Technology and Learning Styles to Encorage Effort

Recently two of my back to back presentations connected my thinking to look at how technology can bring learning style options to increase students’ effort. At the Arkansas Department of Education, I was working with the statewide professional development specialist looking at using coaching to help teachers increase student effort. The next day I was with undergraduate honors students, SCATT (Suncoast Area Teacher Training) at the University of South Florida. In both sessions we examined how teachers rotating instruction to address all learning preferences, along with educating students about how they learned best, could increase students’ willingness to extend effort in learning .
When visiting the USF College of Education website, I discovered a podcast from an undergraduate Special Education student, Allison Papke, who implemented a project for her Level 3 practicum at John Long Middle School in Pasco County. She used iPods to create an individualized testing experience for students.
Usually the special education students in her eighth grade social studies class were pulled out of class and had tests read to them. Using the Notes feature of the iPods, Allison created an interactive experience that allowed the students to listen to the test questions at their own pace. The students could also repeat questions as many times as needed. Since they were listening to the questions on an iPod, they did not have to be pulled out of the room and were able to take the test with the rest of their classmates. The iPod version of the test included text to accompany the audio so that students could read the test questions as they listened to them.
Chances are great that students supported in this fashion would put forth more effort.
Alison’s story reminded me of another teacher’s website I had seen before. Eric Langhorst, an eighth grade American history teacher at South Valley Junior High School in Liberty, Missouri and Missouri’s 2007-08 Teacher of the Year, began podcasting Speaking of History with his students in the fall of 2006. One of his most effective uses of podcasts is StudyCasts. He records an audio review of important material lasting about 20 minutes to help students prepare for upcoming unit tests. “Students then are able to listen to the study review at home on their computers or download it to their personal MP3 players; they can review for the test anywhere. Some students report that they listen to the reviews while exercising, riding the bus, or with their parents. Langhorst made the free StudyCasts available through i-Tunes, and students who did not have Internet access at home had the opportunity to check out a CD at school.” (See full article from Education World.)
Both of these projects bring support and encouragement for increased student efforts. We should be discovering more ways to use technology to support learners everyday.
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One Response to “ Technology and Learning Styles to Encorage Effort ”

  1. Rick Highberger Says:

    Steve,

    Building based PD makes so much sense. I hadn’t considered it because it seems to be such a luxury: taking time to address each individual need.

    As a former substitute teacher and full time education sales rep, I see what every classroom teacher experiences: the class is like a military convoy and can only move at the pace of its slowest component.

    Rick Highberger
    Northbrook, Illinois

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Steve Barkley

For the past 30 years, Steve has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. Read more…

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