Wells Middle School teacher Mr. Forte is engaging his students and optimizing learning opportunities in his Living Environment classes through the use of digital learning tools. Some of the highlights of class operations and activities include:
- Traditional lecture material is provided via a video resource that students are expected to watch prior to class time. The class uses EDPuzzle which is a powerful application that provides video content either produced by the teacher or from a wealth of potential material on internet. Additionally, EDPuzzle assures student accountability. The teacher is able to see who has completed the viewing. There are also questions that can be embedded within the video to check for understanding throughout the viewing of the assignment.
- As the students prepare for the Living Environment Regents, there is a degree of test preparation that is incorporated into the course. Mr. Forte’s classes are using Castle Learning, an online self-paced application to help facilitate their learning and preparation for the Regents Exam. Students are provided assignments with content specific questions and advanced deadlines to support the learning that they are doing in class. Castle Learning is also utilized for formal tests and quizzes during class time. These assignments serve as a means of assessment, but more importantly, Mr. Forte can then easily use the student performance data discerned from these assignments to specifically target areas of weakness for the class.
- Students are working on collaborative projects both during and out of class time. Collaboration that is occurring for these projects is both live and asynchronous. It is also an expectation that groups communicate and collaborate with other students that are not enrolled in their specific section of the class.
- All communications and assignments for the class are catalogued through Google Classroom. This environment assists and empowers students by providing a centralized location for resources. Classroom also provides a unique environment to gather student feedback and foster collaboration.
One benefit of the digital learning applications utilized by Mr. Forte is that he is better empowered to offload some of the traditional delivery of content and assessments so that he can better utilize his expertise as a teacher in the finite class time that he has available with students. Additionally, instructional operations in this digital environment both engages students and better prepares them for their futures in academia, employment, and their lives.