Showing posts with label Hapara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hapara. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Leveraging Technology to Monitor Student Learning & Streamline Assessment

Hapara allowed teachers to reinforce
positive behaviour and promote
digital citizenship through encouraging
collaborationon shared documents.
In December, Grade 8 students immersed themselves in Toronto City Council business and municipal politics with proposals to improve City of Toronto drinking water treatment. We were able to leverage Hapara, an online education platform, throughout the project to help improve student learning and streamline teacher assessment.

Throughout the learning process we shared templates and resources with students in their Integrated Project Folders on Hapara. Students used these same folders to develop their ideas and create their proposals. All Grade 8 Teachers had access to the folders and we could monitor individual progress to prompt deeper learning and identify students who required additional support. This technology also allowed us to reinforce positive individual and group behaviour, and promote digital citizenship through the collaboration process with shared documents.

Once the Grade 8 students completed their final proposals to the City of Toronto and presented their ideas to City Council, the integrated project was complete. Each student’s proposal included curriculum expectations for mathematics, English, Canadian Social Studies and science. Teachers worked together to mark the final products. Hapara significantly streamlined the assessment process as teachers from different disciplines could efficiently access students’ products to mark the appropriate curriculum expectations.

In the integrated project, students created products that examined a social issue with improved breadth and depth by looking with different subject perspectives. The careful design and implementation allowed curriculum expectations from four disciplines to be effectively addressed. Using technology, we were able to help ensure each student was supported and challenged throughout the process, and student products could be efficiently evaluated.

Elysia Jellema
Grade 7 & 8 Math and Science Teacher

Erin Klassen
Grade 7 & 8 Math and Learning Strategies Teacher

Want to read more about our Grade 8 Integrated Project? Read a student's perspective and a teacher's perspective.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Thinking Differently to Meet Students' Needs

Two years ago, I posted “Reinventing the High School Experience,” which reflected upon one educator’s claim about the need for high schools to “revolutionize” themselves. As the postings on this blog over the past two years demonstrate, Greenwood has made great strides in this direction.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • 15 high school courses, ranging from Grade 9 to 12, are now delivered using a blended learning model. Using this approach has allowed students to learn at their own pace and freed up class time for more individualized and small group learning. 
  • Non-blended courses continue to leverage new types of learning technology, such as Oxford Next and The Academic Zone, which enable students to customize their learning. 
  • 6 Grade 7-10 subjects are now scheduled in a block format, which enables flexible grouping based on readiness or interest within a grade cohort. 
  • Our Grade 7-8 Arts program has introduced a major/minor approach where students can specialize in one or two of our four arts electives. 
  • 75% of our teachers now use Hapara on a regular basis. Use of this Google tool allows teachers an overall snapshot of individual student learning. 
  • We have re-modeled two classrooms to create one flexible learning space, equipped with state-of-the art technology and furniture.

Ann Marie Kee, the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools, recently observed that independent schools are often reluctant innovators. I am proud to be leading a team of educators that have the expertise and courage to think differently about high school and how it can be improved to better meet the needs of our students.

Allan Hardy

Monday, 28 October 2013

Using Hapara to Help Guide Student Learning

Research shows that constructive, immediate feedback, and anecdotal comments given in a timely manner, result in greater student learning (Chappuis, 2007.Hapara is a tool that supports personalized learning in this key, strategic way. Leveraging Google Apps, Hapara allows teachers to get a snapshot view of each student’s most recent work in Docs, Sites, Blogger and Picasa.

Hapara creates shared folders between students and their teachers where student work is kept. From here, teachers can see the initiation and process of student learning, and even the final product of individual student work. They can support learning during the process by provide timely feedback and by designing strategic in-class learning experiences. Watch the video below for a demo of how Hapara can help teachers support the learning process.

I have used Hapara to assess students' homework prior to class and then to organize their next class based on readiness. I no longer need to wait until they are in class to take in their homework, nor do I have to assess it, and then design the learning for the following class. Through Hapara, I use their understandings immediately and design learning experiences appropriately.

I can guide some students to engage in learning activities that reinforce the learning, while students who have demonstrated a solid understanding of the previous lesson can extend their learning. This allows me to work more directly with the students in each group to help them achieve their learning goals at a pace that is appropriate for them. This immediate feedback gives students a strong sense of their own understanding, and ensures that they know the lesson before moving on to the next concept and/or skill.

