Not All Problems Should Be Avoided In The Classroom: Incorporating Problem Based Learning (PBL)
Problem Based Learning (PBL) is an exciting instructional strategy to activate student engagement and student-driven inquiry. To model this strategy, simply provide your students with a real-world problem or challenge and step back. By not providing the solution, the student’s learning becomes empowered within the constructivism classroom model. After incorporating the PBL model, expect measureable outcomes such as:
Examine and test prior knowledge
Discover and create objectives
Develop collaboration skills
Improved communications skills
State and defend positions with evidence and sound argument
Become more flexible in processing information and meeting objectives
Developed or refine research and technology skills
Knovation’s educator-vetted digital resources, accessible through netTrekker or icurio, can ease the stress of creating a relevant PBL lesson. Nestled within our 360,000 item library, a teacher can easily find digital resources on how to implement PBL, PBL lesson rubrics, and student-led research materials.
To review how a school-wide approach PBL setting can act as a catalyst for deeper learning, we suggest this case-study that focuses on the Philadelphia Approach School-Wide Implementation of Project-Based Learning.
Creating the first PBL assignment is very rewarding. We suggest you using this checklist to make sure the lesson include all of the necessary components.
Assessment is very important factor in a PBL setting. Implement or revise these PBL rubrics to guide mastery.
Knovation is pleased to announce the launch of its new netTrekker Support site and certain other updates to the netTrekker application. Notes for the December 2017 release are listed below.
New netTrekker Support Site
netTrekker has a new and improved support site: support.netTrekker.com This site provides a wealth of information to assist users in effective use of netTrekker. Users benefit from the support site’s easy and intuitive interface, and the site’s main search bar uses type ahead to quickly find answers to questions.
Web Search: Keyword Search Type Ahead
To support effective keyword search for learning resources, the type ahead feature has been added to the netTrekker web application search bar. When a user clicks on the “Web”, “Image” or “Famous Person” radio button and starts typing a keyword in the search bar, suggestions are displayed that match the entered characters. Clicking on a keyword or key phrase suggestion and then clicking the “Search” button opens a search results page for that keyword or key phrase.
Publisher Search Refinement
Many netTrekker users are interested in refining their search results by a specific publisher (like Khan Academy or CK-12). To enable this refinement, “Collections” have been updated in the netTrekker web application to “Publisher” in the “Refine Search” panel where a user can select one or more publisher names and click the “Refine” button. Refinement by publisher is also available in the “More Search Options” panel where a user can enter the publisher name in the publisher field and click search. In “More Search Options”, the user also benefits from type ahead for the publisher field.
Periodically, Knovation applies updates to the icurio application. Notes for the December 2017 release are listed below.
Discover: Keyword Search Type Ahead
To support effective keyword search for learning resources, the type ahead feature has been added to the icurio web application Discover search bar. When a user starts typing a keyword in the search bar, suggestions are displayed that match the entered characters. Clicking on a keyword suggestion opens a search results page for that keyword.
Publisher Search Refinement
Many icurio users are interested in refining their search results by a specific publisher (like Khan Academy or CK-12). To enable this refinement, “Collections” have been updated to “Publisher” in the left-hand search refinement panel where a user can now refine by publisher by checking the boxes next to the desired publishers and then clicking the “Narrow Results” button. Refinement by publisher is also available in the “More Search Options” panel where a user can enter the publisher name in the publisher field and click search. In “More Search Options”, the user also benefits from type ahead for the publisher field.
Standards: Standards Text Type Ahead
To support effective search for learning resources by academic standard, the type ahead feature has been added to the icurio Standards search bar. When a user starts typing text for an academic standard in the search bar, suggestions are displayed that match the entered characters. Clicking on an academic standards suggestion opens a search results page for that standard.
Close the Banner
Based upon varying screen sizes and a large variety of learning resource types, sometimes it is beneficial to close the icurio tools banner. This feature has been implemented; the icurio banner can be removed by simply clicking the ‘X’ in the top right corner of the page.
It is the season of giving, and we are full of holiday cheer at Knovation! To celebrate, we are wrapping up funding with a big, red bow for Ms. Durick of Pittsburgh Brookline Elementary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Ms. Durick teaches PreK-2 students. They have been good girls and boys this year, and Ms. Durick has asked for an Apple TV for the classroom.
