Visual Learning: Using Images to Focus Attention, Evoke Emotions, and Enrich Learning

Say it with words and you’re lucky if they hear it or bother to read it. Tell your story with imagery, and it grabs attention, evokes emotion, and is more instantly processed. Sixty thousand times faster, say some researchers. At Hong Kong International School (HKIS), we have concerns quite similar to those of teachers in the U.S.: We want to engage student interest, we want to efficiently scaffold for students to construct meaning, and we want to motivate and empower them to communicate. Like all educators, we have students who deserve to learn 21st-century media skills and literacy to communicate in ways that are relevant in a new century. Article continues

Blended Learning – More Effective Teaching Methods

The term blended learning is a term used to describe an educational course in which a mixture of face to face student/teacher instruction and online instruction are used together for any given class. The most exciting part of this process is to decide how to transform the teaching and learning experience into one, so that the student’s creativity and thinking skills are enhanced to a higher degree.

Blended Learning Describes a Wide Variety of Teaching Approaches

The term Blended Learning has been used to describe a wide variety of approaches. The term blended learning is also be used to describe arrangements in which conventional, offline and non-electronic based instruction happens to include online tutoring and/or mentoring services. One such course that would be enhanced with blended learning would be a science experiment, where students access their instruction on a computer, and then walk over to a lab table to conduct and experiment.

E-Learning and Traditional School

In most cases blended learning, e-learning is used in a traditional brick and mortal school, to help enhance the student’s educational experience and to make the teaching of courses more efficient.

Why Dabble In Blended Learning?

It’s about getting students to learn. It’s also about saving on cost of textbooks. After decades of teaching students using textbooks, current students are accustomed to reading off a computer screen. Ink on paper is boring to them. They need interaction, instant gratification, multiple actions and movement. Blending face-to-face instruction with a computer screen gets today’s student to learn.

There are more significant reasons: At risk students and exceptional students tend to excel with computer instruction. Rather than being lost among a group of 24 students in a classroom, an at-risk student will often surprisingly excel when offered computer instruction. With a system that offers tracking, a teacher can track progress of each student and pinpoint students who need special assistance in certain areas.

Exceptional students enjoy computerized instruction because they can proceed at their own pace and are not “tied down” by students in a classroom who need extra help.

How to Get Started in Blended Learning

The smartest first step in blending classroom instruction with technology is to use a Learning Management System. There are several different learning management systems on the market. offers a list of Learning management systems along with a breakdown of each system’s features and cost. Some cater to businesses that wish to train their employees. Others, such as Blackboard, are used in the college market.

Susan Bond is a part of IQity – a comprehensive, online educational system that includes IQity Reactor, a learning object repository that allows educators to create and share custom curriculum, organized by state educational standards. Reactor is integrated with a learning management system that allows traditional bricks-and-mortar schools to create an environment that enables students to learn whenever, wherever, and however is most effective for them.

Web 2.0, a wiki and teaching English

From the Bight Ideas Blog …

Whitefriars College teacher librarian Tania Sheko has been busy! She has also created a wiki for the English class she has been working with.

Tania explains how the wiki came about:

The English wiki was created to support a particular English class but with a view to sharing resources with all English teachers. It’s in its very early stages, and will continue to evolve with time, according to the needs of the English class.   >>>

Powering Up Minds and Powering Up Machines: Guided Inquiry, Reading and Web 2.0

is the first presentation and an exceptionally vibrant one. If you are interested in supporting students right through the researching, writing and presenting stages of assignments, you must experience Dr Ross J Todd’s powerful presentation.

The notes below are a record of the session.

Make a Digital Wish

Digital Wish, a nonprofit group dedicated to modernizing classrooms, hands out a constant stream of small grants to schools and helps teachers acquire funding for technology. Digital Wish not only offers school site licenses on Adobe and Microsoft products, but also automatically matches each purchase by giving 2 to 10 percent back to teachers every time an order is placed. more » » »

Video – The Road to Meaning

The process of reading is very like that of driving a car. As readers, it is our charge to “navigate” our way to meaning as we enter nonfiction texts and tasks. For students the, road to meaning in informational text is one paved with challenge and complexity.  This presentation explores what great “drivers” need to do before, during, and after reading to successfully arrive at their final destination…UNDERSTANDING THE BIG IDEA!

Stop undervaluing teachers worldwide

Nowadays less and less children dream of becoming teachers for the simple reason that people want to do something “for a living”, not to work all for nothing. I am afraid that qualified teachers will soon be an endangered species and even those who still exist, have no motivation to do their work properly (“no pay, no play”).   >>>

Soil science education

Interactive pages and information for students and for teachers about soil e.g. How much soil is there, and Filtering Qualities of Soils.   >>>>

Kitty Boitnott on 21st-Century Learning Skills

Kitty Boitnott, a media specialist at Chamberlayne Elementary School in Henrico County, VA, has spent the last year as president of the 60,000-member Virginia Education Association (VEA), the largest and oldest professional organization serving public schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

How is Virginia making sure students learn about 21st-century skills?
My most recent job was in Henrico County, VA, where in 2001, Henrico County Public Schools had just entered into the largest laptop initiative in the country with Apple. Every child in high school received his or her own iBook that he/she was allowed to keep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the school year. At the middle school level, students starting receiving their own laptops in the middle of their sixth-grade year. And for the first several years of the initiative, every classroom and every library in every school got at least five iMac desktop computers. more » » »

Book for Teachers – You can’t say you can’t play

You Can’t Say You Can’t Play

by Vivian Gussin Paley

Woven throughout Paley’s lessons is a parable about loneliness and rejection, which enables readers to share a child’s view of the world. What the kids have to say is enchanting and surprisingly wise. For example, should a “boss” determine who plays with whom, or should there be an election? As a sagacious second-grader observes: “See, the bad thing about voting is, if you don’t vote for that person she’ll see all the people who don’t like her. If it’s a boss that’s only one person doesn’t like you so you don’t feel so bad. … more