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Human Judgment is the Key to Personalized Learning

This week, we want to talk about why teaching is a field that won’t be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) or robots.

Teaching requires core skills such as empathy, generosity, and curiosity, that will likely prove challenging for AI/robots to master.

There is an additional advantage humans have over AI/robots when it comes to teaching: the ability to spot half-hidden objects. Self-driving car accidents are one example of how terribly wrong things can go when humans place undue trust in the ability of AI to spot half-hidden objects. This skill does not end with noticing a pedestrian in dark clothing on at night, it extends to a generalized ability to identify what is hidden in a set of facts and make sense of it.

Find Objects Visual Game. Solution in hidden layer!

Personalized and adaptive learning have been buzzwords for years, with a heavy focus on the power of algorithms to teach. The problem with the conversation has been that, all too often, teachers are not included as part of the solution. Too many pitches contend that with just-right technology, AI can take over the bulk of teaching.

Personalized learning is meeting a student where he or she is at. It is not a product, it is not a curriculum, it is a set of strategies and tactics. Data can help teachers find nuggets they might not have spotted and interventions they may not have known about, but only a teacher has the judgment and experience to decided how to intervene, and if an intervention is even needed.

Reading one of EdSurge’s newsletters this year, I was heartened to see they are predicting that the conversation in 2018 will be more about “ed” and less about “tech.” We hope more EdTech companies will realize their job is to empower teachers, not replace them.

A good EdTech tool provides a teacher data, from which the teacher can spot half-hidden objects of interest, be they a weakness in fluency, visual discrimination challenges, slow processing speed, advanced learning, dyslexia or more. Applying human judgment, a teacher can then calibrate personalized learning plans to address student needs.

The best EdTech tools enable teachers to extract information to provide an intervention.

The mainstays of the classroom of the future will be flexible EdTech tools that empower teachers, such as Learning Mangement Systems/Classroom Management systems like Google Classroom, PowerSchool, and SeeSaw, flexible creation and progress reporting platforms like Boom Learning, and flexible curriculum nuggets such as those found in the Boom Learning store and on Teachers Pay Teachers. These are the tools that allow teachers to find half-hidden nuggets and transform them into actionable, personalized learning plans.

How can Boom Learning help? With Boom Learning reports you can always see how long a student took to answer a question, which enables you to spot students who may have fluency, processing speed, or visual processing challenges before they fall behind. The data can’t tell you the source of the problem, but by assigning a variety of decks, they help you narrow down where a student needs more repetitions.

When you combine Boom Learning task cards with Google Classroom or similar management systems, you can create customized playlists that students work through. (Hyperplay links are helpful—available in the Library.) Match those up to your in-class differentiation groups, or where needed, use them to keep tabs on the progress of a student working on out-of-level curriculum. Althought this video is about Google Classroom, you can apply these same concepts to any Learning Mangement System: Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, Powerschool, and more.

Watch the video.

There is no need to wonder if an advanced student is getting it. If you can’t find a deck that aligns with the out-of-level curriculum, whip up exit ticket decks in the Studio to check progress and catch gaps before they become a problem. Enjoy TedTalk length demo will get you up and running. Visit our YouTube Channel for more instructional videos.

Teaching is a field that will not be replaced by AI/robots. Let’s hope that 2018 is the year that more and more EdTech innovators start thinking about how to support, rather than supplant, teachers.

Teacher Talk: Technology & Teaching

Today we are talking with Karen Busch and Belinda Vickers Givens.

Boom: Technology has entered the classroom with a vengeance. What has been your experience with technology in the classroom?

Karen: Without prioritizing technology funding, you can’t successfully integrate technology. My last year in the classroom was 2014-2015. My kindergarten classroom had three desktop computers and a smartboard that was no longer smart due to an installation error. We had one computer lab for just under 1,000 students. Kindergarten to third classrooms could sign up for once-a-week 30-minute lab sessions. Fourth through sixth shared a rolling lab.

When our kids had to take NWEA Maps tests, the computer lab would be unavailable for three weeks to accommodate all the classrooms. The first two times our kinders took the test was really hard. The kids had no idea how to drag and drop or which mouse button to click. It took forever to get them all logged in. School had just started and they couldn’t even recognize the letters in their name yet.

The year I left, we adopted My Math. The presenter showed us how you could use a tablet and smartboard to monitor and teach while walking around the classroom. We all sighed. A district representative was in the room and we begged her… can’t we AT LEAST get ONE teacher tablet per classroom? The answer was, simply, “There is no money for that at this time.”

