Posted by: Navy Teacher | February 24, 2012

Inspiration for the challenged learner

As I traverse this semester, I am constantly searching for opportunities to enhance my ability to teach my future students.  This week in my education technology class, we learned about the awe-inspiring software with a fitting name called Inspiration.  It is an amazing tool that has many uses that will engage students while also helping them retain important information.  I really like the fact that students can start a graphic organizer at the start of a unit and update the organizer as they progress through the unit.  What a remarkable way for students to capture important information while also creating an assessment tool in the process!

I also like the fact that Inspiration can work in tandem with Webspiration.  I am already thinking about fascinating ways to use Webspiration to engage parents throughout the school year.  For example, I could create an organizer that I can update so the parents have a visual idea of what their children are doing in the classroom.

I decided to do a little research about how Inspiration can help students with learning disabilities in Social Studies.  I found an interesting article that was in the Journal of Instructional Psychology.  The article was based on a study to examine teachers’ attitudes and perceptions toward the use of technology-based instruction as an effective instructional strategy in inclusive social studies classes.  One of the questions they were asked was directly related to the use of Inspiration software as it relates to students’ ability to learn content.  The teachers were asked to expound upon how Inspiration software helped their students recall information.  Every teacher stated that the Inspiration software drastically increased student achievement scores.  In a nutshell, Inspiration software was a hit for students with learning disabilities.

I have had the opportunity to experiment with the Inspiration software a little bit in class and at home.  I believe that I have struck proverbial gold in the sense that Inspiration software will provide my future students and parents with a tremendous education tool.

 

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Responses

  1. […] Inspiration for the challenged learner (navyteacher.wordpress.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in ePortfolio, Evolving and tagged Brownsville, Diploma Plus, E-learning, Education, Learning, Middle school, Student, Teacher. Bookmark the permalink. ← eACADEMY Transforms Its’ Educational Model National Education Technology Plan 2010 – Edit 654 → […]

  2. Barry, that is a great article you found that relates what we are learning in class to a content area. I especially enjoyed the article because I am a secondary social studies teachers myself. However, as I read the article, the responses from the teachers were oh so familiar…not enough time to teach the use of the software/computer, not enough lab space and time, too much content to cover for the state assessment (once again, the dreaded standardized state test always rears its head and is causes constraints and concerns for educators), and not enough time to prepare students how to properly use tech resources while creating comprehension of the loads of information students should know. I always struggled with this while teaching…where, how, when to find the time to instruct/teach/ students for the “how to use”, teach the strategies and skills, all while trying to find time to cover/teach boat loads of history content. It is a question many of my colleagues struggled with… How do I spend/find time teaching the strategies, process and how to, when there is so much content to cover, and Do I spend time(how much) teaching the skill, process, strategies and how to versus teaching the content. As always this question comes into play due to the heavy reliance on standardized tests that teachers are measured on. Typically, I think (majority of my colleagues also) that it is important to take the time to teach the strategies, skills and” how to use”, because once you teach those things, it is a tool that they know and can use for the rest of the year with a bit of reteaching throughout. What do you think? Is it important to spend class time teaching the skills and how to use, or do you save that time for teaching content?

    • Thank you for the response. As a person who is learning to become a Social Studies/Special Education teacher, I can’t give a professional opinion on the subject of “teaching skills vs. teaching content.” During my observation hours I see the same issue that you are describing – finding time to cover content.

      I can tell you that my goal as a future teacher is not to have my students focus on the standardized tests (i.e. Regents exams). Perhaps I am naive to believe that students will do well on those tests if I make Social Studies interersting and relevant by incorparating various teaching strategies. Time will tell whether my expectations are realistic. I hope that I am not wrong for the sake of my future students.

  3. I really enjoyed this post and the article that you found that supports what you were getting at. I do think that the previous poster does have some very valid points when it comes to time management in the classroom. However, as we have learned about in a few of our other classes teaching skills, while teaching content, is almost always successful. I think if there is time alloted for students to understand a resource that will can really increase their retention and learning, than it’s absolutely well spent time.

  4. […] Inspiration for the challenged learner (navyteacher.wordpress.com) […]

  5. […] Inspiration for the challenged learner (navyteacher.wordpress.com) […]

  6. Great questions and discussion here!

    @Ryan, it is my firm belief that a primary focus on content is a huge mistake. We teach students, not content. We are trying to educate a generation of learners, not test takers. To be a learner, it is imperative that one has skills, strategies, and tools that can be used to learn any content. For our students, much of the content quickly fades away and is forgotten. As Harvard professor Eric Mazur is quoted as saying in his quest to “reform the lecture”, “You can forget facts, but you can’t forget understanding.” If we don’t focus on making learning relevant and meaningful.. and equip students with a wide and powerful learning toolset, then we have indeed failed.

    As I brought up in class this week… machines are great at teaching content. For teachers and schools who hold on to this approach to content, they WILL be replaced by web-based, game-based, computer-based models of learning. And, if I can be somewhat provocative here, there are a number of companies right now banking on this and salivating at the potential financial gains. Teachers who can be more than content providers will always be in demand. There is a very disturbing trend right now of business-based school reform initiatives.

    Although focused on higher education, here’s a few links to articles on the topic that highlight some of the work of Eric Mazur:

    http://mindshift.kqed.org/2012/02/dont-lecture-me-rethinking-how-college-students-learn-2/

    http://harvardmagazine.com/2012/03/twilight-of-the-lecture


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