Sophisticated Synonyms: An Enrichment Activity to be used with Students’ Mobile Phones Leona M. Gross Cognition & Handheld Devices Final Presentation August 11, 2011
Objectives Students will: Practice using sophisticated words that will help them replace over used, commonplace words in their vocabulary Be able to use new words in the correct context Recall and use words automatically Be exposed to words that they will need for success on standardized tests (New York State ELA) Realize valuable learning can occur outside of the classroom
Objectives Teachers will be able to: Encourage students to learn when they are not in the classroom Allow students more time to practice using new words Assign fun and educational enrichment assignments
Audience My NYC Public School Middle School students (Ages 10-14) Students in my classes typically have a wide range of skills. I teach students who: range from reading levels above grade level (Y-Z) to years below grade level (M-N) are often struggling with writing traditionally love discovering and playing with new words are enthusiastic about continuing their learning outside of a classroom setting are preparing for a standardized test that serves as a promotional criteria are mostly from lower-income families that are traditionally at a much greater risk with regard to reading than their middle class counterparts (Revelle, 2009, p. 265-66).
Audience Middle School English teachers who: Would like to provide enrichment opportunities for students Are familiar and comfortable using their mobile phones to text students Need more time to practice literacy skills than the school day allows Using mLearning and mobile phones can address this need
Learning Theories:Why mLearning? “Mobile technologies are becoming more embedded, ubiquitous and networked… Such technologies can have a great impact on learning. Learning will move more and more outside of the classroom and into the learner’s environments, both real and virtual, thus becoming more situated, personal, collaborative and lifelong. The challenge will be to discover how to use mobile technologies to transform learning into a seamless part of daily life to the point where it is not recognized as learning at all” (Naismith, 2004, p. 5). mLearning directly addresses my need for more time to practice by allowing students to continue using words outside of the classroom with some guidance from me via text
Why use mobile phones? “Whereas mobile devices including PDAs, handhelds or small laptops are relatively expensive and consequently lack availability especially amongst pupils—the core advantage of mobile phones is the high availability of such devices…It can be emphasized that the majority of the population in general and the younger in particular have a mobile phone available, which they have at hand most of the time” (Holzinger 2010, p. 1). Enrichment activities using mobile phones are more accessible to all
Applied Learning Theories Behaviorist “Activities that promote learning as a change in learners’ observable actions” (Naismith 2004, p. 2). Informal & Lifelong Learning “Activities that support learning outside a dedicated learning environment and formal curriculum” (Naismith 2004, p.3) Collaborative “Activities that support learning through social interaction” (Naismith 2004, p. 10)
Changes Game Texting activity Most of my students have phones, many even have Blackberries, but ALL do not have smart phones so a game was not practical for all students to access Many students have phones they use to text, so they would be able to participate in a texting activity I’ve designed a Technology Survey to be administered during the first week of school to learn more about my students’ access to mobile technology Possible challenges that I plan to uncover with the survey: Majority of the students do not have mobile phones; students do not have unlimited text messaging plans
Changes Game Enrichment learning activity using phone: I’m not a gamer, so I don’t really know how to design video games that are fun or educational The goal of the game was to teach and allow for practice of new words, as well as to be enjoyable too broad I am a teacher, so I designed a learning activity using mobile phones in order to address an issue I encounter each year in my classroom… NOT ENOUGH TIME to really practice using new words This activity is designed to support and enrich teaching and learning that already occurs in my classroom
Use Case Scenario Step #1: Learning happens in the classroom: Students’ initial exposure to words would be in the classroom in the traditional manner Text message activity would be enrichment. Those who want to participate get extra credit (Traditional in class and homework assignments would still be provided.)
Use Case Scenario Step #2: Enrichment Activity begins with teacher sending “Text Task” Teacher sends students “Text Task” (that includes task and parameters) after the school day has ended “Text Tasks” can be sent daily, weekly, etc. Behaviorist Theory (push factor) Possible Modification: Teacher creates a class group using “Group Me” so all students can receive each other’s replies and work on tasks together Collaborative Theory T Leona 8/7/2011 3:30 PM Text Task: Respondwith3 synonyms for the word “bad.” You have until 8pm!
Use Case Scenario Step #3: Students reply to “Text Task” Students receive “Text Task” after school has ended Students follow instructions and reply to “Text Task” using Sophisticated Synonyms they learned in class Informal/Lifelong Learning WilWW88 Chynna 8/7/2011 7:32 PM Terrible, atrocious, Inadequate
Use Case Scenario Step # 4: Teacher responds to text message with feedback and records credit: Feedback depends on parameters of the task Behaviorist Theory Possible Problem: Keeping track of student points if receiving text messages while away from grade book/system could be confusing Bonus points can be awarded privately or publicly Leona 8/7/2011 3:30 PM Leona 8/7/ 2011 8:04 PM Excellent work! You earned 1 bonus point!
Examples of “Text Tasks” Individual Work: Respond with 3 synonyms for the word “nice” Describe the book you are using without using the word “good” Describe your best friend using 2 sophisticated synonyms and context clues as evidence Team Work (Using Group Me): As a class create a 20 word Synonym String for the word “interesting.” You have 30 minutes! The first 5 people to text me 2 synonyms for the word “important” get bonus points. Collaborative Theory
Summary Word work is important and fun…but in my classroom we don’t always have as much time for it as we need mLearning and mobile phones can help address this problem by allowing us the extra time to practice outside of the school day The Behaviorist, Collaborative and Informal & Lifelong Learning theories apply to this activity The use of mobile phones, as well as the possibility to earn extra credit, would serve as motivation to complete the tasks
Sources Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., & Sharples, M. (2004). Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning. Future Lab Series, 11, 1-44 Holzinger, A., Nischelwitzer, A., & Meisenberger, M. (2010). Lifelong-Learning Support by M-learning: Example Scenarios. eLearn Research Papers, 1-4 Revelle, G. (2009). Mobile Technologies in Support of Young Children's Learning . In A. Druin (Eds.), Mobile Technology for Children: Designing for Interaction and Learning (265-285). Birmingham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers
Thanks to everyone for all of your valuable feedback, suggestions and assistance!