordable, I evaluate whether it is something that I find interesting for myself; this could be for professional reasons, personal reasons or a mixture of both. So far I have evaluated 2 types of wearable tech; a Fitbit and a Pebble.
The Fitbit was a few days of me compulsively competing with myself over how many steps I was stepping. Somehow it tapped into my obsessive compulsive nature. The Pebble I used for months. I would get notifications of texts and emails, see incoming phone calls and my daily agenda was my watchface. I really liked the Pebble. The biggest problem with the Pebble was that it was so easy to receive the information but not so easy to relay any. I would get a text, and then forget to return it by the time I would get to my actual cell phone. Same with emails. I would receive an email, read it and then forget to return the email when I get back to my cell phone. I think that this is a great "idea" but with such a one way communication model, the tech in some of these early edition watches just isn't there quite yet.
With the upcoming release of the Apple watch (you can preorder already), I wonder if anything will change. One thing is for sure, technology shouldn't be used just for the sake of technology. Then, the tech just becomes a burden instead of a life aide. Technology should be used with a purpose in mind where it's use will make your life easier!
I remember clearly attending my LIU Post open house for when I was thinking about joining the HHH/ LIU Educational Technology Masters Program Cohort. I remember how excited I was leaving the board room of the Central Office building of Half Hollow Hills School District. Technology has excited me since my dad brought home that Apple IIc in the 1980s and it still does immensely. However, there gets a point where we all get overwhelmed by even the things we love the most. So what has changed in the past year or so since I decided on applying to the cohort and getting another Masters in Educational Technology? Well, I've learned a lot about it! And, beyond that, I am constantly reflecting on its use.
I've realized recently that I use so many pieces of technological bits, that I may need a bit of streamlining for my sanity at work. As much as I like to find the best tool for the job, should that always be done if you need to use a new tool when an old one can be used "almost" as well but makes your life a little easier because you have one less login or one less thing to remember? Just remembering all of the tools is hard enough (oh but wait, isn't there another tool to help you remember all of your tools?) and then you have to remember how to use all of those tools....it's exhausting!! But I do have admit, it's fun too!
There also gets a point when typing up your working and putting things in an app just doesn't work as well as doing the low-tech version (aka writing it down). Remember to think about the "why" and not just the tech. Tech should be used to help your life not to impede it!!