Full of energy and eagerness to learn, these students want to see the world! With an Apple TV, Ms. Durick could show it to them. Mostly from low-income families, some of her students have not had the opportunity to take trips or visit attractions near them. Armed with a new reading curriculum, Ms. Durick could access videos and websites to bring lessons to life, providing all sorts of adventures in many exciting places near and far! The classroom does have a few iPads, but there are not enough for every student to enjoy the wonders of the technology as a group. Ms. Durick wants every set of eyes to light up with wonder! Not only would an Apple TV increase her students’ existing enthusiasm to learn, it would also increase their attention and focus which leads to higher achievement.
Brookline Elementary is over 100 years old and serves more than 500 students in grades PreK-8. It is a rigorous learning environment that is supported with technology: computers, math and writing labs, and two wireless and iPad carts for the upper grades. A positive school-wide behavior program is established to recognize students for such milestones as classroom achievements, perfect attendance and citizenship.
We applaud Ms. Durick’s desire to bring the world into her classroom through the technology of Apple TV. Please join Knovation in making Ms. Durick’s wish come true for her students. Her project, which will reach at least 60 children, expires in March. Keep in mind, there are plenty of other classrooms looking for support as well. Get in the holiday spirit and make a donation to Ms. Durick or another worthy DonorsChoose request. Happy Holidays!
Knovation is committed to curating, contextualizing, tagging, aligning and maintaining OER for learning through our applications, netTrekker and icurio. Through strategic partnerships with other organizations in the K-12 space, we also integrate our Content Collection with learning management systems, assessment solutions, and learning object repositories. Together we’re meeting the diverse needs of students and teachers around the globe. Learn more about Knovation, and follow us on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube
To better serve educators, Knovation is automating the updating of state and national education standards in icurio. This means that searching and browsing for standards and their aligned content is current. One outcome of this monthly automatic update process is that certain labels for standards documents have changed.
Looking for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)? Start with Achieve, the governing authority for NGSS and other national standards.
Looking for Common Core educational standards? Start with NGA Center/CCSSO (CC), the governing authority for Common Core. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Looking for ISTE NETS? When reviewing the list of standards documents, teachers now have 3 options: 1) ISTE NETS for Administrators, 2) ISTE NETS for Teachers, and 3) ISTE National Educational Technology Standards.
As we start the 2017-2018 school year, know that Knovation’s teachers have worked over the summer to ensure that the the Knovation Content Collection and the netTrekker application are “back to school” ready.
On a quarterly basis, Knovation publishes Content Matters, a report summarizing recent updates to our Content Collection including types of content and highlighting certain publishers. Following are recent reports:
Watch for the Back to School 2017 issue in early October:
As we work with Districts, one big challenge their teachers and students face today when using technology is the fatigue caused by jumping between applications (passwords, usability, practicality). Search no more as netTrekker integrates with Google Classroom, and today’s leading learning management systems, Canvas and Schoology ensuring that teacher-curated, quality content is easily accessible for lesson planning, teaching and learning.
At Knovation, we’re committed to helping educators and learners. What better way to do that than to select one of the many worthy causes on DonorsChoose and contribute to a teacher, student, classroom, school or district? We’re doing something good for kids, every day, just like the educators who post requests on DonorsChoose. This is our first selection of 2017 with more to follow!
‘Fire the Neurons!’ This catchy little headline caught our attention, introducing us to a DonorsChoose request from Mrs. Hicks, Health and Life Science teacher at Hancock High School in Kiln, Mississippi. Go Hawks!
Mrs. Hicks’ request consists of three Fire Tablets with 7-inch screens, Wi-Fi, and 8 gigabytes of storage. She’s also asking for three Incipio Clarion Folio Fire Cases to protect the tablets. These tools will engage students in online learning activities, such as demonstrations, special projects, and self-evaluations.
Mrs. Hicks strives to make each lesson come alive in the classroom! Using game-based learning platforms like Kahoot and Quizlet Live, Mrs. Hicks is able to present online competitive review games and transform ordinary worksheets into activities that generate excitement for assignments where computers can be used as a resource.
