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PBL PD: Integrating Formative Assessment, Twitter, & Brain-based Research #ettipad #ettlearns – reflection

My session at EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA in Atlanta, PBL PD: Integrating Formative Assessment, Twitter, & Brain-based Research #ettipad #ettlearns, went just the way I wanted.  Yay!

This tweet sums it up for me:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.28.02 PM

With a quick show of hands, I estimated that 2/3 of participants used Twitter.  Approximately 1/2 labeled themselves as lurkers.  Around 1/5 had never tweeted.  There was a note in the program description.

Note: This session will be interactive, so please have a Twitter client on your iPad and an established Twitter account prior to attending this session. “

I believe about 10 did not have an established account.  All really interesting formative assessment.  I described my conversation with Bo where he challenged me to inspire faculty to use the technology in place – the faculty wanted iPads.  We wanted faculty to use and understand more about non-graded formative assessment.  I mashed up or blended brain research, Twitter, and formative assessment.  I offered a purpose to tweet.

After giving my Ignite talk about this PBL PD for teachers, I challenged the participants to partner up, leave our session to visit another session and tweet using the conference hash tag (#ettipad) and my hash tag (#ettlearns).  Maybe a little fear waved over the 1/3 non-tweeters and lurkers.  Go with a friend; come back in 15 minutes.  We’ll understand hash tags using learning by doing. I explained the risk I was taking.  I’d never sent my participants away, but I am committed to experiential learning.  Everyone got up and left to go observe and tweet.  It was so great until I turned to see an empty room.  Wow! What was I thinking? What had I just done?

They did tweet, and they did come back. Whew!

Here is a compilation of the tweets:

We talked about hash tags and how they can be used.  I answered lots of great questions. We answered lots of questions.  It was awesome! And, the hash tag #ettlearns lives.  Wow!

Learning is reciprocal.

Don’t just absorb; give back.

Learn and share!

PBL PD: Integrating Formative Assessment, Twitter, & Brain-based Research #ettipad #ettlearns

Today, I’m presenting at EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA in Atlanta.

PBL PD: Integrating Formative Assessment, Twitter, & Brain-based Research

“Want faculty to engage in a project together? Want faculty to try a non-graded formative assessment technique? Want faculty to investigate a little brain-based research to work on retention of information and learning? Want faculty to learn and explore using social media for learning, communication, and collaboration? Hear one school’s story of such a project that you can implement with learners next week.

Note: This session will be interactive, so please have a Twitter client on your iPad and an established Twitter account prior to attending this session. “

With the mountains of “stuff” our teachers need to learn, practice, and do, how do we get it all accomplished? How can we, the adult-learners, practice and learn while continuing our work? In other words, how do we create PBL experiences for adult-learners that teach through experience and out of isolation?

What if we created a movement to learn more about Twitter and formative assessment while investigating the primacy-recency effect as described in How the Brain Learns by David Sousa?

“This research indicates that there is a higher probability of effective learning taking place if we can keep the learning episodes short and, of course, meaningful. Thus, teaching two 20-minute lessons provides 20 percent more prime-time (approximately 36 minutes) than one 40-minute lesson (approximately 30 minutes). Note, however, that a time period shorter than 20 minutes usually does not give the learner’s brain sufficient time to determine the pattern and organization of the new learning, and is thus of little benefit.”
How the Brain Learns, David A. Sousa

What if we integrate reflection and quick-writes as the down time or cognitive break as the bridge between the 2 prime-time learning episodes? What if we leverage social media – Twitter – to share learning and questions across our school to paint a picture of learning?

Here’s the idea and implementation plan for a 50-60 minute period.

      1. Pause at approximately 18-20 minutes and ask our student-learners to do a quick write about what they are learning or doing in class.  (a form of self-assessment; do I know what I’m supposed to be learning?)
      2. Let learners quickly share what they wrote.  (a form of formative assessment, are they learning what I intend?)
      3. Tweet a summary of what is being learned or done using a common hashtag. (this models using social media for learning)
      4. Follow the tweets from this hashtag to be more informed about each other and what we are learning/doing in class to possibly find curricular connections and common ground.

What if we check for understanding 20 minutes into class and let this check inform our practices for the rest of the learning time – the 2nd prime-time interval?

Many teachers can’t find purpose for Twitter.  It is too much information, or they feel they have to be connected all of the time.  What if we change that? What if we use Twitter as a communication, learning, and celebration tool? (I think Grant’s post last weekend supports this and the need to change.)

I’m going to try something different in this session.  I’m going to ask the participants to practice, to go on a learning walk and tweet and then come back and analyze the results.  Experiential learning rather than sit-n-get. (We are going to use #ettLearns in addition to #ettiPad.)

Keep your fingers crossed!

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For reflections and artifacts of learning about this PBL PD experiment, read more.