Garth Nichols
Teacher, Student Adviser Program Coordinator

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Building a Truly Student-Centred Program

I am delighted to kick off another year of blogging here on First-Person Plural. Our aim this year is to accentuate the title of this blog by having a number of our classroom teachers do some blogging about their experiences with personalized learning. This approach will provide followers of this blog with a real sense of this year’s personalized learning initiatives at Greenwood. Specifically, we are focusing on the following four areas:
  • More Blended Learning Courses: Aside from our existing blended learning courses in Grades 11 and 12, we have are now using this approach in Grade 9 Geography, Grade 10 Canadian History, Civics, Grade 11 and 12 Computer Science, Grade 12 Chemistry, and Grades 11 and 12 Physics. This approach will ensure that all Greenwood students have some exposure to this hybrid approach to learning.
  • Block Scheduling: We are piloting the use of a larger learning space, which will allow for more flexible grouping and interactive learning. We have planned our timetable so that students enrolled in Grade 7 English and mathematics use the same block of time. A similar approach is being used with Grade 9 Geography and Grade 10 History and Civics.
  • Major-Minor Choice in Grade 7 and 8 Arts: This year students in Grades 7 and 8 will choose to focus more of their time on Instrumental Music, Visual Arts or Dramatic Arts (“the major”), and study the other two mediums in a “minor” format. Next year, Grade 8 students will choose one art form as a minor and one other as a major.
  • Student Adviser: We are continuing to focus our advising program on individual advising rather than the traditional group approach used in most advising programs. Teachers acting as advisers have their teaching loads reduced so that they have the necessary time to meet with advisees. We are also continuing to augment our adviser program with the use of Hapara, a Google tool which enables advisers to use a digital dashboard to support student learning.
All of these initiatives are the result of careful research and planning over the past several years. Our hope, as it has been since Greenwood’s inception, is to continue to build a program that is truly student-centered.

Allan Hardy

Thursday, 21 March 2013

2.0 Schools: Learning in the 21st Century

One of Canada’s most influential voices on the future of digital technology is Don Tapscott. The author of numerous books and articles on this topic, Tapscott has long been an admirer of Greenwood’s use of learning technology. In Growing Up Digital (2009), he referred to Greenwood as an excellent example of a “2.0 school.” Tapscott defines a 2.0 school as one which prioritizes learning over teaching, customization over a one-size fits all approach, and interactive learning over the broadcasting of information.

More recently, Tapscott was featured in a Globe and Mail interview in which he reiterated the need for schools and universities to work harder to transform themselves into 2.0 schools. According to Tapscott, “we have the best model of learning that 17th-century technology can provide.” For education to equip students to participate fully in the 21st century, Tapscott argues that schools must “use technology to free up instructors from transmitting information to curating customized learning experiences,” and have “learning occur through software programs, small group discussion and projects.”

One of the oft-expressed concerns about moving schools in this direction is that it will minimize the importance of the teacher or professor. However, Tapscott disputes this assumption. Instead, instructors will have greater opportunities to “listen and converse with students” and accordingly, will be better able to “tailor the education to their students’ individual learning styles.” This goal can be accomplished, according to Tapscott, by allowing computers “to provide instruction for anything that requires a right or wrong answer.”

Much of what he outlines in the article resonates with Greenwood’s current approach to personalized learning. Our blended learning approach allows students to use online resources to direct their learning and collaborate in both face-to-face and virtual media. Our use of Hapara in our student adviser program provides advisers with genuine opportunities to customize classroom programming for individual students. I am sure that if Don Tapscott were to revisit Greenwood, he would be impressed by how far we have come with digital learning since his earlier visit to our school seven years ago.

Our use of Hapara in our student adviser program provides advisers with genuine opportunities to customize classroom programming for individual students.

On a closing note, a recent editorial in The New York Times endorsed the use of blended or hybrid learning. Columbia University’s Community College Research Center released a study which tracked the results of 7 million students enrolled in online courses and concluded that students in these courses were more “likely to fail or withdraw than those in traditional classes.” However, the Centre also found that students “in classes that blended online instruction with a face-to-face component performed as well academically as those in traditional classes.” This result was attributed to students’ need for engagement with their teachers.

Allan Hardy