Hancock High School is committed to providing opportunities for students through the theme, “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow.” With enrollment of nearly 1,300 students, they are ranked 8th out of 249 high schools in the state of Mississippi, recognized by ACT National Corporation as a high-performing school and have produced six National Merit finalists over the past four years.
Hancock Performing Arts Center, celebrated its grand opening in February 2016 and supports students in their zest for drama, music, dance, writing and film. Designed for student performances or hosting private events, HPAC is generating enthusiasm for the arts throughout the entire Gulf Coast community.
Hancock’s Athletics host programs for boys’, girls’ and coed teams in the more traditional sports such as football, soccer and volleyball. They also offer archery, debate, cheer and powerlifting to name a few. The 2016 Lady Hawks Volleyball team won a state title. Of course, one of the most famous Hawks: NFL Hall of Famer, Brett Favre.
Students strive for a well-rounded education and practice PRIDE: Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline and Excellence. They find themselves at graduation, “fully prepared to spread our wings and soar to new heights.”
Mrs. Hicks’ DonorsChoose request will reach at least 75 students. If you’d like to help her achieve her goal, contribute here.
Knovation salutes Mrs. Hicks. She’s doing something good for kids, every day! Teach on, Mrs. Hicks!
Knovation is committed to curating, contextualizing, tagging, aligning and maintaining OER for learning through our applications, netTrekker and icurio. Through strategic partnerships with other organizations in the K-12 space, we also integrate our Content Collection with learning management systems, assessment solutions, and learning object repositories. Together we’re meeting the diverse needs of students and teachers around the globe.
One of the skills necessary to prepare students for college and career focuses on reading complex text outside of literature. Providing opportunities to read and discuss current events is an excellent example of this instructional strategy. When teachers incorporate current events into their lesson plans, it allow students to practice reading informational writing, gain knowledge of events going on in their country and the world, practice written and oral summarization, and gain oral presentation skills. Additionally, according to the article by Gary Hopkins, Why Teach Current Events , (06/02/2010) Education World, incorporating current events:
Provides coverage and connection to all areas of the curriculum
Builds language, vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, oral expression, and listening skills
Develops informed citizens and lifelong newsreaders.
Provides a “writing model”
Helps teachers teach media literacy skills
Can open up communications between students and parents.
Offers ideal opportunities for cooperative-group instruction
Each week the Knovation curriculum team publishes current events from a variety of sources at the beginning of the week. Some examples include:
Youngzine: Written with the interests and reading ability for younger students, each article provides both text and a video about the subject. The monitored comment area allows young students to write their opinions.
Dogonews: Engaging and informative articles aligned to curriculum areas and Common Core State Standards.
BBC Newsround: Provides current events on current topics with additional recommendations.
NPR Break News: Covers domestic, international and science current events.
Support your students in developing important skills as they get up-to-date on current news!
It’s not every day that you get to visit with a former superintendent and understand what makes them tick, what inspired them, and how their love for teaching continues–even after they leave their districts.
We had a chance to meet up with Patty Blake, former English teacher, high school assistant principal, middle school principal, assistant superintendent and lastly, superintendent of New Miami Local School District. Patty recently turned in her “cap and gown” and headed in a somewhat different career path by joining Knovation there months ago as a Content Manager –not a role many superintendents would consider after leading school districts for 15 years–but one that Patty chose as her way of staying connected to helping kids, inside and outside of the classroom.
From walking the halls of schools in Oak Hills, Hamilton, Three Rivers and New Miami, to watching the Walking Dead on Sunday evenings, take a sneak peek at Patty and you see how her passion for life and her love for kids gets translated into the work she does!
1) Where is your hometown? I am from Cincinnati, specifically the Westside for all the readers from Cincinnati.
2) What is your alma mater? I received my undergraduate degree from the College of Mount Saint Joseph and my graduate degree from Xavier University. Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Xavier University.
3) What was your dream job growing up? My dream job was somewhere between being a teacher and being a rock star. I decided to go with the one I actually had a talent for doing, teaching!
