MentorMob allows users to collect, collate and share information or student samples. These collections of information, called playlists, can be publically accessed. The playlists can contain static web pages, videos, images, and text to help showcase a concept or examples of student learning. Each item in the playlist is called a step.
Viewers click “Next” in order to proceed to the next item in the playlist. The playlists can also be enhanced by quizzes and comprehension exercises to determine students’ understanding.
The curated playlist features a polished look that is easy to navigate. Users can save and even collaborate on other playlists. Educator accounts can also make playlists public or private, ideal for a school setting.
MentorMob playlists can be easily shared and even embedded on various platforms, including classroom blogs or LibGuides.
Explain multi-step assignments to students
Showcase student learning
Curate information to help build students’ background knowledge of a concept or content.
The following MentorMob showcases grade one students’ writing of informational texts about community workers
According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life survey, 86 percent of teenagers believe that writing well is important. However, the teens do not view their writing as authentic. Yet, ironically, it is the writing in which they find the most pleasurable, that they do most eagerly and, arguably, that they do most successfully.
The “Digital” in Digital Writing
What distinguishes “digital” writing from traditional writing? Digital technologies facilitate “writing” in new ways. Computer applications and digital publishing spaces allow students to construct and weave multiple media (e.g., images, voice and other sounds, music, video, print, graphics), layered together across space and time to produce interactive, hyperlinked artifacts. The artifact can then be easily shared, and connected, with a global audience.
However, the use of technologies is only part of digital writing. Digital writing is not teaching writing with technology, but rather teaching writing in spaces that allow students to write with technologies. This involves a powerful pedagogical shift, and all powerful changes are cultural. Writing has been radically changed by the collaborative and conversational affordances of networked technologies. Technologies allow writers with access to an online network to become not only publishers and distributors of their writing,but collaborators and communicators. Therefore, audiences and writers are related to each other more interactively in time and space.
Digital writing is not only networked, but involves new modes and media. Writers can easily integrate the work of others into new meanings via new media and rescripting of existing media—text, image, sound, and video.The depth and breadth of this type of collaboration—both implicit (“borrowing” from others) and complicit (communities of writers)—may be one of the most significant impacts of technologies on the contexts and practices of writing (WIDE Media Network). This context presses up against larger issues of intellectual property, plagiarism, access, credibility of sources, and dissemination of information (DeVoss, 2001; DeVoss & Rosati, 2002).
Making “the Digital” Work for Teaching and Learning
In most classrooms, “writing” entails composing words on paper, prose in sentences and paragraphs. And from this perspective, technologies are incidental to writing, simply a means of producing, it but not actually part of the art or process of writing. Digital writing, in fact all writing, is more than style, syntax, coherence, and organization—meaning at the level of the sentence and the paragraph.
Embracing a digital writing environment involves a shift in pedagogy based on these principles:
Situated in contexts of rich affordances for writing. Affords basic infrastructural and semiotic wrtiting choices for students
Linked to a thoughtful, critical consciousness of technology. Facilitates a thoughtful, critical selection among tools for performing writing tasks and preparing compositions among many options
Anchored by multimodal approaches to writing. Juxatposing, scripting, and layering multiple media, including photographs, charts, video, images, audio, diagrams, hyperlinks, and more to create sophisticated messages
Digital writing means starting and sustaining discussions about approaches to integrating different technologies for different tasks and goals. Fostering a digital writing environment means students having the technology and skills they need to progress their writing at their immediate disposal. The list of technologies to help students in terms of production (process) and distribution (delivery) are numerous; however this blog’s sister site,TechyTeacher has categorized substantial process and delivery technologies.
Formative assessment ensures students are learning successfully, as we constantly review data regarding students’ learning performance and our implementation and modification of instructional strategies to improve student achievement.
What does good assessment practices look like? Cale Birk argues that schools need to be places where students are inspired to try instead of where students spend their time cowering in fear of failure. Bill Ferriter claims that we need to create buildings that take a mastery — instead of performance — orientation to learning outcomes. Mindshift also tackles this issue by stating the difference between mastery and performance orientiations to learning, is the difference between the kind of learning that students experience in summer camps and the kind of learning in today’s high-stakes classrooms. According to Mindshift, in summer camps, students learn for the sake of learning. Every day is an opportunity to explore, to think, and to experiment without worrying if you are correct or will experience failure.
In the words of Rick Stiggins, hitting targets is not half as important
as being willing to continue shooting in mastery-driven learning environments.
Dean Shareski has uploaded several videos about assessment to help teachers develop a positive learning culture.
Student Involved Assessment - This 2004 video is still relevant as educators delve into providing effective formative assessment. The video features various students and teachers talking about assessment for learning.
Rethinking Assessment - Jill Tressel looks at ways teachers are using student involvement and assessment for learning as a new approach to helping students.
Dean Shareski looks at the new obligation of sharing for educators. With stories from the a variety of sources, the fact that we now have the ability to teach and share beyond our classrooms is moving from “nice to do” to “necessary to do”.
This video discusses “The Hole In The Wall” experiment that Mitra started in New Delhi in 1999. Children deprived of learning opportunities available in other parts of the world nevertheless figured out the computer at their disposal and started using it to learn and to teach each other. These results repeated themselves as the experiment was conducted in various other locales. Students can and will teach students. How can educators take advantage of this to improve on education across the world?
The Pew Institute reports that two kinds of digital communication that have grown increasingly popular — texting with cell phones and use of social networks — are also popular in many places around the world. Read the full report for more about how the use of digital communications varies by a population’s wealth, age distribution, and education.