Exploring web tools: Symbaloo

One web tool that I’m currently exploring is Symbaloo (www.symbaloo.com).

Symbaloo is a free site that allows you to create a customized dashboard for the Internet. You. Can also create “web mixes” that you can choose to publish and share

I’ve created a custom dashboard for my students with useful sites and tools for our classes. There are lots of cool tools shared there for teachers to explore as well!

Check it out: http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/linksforstudents I really like the visual organization of Symbaloo and think it’ll resonate with kids as well!

Evidence that PBL Works | Edutopia

Note: The post below is from Edutopia and refers to significant research supporting the effectiveness of Project-Based Learning (PBL).

Evidence that PBL Works

By Bob Lenz

9/30/10

Many of us out there know that project-based learning (PBL) inspires students to understand core content knowledge more deeply and gain key skills for success in college and career. Many of us have also directly contributed to results for students on state tests, college-going, and college persistence metrics.

In addition, we know from surveys and focus groups that most of our students are engaged and excited about learning; however, until now, we did not have a rigorous experimental design study approved by the United States Department of Education.

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Here’s another intriguing excerpt:

Results

Both high school students and their teachers benefit:

  • Students outscored their peers in the control group who received the more typical textbook- and lecture-driven approach.
  • Students also scored higher on measures of problem-solving skills and their application to real-world economic challenges
  • Teachers scored higher in satisfaction with teaching material and methods than those in the control group.

Want to read more? Go to edutopia.org

 

Summer plans (and beyond…)

So, I've decided to jump into getting my Master's degree this summer.

I hadn't originally planned to start it until next summer but my internship with the DOE ACTS program fell under the federal budget axe.

Meanwhile, I heard about an intriguing program through University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh called "Teaching 2.0."

This program is the brainchild of Dr. Eric Brunsell (@brunsell), who blogs for Edutopia and the National Science Teachers' Association.

It is a fully online program in Curriculum and Instruction, and is described on the UW-Oshkosh website as follows:

This is not an educational technology graduate program.  It is about more than technology tools.  Instead, this strand focuses on helping educators transform their teaching.  It is about harnessing these tools to foster creativity, inquiry, and problem solving.  It is about exploring a variety of research-based teaching models and assessment techniques. It is about creating a meaningful and progressive curriculum that mixes student passions with educational standards.

Look for lots of posts in the coming year about my progress in this program!