Teacher Helping Male Elementary Pupil In Computer ClassBelinda: I currently work as a Speech Teletherapist which allows me to remotely serve students PK-12 via a secure internet connection. When I was in the public school setting, I LOVED incorporating technology into my therapy sessions but was limited to the use of my iPad. Now that my students are being seen via the computer, the sky is the limit when it comes to technology. I personally have been busy creating fun, engaging, interactive digital materials to use within a teletherapy platform. I find that when I incorporate the interests of my students into our sessions, outcomes are better, so everything I create is inspired by my students and used during our sessions. Teletherapy is a growing service delivery model and for this reason, there is certainly an increasing demand for digital resources.

Boom: Why should schools prioritize technology adoption?

Karen: Kids are comfortable with touch screen technology. They’re always using their parents’ and older siblings’ smart phone or tablet. Additionally, we didn’t like being tied down to the front of the classroom. We wanted the freedom to walk amongst our students while teaching and displaying on the smart board.

Belinda: I want what’s best for my students. In the 21st-century classroom, technology is an absolute must to effectively prepare our students for careers. The reality is kids love technology and I use this to my advantage. Learning should be fun, engaging, and challenging. I’m able to keep my students engaged and capitalize on their strengths while addressing their weakness through the use of technology.

Boom: Karen, based on your experience, what shouldn’t schools do?

Karen: They shouldn’t prevent teachers from using technology. We couldn’t even use our personal tablets because our district blocked us from connecting ANYTHING, even our cell phones, to their internet Wi-Fi.  We can’t teach our kids how to use a mouse, a keyboard, or how to navigate online or inside apps or web pages without access to computers. My district let their teachers and, more importantly, their students down.

Boom: Belinda, you have students who must have technology to participate. How do you use that to improve outcomes?

Belinda: I have a number of “go to” apps in my inventory and in the past, I would utilize iPads to incorporate them into my face-to-face sessions. Now through the use of teletherapy platforms, I’m less limited and I’m able to share my screen with my students to use a wide variety of educational apps. When my students are engaged, their outcomes are always better. When I customize my sessions to incorporate their interests, I have seen increased gains in a shorter amount of time.

Boom: Both of you have recently started creating Boom Cards teaching resources. What needs do you think they meet?

Karen: I think they meet the need of having kids get the practice and intervention they need with immediate feedback. If my district had enough PCs for all students, then Boom Cards would also meet the needs of allowing my students to practice drag and drop and which button to click with the mouse when selecting an answer.

Belinda: Boom Cards are a fun, interactive way to engage my students. Not to mention that they are self-grading and fully customizable! I can address so many targets and my students really enjoy them.

Boom: Karen, if you were in the classroom today, how would you use Boom Cards?

Karen: I would use them on the desktop PCs when we visited the computer lab once weekly. I would also use them on my smart board and allow kids to take turns selecting the answers by using my laptop which was hooked up to the board. Ideally, I would have enough desktops, tablets, or other devices in the classroom to have at least a group of five or more kids using the Boom Cards during RTI to work on their individual needs. I miss the classroom. 


Belinda is a Speech Language Pathologist. Practicing for 11 years, she is licensed in Florida, California, Washington, and Vermont. She currently is a teletherapist serving pre-K to twelfth-grade students. She is the co-owner of Infinity Rehabilitation, LLC and the creator and owner of BVG SLP, which creates digital therapy materials for use either for teletherapy or face-to-face therapy. Passionate about literacy, Belinda wrote The Adventures of Demdem the Garbage Truck: Watch Out For the Bumps. You can get her Boom Cards decks at a discount with her bundle.

Karen Busch taught elementary for 16 years at three different schools within the same large district in Southern California  Her principal wanted more non-fiction reading activities. Karen found the five and six years old in her kindergarten class didn’t have the attention span to sit through a non-fiction read aloud. Determined to meet their needs, Karen would create easy-to-read non-fiction Powerpoint slide shows for her students to read each day in class. Her team loved them so much they urged her to open a store at Teachers Pay Teachers and sell them. Although this is her third year out of the classroom, creating helps her stay connected to teaching. She has recently started creating Boom Cards resources. For fall, try her Beginning Sounds October theme (includes sounds).

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For the Love of Français: Languages of the Americas

English, French and Spanish are frequently taught languages of North America. In Canada, English and French have equal status as official languages. Today’s blog is focused on resources for French language instruction.

We’ll cover Spanish resources at a future date. But if you just can’t wait, you’ll find them in the store.

Teach French

“Prior to Boom Learning, students were merely just going through the motions of learning another language.”

-Najda Zada of Garden Full of Knowledge

Engaging Digital Natives

Like all instructors, Najda has her share of reluctant learners. Digital natives engage with the world visually. Najda says her students “love using Boom Cards because it gives them an opportunity to be able to use their handheld devices to practice their French language.”

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In her classroom, she selects a French language Boom Cards deck and then has the whole class work through it, enunciating each French word and deciphering the response.  At other times, she divides the class into two teams. Each team is given a question that they must answer within an allotted time. She finds these methods motivate her digital natives to speak French. “With Boom Learning, learning another language has been fun, engaging, and motivating to all types of second language learners.”

