MERIT: Making Education Relevant and Interactive through Technology

This summer, I will be participating in a program through a local community college called MERIT. MERIT is “a research-based, educator development program designed to help teachers bolster their curriculum with student-centered, technology-enhanced learning activities to motivate, challenge and inspire the diverse learners and leaders of the future” (McGriff, 2010). 

Similar to many of the ideas in Tony Wagner’s book, I hope that this program will give me many 21st Century Learning tools to use in my classroom. Even though the program hasn’t started, we have already had to complete a few assignments showcasing some great online tools.

Here are a few of my favorite:

1. Google Tools: The Google for Educators Site shares ways you can use the numerous Google tools in your classroom. They also have several webinars and project ideas.

2. TED Videos: Take a look at some of these great videos. Using the search feature, teachers can find inspiring talks by riveting speakers to address almost any lesson.

3. YouTube Videos: Although many people are familiar with YouTube, I have found some great videos which can help spice up any lesson. Here one of my student’s favorite videos which I used to help teach slope intercept form:

4. Next Vista for Learning: Here is a great, advertisement-free, video collection for teachers! I love how the videos are pre-screed and many of the videos are created by students!

5. Edtopia: Edtopia is another great resource to use in the classroom. It has a great search engine so you can easily find any lesson, as well as a blog and information on “schools that work.”

6. Classroom 2.0: Classroom 2.0 is a great social network for teachers. Although teaching can sometimes be an isolating experience, this website makes it easy for you to collaborate with teachers all over the world!

7. Lessonopoly: Lessonopoly is another great resources for teachers because it includes lesson plans, classroom management strategies and is also supported by the former State Superintendent. Check it out!

8. Curriki: Similar to Lessonopoly, Curriki is a non-profit organization built to help teachers share effective lessons.

9. Twitter: Not only can Twitter be a great way to search for effective teaching techniques, but it could also be a great way to communicate with your students!

I hope you can find some of these tools useful! If you’re interested in the MERIT program, click here!

McGriff, S. (2010, November 30). Kci merit program 2011. Retrieved from http://sites.google.com/site/kcimeritprogram/

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Online Resource: Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a great, free, online resource that we have begun to implement in our Math Workshop curriculum. Math workshop is an additional math class to support students who are struggling in their regular math class.

Khan Academy includes a huge video library covering topics from basic addition to calculus, and ranging in topics from biology, chemistry, and personal finance.

In addition to its video library, Khan Academy also as a interactive problem solving section that addresses each mathematical topic. Students begin by clicking on the Practice tab that is located on the front page. Students then sign in by using a Facebook or Gmail account. Once they have entered the practice site, they can pick any topic from the knowledge map. For each topic students have to answer 10 problems in a row in order to become labeled “proficient” in that topic. If students need help, they can either watch the tutorial (which doesn’t hurt their streak) or they can ask for a hint (which brings their streak to 0). Students also have the option to print the problems, or to “show a scratch pad” which acts like a whiteboard.

The mathematics teachers at our site, have taken the time  to compare our curriculum with the topics on the knowledge map and found which sections correspond to each unit. Once a week, students in the math workshop class will have to complete the desired topics for each unit. Teachers can set up a class including their students so they can check on each student’s progress. Teachers can tell how many topics have been covered, the proficiency of each student, and the amount of time spent on each topic.

Overall, Khan academy is a great technological resource that individually meets the needs of each student. Students are allowed to move at their own pace throughout each topic and get extra help when needed. Check it out!