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/

Project Menu

The Project Menu is another great resource to add to your classroom. Used as an end of the year cumulative assignment, students were asked to demonstrate mastery on a few specific math topic through various mediums. Students really took ownership over their project since they got to choose what format they used to showcase their knowledge. Although we didn’t cover how to create a video tutorial or website in class, many of my students decided to use these formats to show what they learned this past year. Here is an example of one of my favorite video tutorials:

Using many 21st Century ideas, students really loved this project. My students blew me away by their creativity and technological prowess. If you are interested in using these ideas in your classroom, check out the assignment!

High Tech High, San Diego California

 High Tech High began in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. It has evolved into an integrated network of schools spanning grades K-12, housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education.

High Tech High was originally conceived by a group of about 40 civic and high tech industry leaders in San Diego, assembled by the Economic Development Corporation and the Business Roundtable, who met regularly in 1996-98 to discuss the challenge of finding qualified individuals for the high-tech work force. In particular, members were concerned about the “digital divide” that resulted in low numbers of women and ethnic minority groups entering the fields of math, science, and engineering. Gary Jacobs, Director of Education Programs at Qualcomm, and Kay Davis, Director of the Business Roundtable, were key participants in these discussions.

In late 1998 the group voted to start a charter school and engaged Larry Rosenstock, then President of Price Charities in San Diego, as the founding principal. The founding group was clear about its intent: to create a school where students would be passionate about learning and would acquire the basic skills of work and citizenship. Rosenstock, a former carpentry teacher, lawyer, and high school principal who had recently directed the U.S. Department of Education’s New Urban High School project, brought a vision and a sense of the design principles by which this mission might be accomplished (see Design Principles, below).

From January 1999 to the opening of the Gary & Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High in September of 2000, Rosenstock and the founding group, led by Gary Jacobs, worked in tandem. Rosenstock located a site, prepared the charter application, hired staff, and oversaw the development of the program, while Jacobs and the business community took the lead in addressing issues of financing and facilities development.

For more information about this innovative school please view the video below:

Digital Portfolios

One of the BEST ways to implement 21st Century Learning into your classroom is to ask students to create a digital portfolio showcasing their work. Not only do students reflect on their learning from the year, but they also demonstrate their mastery of each topic through the use of technology. The great news is that digital portfolio software is more widely available and offered for free. (Wagner, 2010).

Interested in getting started? Click here to view student and teacher portfolio software.

Here is a video that further explains digital portfolios:

High-quality student digital portfolios have been used in successful schools such as High Tech High. Here are some examples from some 6th grade students at Hawthorne Elementary in San Luis Obispo:

Teachers have also used digital portfolios to reflect and collaborate. Here is an example of teachers portfolios from High Tech High.

Here is a PDF to help you get started! Digital Portfolios

Wagner, T. (2010). The global achievement gap. New York, NY: Basic Books.