WikiSpaces is a free, secure resource that teachers can use to create a class wiki. Wikis support interactive, collaborate student learning. They can be used for organizing group projects, posting class resources and materials, and creating student portfolios. Features include a visual editor, video and calendar widgets, unlimited page creation, discussion and feedback capabilities, and e-mail notifications. The website provides video tutorials and instructional guides to assist teachers in setup. The interface is intuitive. Click on the image above to start your own wiki.
In Musical Shares, leaners are given a piece of paper with a writing prompt, a discussion question, a research topic, or some other topic for brainstorming. They sit down and write a response. When they are finished, they lift their pencil in the air to let the teacher know they are finished. When everyone is finished writing, the teacher turns on some music and students dance around the room in any manner that they wish. (It is helpful for the teacher to dance around to so that students feel comfortable). When the teacher stops the music, every student scrambles to a new desk and a new question/prompt. When the teacher determines that enough information has been gathered, he/she will turn on the music once more and students will dance back to their original seats. Musical Shares is a fun and exciting way to brainstorm. It is also a collaborative brainstorm because multiple people are generating ideas about the same topic, illuminating angles and perspectives that might have otherwise been missed. The music and movement will activate the brain.
Video tutorials are an effective instructional strategy because they provide step-by step, one-on-one instruction. They can be paused and replayed, watched in their entirety or at specific points of need. They can be accessed via the internet at any time of day. Though they take time to make, they will save time in the long run because it will minimize the amount of repetitive teaching on the part of the instructor. They are wonderful for visual-spatial learners and learners who have access to a computer at home. While Jing (listed below) is a free service, the videos are limited to five minutes, so use Jing if you need to do a quick demo. Adobe Captivate on the other hand, is a proprietary product and a user-license must be obtained, but the design functionality is much more extensive. Captivate includes closed captioning, highlight boxes, and "hot spots" to create interactive quizzes.
In role-play, learners become a person, animal, object, or concept. As the learner takes on their new role, they consider ideas from a new perspective and make connections. As they imagine, they are engaged, listening, and creative. It is helpful to have a clear goal and be well-organized in advance, even if the activity itself is spontaneous. It is also helpful to provide time for debriefing and discussion after the role-playing activity. It is an excellent activity for kinesthetic, visual, and social learners.
Cased-based learning is a specific type of problem-based learning. For case-based learning, students are given a real world scenario with specific details, context, and circumstances for which they are asked to solve a related problem. Most often students work in small groups to collaborate. Students must analyze the information, generate strategies, evaluate them, defend them (if they are in opposition to another group member), and consider implementation. They are asked to apply skills they have already learned in an authentic way. Teachers act as facilitators, posing questions and helping to work through roadblocks. This method is useful because students can use their personal backgrounds to add insight. As they identify weaknesses in their understanding of the issue, they will self-assess and seek resources to help make their final decision.