4) What attracted you to the education industry? Teaching runs in my family. My oldest sister was a professor at the University of Notre Dame. I also have two nieces and four cousins who are teachers. Because of family ties to education and my love for children, I became an English teacher before becoming an administrator. I taught 7th grade at Our Lady of Visitation and then taught English at Northwest High School, for a combined 6 years, then became a high school and middle school administrator for 10 years. Then I was an assistant superintendent and superintendent for a combined 5 years. Even my husband is a teacher! Now, my oldest son is in the teacher academy at his high school.
5) Describe your role within the organization. My job title and my role don’t necessarily align- my job title is Content Manager, but I see my role as so much bigger than that. At Knovation, we help teachers find online resources they can trust and help them easily manage the wealth of content available to them. I spend my days searching and reviewing the best online resources for teachers and students to use. We have a rigorous 127-point certification process that every resource has to go through before it can be added to our content library.
Additionally, I have the pleasure of customizing digital curriculum for school districts. Since all resources we offer are standards-aligned, we can easily help a school or district finds the resources they need and organize these resources according to their curriculum maps so teachers have a consistent and rigorous foundation to start. As a former superintendent, I know how important it is to get teachers and students what they need so they can meet the demands and challenges of a changing world.
6) Can you describe your role in identifying digital resources? I bring my experience as a former teacher and superintendent to help ensure we are delivering meaningful content to your schools and classrooms. My specific role is about giving feedback to keep the resources fresh and relevant. It is critical that teachers and students know that the resources they access are current, reliable and engaging.
7) What is your favorite part about working with school districts? My favorite part about working with school districts is knowing that what we do saves teachers time and helps kids find the right resources, so they can get more engaged in learning. I’ve spent my entire career with the goal of inspiring kids to learn. At Knovation, we truly deliver resources that make learning that makes sense for all types of students. Whether they want to learn by watching a video, playing a game or actually reading an article, we select resources that kids can understand.
8) What was the biggest change between being a teacher to being a Superintendent? Which did you like the best? I have never stopped being a teacher, but my classroom and students have changed. I made the switch to administration because I wanted to support teachers as well as students. As a Superintendent, one supports and leads many areas that are outside of the boundaries of teaching and learning. A superintendent holds the ultimate accountability for every stakeholder in the district. It is a 24 hour a day job, especially when there is snow! Asking me which role I like best is like asking me to tell you which one is my favorite child out of three. I love them all!
9) What has been your proudest moment at Knovation? Well… with my short run here so far, my proudest “academic” moment would have to be when my coworkers made me a certificate when I was given the “rights” to publish evaluations. Yes, it is hanging up proudly near my computer! I have had a few other “athletic” victories here playing the office 4-square game, but I believe some of the plays were contested and are still under review.
10) What are your favorite hobbies and outside interests? I love attending my children’s sporting and theater events. My husband and I enjoy weight training and going to see the latest scary movie. I am also a pretty big Walking Dead fan!
We’ll continue to feature more employees in upcoming blog posts, so be sure to check back and learn more about the people behind Knovation.
The Ohio Blended Learning Network, in partnership with two other organizations, conducted a survey of 211 schools in Ohio and found the following:
• Nearly 58% of the schools have some type of blended learning model.
• High schools are adopting blended learning at a faster rate- 71% of high schools have a blended learning model
• 73% of schools offering blended learning are doing so to offer personalization for students
• 54% of schools offering blended learning are doing so to improve student academic outcomes
Blended learning environments create opportunities and paths for students to engage with instructional materials in a manner that matches their learning style and respects their own pace.
One of the challenges faced by Ohio districts that are looking at implementing or that have already implemented blended learning is the need for finding quality content for the online component of their programs. With the proliferation of free online learning resources over the past years, you would expect that finding good content to create or supplement classes would be a simple task. But it’s not. Finding reliable, teacher-evaluated, age-appropriate, subject-specific and standard-aligned content takes teachers’ time and effort.
The question then shifts away from whether or not you should blend, but when, how and how much will it cost your district. One point all districts need to consider is the cost of opportunity loss as blended learning environments have proven over and over again to far outweigh the cost of not blending.
We would love to hear what your school is doing to include blended learning into your classrooms. If you haven’t started, or if you are in the process, let us know. Whether you use our solutions or not, we are here to help you weigh the pros and cons and help guide you as you move into the blended learning environment.
For more information on the Ohio Blended Learning Network survey, click here.