Literature Review of Testing Accommodations and Accessibility Tools for Students with Disabilities. Cara Laitusis, Heather Buzick, Elizabeth Stone, Eric Hansen and Mark Hakkinen. Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ. Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Smarter-Balanced-Students-with-Disabilities-Literature-Review.pdf
This is an in-depth review of the research on test accommodations, including controversial ones, for students with disabilities, along with implementation and policy considerations for each. Many of these are fascinating. For example, When a child with a learning disability gets an audio math test, his reader must voice “twelve minus three” rather than “twelve take away three” to avoid giving an unfair hint. Likewise, bias may make a handwritten English essay appear better to a marker than a typed one, impacting students who use computers for disability-related reasons. It’s a fascinating read with far-reaching consequences to think about.
IDS Bloom’s Taxonomy: All Three Domains. University of Minnesota Duluth. http://www.d.umn.edu/ids/Assessment/Bloom%20Overview.htm
This is a simple, linear set of notes describing all three domains of Bloom’s taxonomy in concise, almost conversational tone. For each level in the hierarchy within a domain, the behaviour, or action, is described along with examples of activities that correspond to the action, or facilitate it; as well as key verbs associated with it. For example, the lowest level of the cognitive domain is where students simply recall information, or facts, and a multiple-choice exam is presented as a possible activity that could be assessed for this level. I could use this to plan activities for each level of the taxonomy, to ensure that the learner’s experience was as complete as possible.
Creating a Positive Learning Environment
Managing Students with Computers: Best Practice. PBS, New York. http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/ntti/resources/workshops/managing_students/practice.html
This is a rich set of content and advice about management techniques for classrooms with computers. Solutions are discussed for keeping students interested when there is a high ratio of students to computers, including delivering whole-class presentations, or dividing the classroom into multiple group workstations (e.g. . a drawing station, textbook/reference centre, a multimedia centre, and so forth). For whole-class presentations, rich multimedia tools should be used to keep students’ attention engaged, while for group workstations, limiting group sizes to five prevents disengagement due to feeling redundant. This is a plum resource for developing a classroom management plan.
Praise in the Classroom. Eric Digests. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9213/praise.htm
This is a worthwhile read reminding instructors to be careful about using praise as a motivational technique, because students’ behaviours and reactions may not be as expected. The article focusses upon early childhood education, but would apply in any classroom. Non-specific praise can be detrimental, as students learn to respond to the extrinsic motivation of instructor approval or disapproval rather than natural curiosity (an intrinsic desire to learn). Worse still, when used as a classroom management technique to seek conformity, students can grow resentful as they detect this manipulation. It is both a philosophical and a practical piece to review.
Education videos: ten ways to use them well. BBC Active. http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/EducationvideosTenwaystousethemwell.aspx
This is a resource from the BBC detailing best practices for using videos in the classroom. The tips include asking students to follow along with a questionnaire or handout while watching the video to ensure they are focussing upon certain key points, as well as splitting viewing up into several short, sequential clips rather than one long film, for maximum student engagement. It also links to other resources, such as BBC’s own trove of educational videos. While an article about the media, the advice touches on other core principles of teaching, from classroom management techniques to learning theories.