Saturday, May 25, 2013

Learning Content Vocabulary

When I first used the online tool, Quizlet, I was impressed for a couple reasons. I loved that I could upload my own words and definitions. More significantly I loved adding images to flash cards. This is a great study tool for word associations and creating an image in my mind as I study a language that is new to me. But the thing that most impressed me about Quizlet was the way others openly shared their cards with anyone who wanted to use them or make a copy of them and then modify to meet their needs. This wasn't just a passing fancy by one or two people using the online flash card tool, thousands of word lists can be found from AP Government, Biology, Psychology to Amendments to the Constitution. Being able to download someone else's cards is such a time saver. Even better is when the teacher creates the Quizlet cards for the class.

That was before Common Core. That was before differentiation, rigor and text complexity. Unknown words represented verbally, visually and with multimedia provide richer connections than using just a single medium. We learn more deeply when we can paraphrase learning to others, make connections to other things we know, and interact with text in some way. 

Let's give students the opportunity prior to tackling rigorous text, to preview and explore the text, identifying words they don't know or words they wonder about. Give students time to define, explain, and share learning with one another. A great tool for documenting learning while sharing it with peers and oneself (for review later) is Twitter. Students could Tweet their findings, all using a common #hashtag. Students can read and reply to one another, adding and tagging images (digital representations/visuals), connections, reactions, and clarifications. Using Twitter is a great way to continue learning, on the bus, at home, in front of the TV. When it is time to review, search by hashtags, search favorites, read your retweets. What a fantastic, real time way to use social media as a learning and collaboration tool in and outside of school.

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