I've had an ActivBoard in my room for a few months now and am particularly interested in the collaborative nature of this tool in teaching science. I work in an off-campus alternative education setting in a program for students in grades 6-12 who have been expelled from school by the school board.
Do you think your kids zoned out during whole group instruction because they were afraid of looking stupid in front of their peers? I always thought my kids zoned out because they could. They needed a reason to become engaged and they weren't getting one from me sitting at the front of the room and going through problem sets.
I've got to tell you, MathLand has been surprisingly and amazingly motivating for my students. I've been doing it for about 2.5 years, and I have had only one student who wasn't motivated by it. With MathLand, when you finish the first "level" you have a D, so you are technically passing. This doesn't seem to matter to any of my students except one, who decided he'd stop working since he already had credit.
So, I told him that I was taking him out of MathLand and putting him on a more traditional grading scale. He didn't like that. He asked why. I told him MathLand was supposed to motivate people to do better, but it didn't seem to be working on him, so I wanted to put him in a system that was more motivating.
He promised that MathLand was motivating, and said that he wanted to stick with it. I gave him a second chance and never had another problem.
I think our students must be similar. Even though mine carry a special ed diagnosis, their emotional impairment has caused problems in school and with school relationships.
MathLand eliminates the usefulness of group instruction, which is why I haven't paid much attention to interactive whiteboards. I was having a terrible time with whole group instruction because kids were zoning out, not learning anything, and requiring additional individual instruction. I'm curious about what the difference is with a whiteboard. Did you have similar issues with whole group instruction? What do you think is the difference with the whiteboard?
That sounds like an interesting teaching assignment. How many kids are in your school? What subjects do you teach?
Kids never just leave education. They all go somewhere. It's nice to know that there is still somewhere for them to go either while they are figuring things out, or for when they are really ready to continue with their education.
I'd be interested in hearing any insights you have with keeping your population invested (or at least coming to school and staying in class).
Hope you're enjoying the winter break. I was wondering if you, your educator contacts or students would be interested in participating in a nationwide Vocab Video Contest @ MIT university. We'd really like to get more students involved from Wisconsin!
You can view contest details at BrainyFlix.com Please let me know. Thanks!