Surviving Teaching French

Boom Cards are not just for learners, they are also for novice teachers. At ISTE 2017 we spoke with a number of attendees from Canada. They were excited about using Boom Cards to assist teachers who were new to teaching French. With many authors adding sound features, teachers now how a variety of pronunciation resources.

Teaching French involves skills ranging from phonological awareness, les rimes, to sight words, to vocabulary building, to grammar. Materials available from our authors include sound, writing, and cross-curricular content. Here is just a sample!

les phonemes prof numericLes élèves raffoleront de ces cartes à tâches digitales autocorrectives qui sont totalement compatibles avec tous les types d’appareils mobiles ou écrans interactifs. L’apprentissage des phonèmes, via les sons AUDIO inclus dans cet ensemble de jeux interactifs, augmentera l’engagement des apprenants assurément.

by Prof Numeric – available individually at Boom Learning or as a bundle at Teachers Pay Teachers

Les Rime Michelle DupuisRhyme is a key component of phonological awareness. This fun resource will help students practice rhymes and review vocabulary words. Cette ressource contient 15 cartes qui permettront aux élèves de développer leur conscience phonologique.

by Michelle Dupuis Education French–Français

 

sight words for french immerssion

There’s no such thing as too much sight word practice. With these decks, kids will be able to listen to correct pronunciation and work on recognizing the written words. Kids won’t even notice how much work they’re doing while listening to a native speaker other than you. Try the free sample.

by For French Immersion – available individually on Boom Learning or as a bundle at Teachers Pay Teachers

verb tense mme r

These 25 cards will help students identify common reflexive verbs and practice present tense conjugations. There are ten multiple choice cards for verb identification, ten fill in the blank cards for conjugation and five fill in the blank cards for negative constructions.

by Mme R’s French Resources 

 

La rentree Madame Angel

Second language learners need lots of opportunities to practice new vocabulary in fun and engaging ways. This bundle of Boom Cards decks allows students the opportunity to read, listen to, identify and write school themed vocabulary.

by La classe de Madame Angel

 

Les r saisons Peg Swift

 

Investing in cross-curricular resources is always a good idea when you are building a well-rounded program. Here’s one that combines science and language.

by Peg Swift French Immersion

 

Quel temps Toujours Francais

Build vocabulary knowledge for students. This deck incorporates both listening and writing. It can be used both for assessment for learning (as a pre-assessment) or assessment as learning (used to determine if students are understanding the material).

by Toujour Francais

 

 

Find the Boom Cards collection for you

More French teaching resources available at Teachers Pay Teachers

Assess and Review Middle School Mathematics

Whether you are assessing understanding, preparing for Common Core or similar standards-based tests, recommending summer retention or credit recovery, or are looking ahead to fall, we have a few resources to help your middle schoolers solidify core skills. You can find our collection of mathematics materials for middle schoolers here.

MiddSimoune's Math Resourcesle schoolers are expected to extend their understanding of operations to all rational numbers, including negative numbers. Everyday reasoning about the meaning of negative numbers provides a solid foundation. Simone’s Math Resources’s Comparing Integers can be used as a pre-test, assessment, or practice of student ability to understand the applicability of negative numbers to real world problems.

A firm grasp of absolute value is an essential foundation to performing operations on mixed negative and positive numbers. Miss Mindy has an Absolute Value lesson plus practice deck bundle. You can use it with the student who needs extra or with the student reading to jump ahead.

Middle schoolers must develop increasingly sophisticated skills in working with expressions and exponents. We have several items from Joan Kessler, LittleStreams, Simone’s Math Resources, Jean Adams, and Misty Miller to evaluate how well your students are working with Expressions and Exponents or to assign extra practice.

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ELA Test Prep (or Teaching) for Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Standards

Whether you are squeezing in last-minute test prep or thinking ahead to fall, we have a variety of materials to help third, fourth, and fifth graders meet standards. You can use these materials to evaluate progress, practice and teach, or pre-test.

LANGUAGE ARTS

bjm4jho6vwyhwc7zg-bundle-reMastering the conventions of standard English can be a trial for many children. We have a variety of materials for you to teach, assess, practice, or remediate these crucial skills. The Revising and Editing Bundle by Rosie’s Resources is a handy set for last minute test prep.

If your students need more, check out these resources:

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 10.23.46 PMIn language arts, students also need to master vocabulary acquisition and use (CC.ELA.L.4, CC.ELA.L.5 and CC.ELA.L.6). This can range from the skills of sequencing, to being able to use context clues to determine word meaning. Rachel Lynette has three decks of increasing difficulty to help students master context clues. Other skills you can practice using cards from our vocabulary collection include Greek and Latin roots, parts of speech, and commonly confused words.

READING

To master the art of reading with comprehension, students must be able to determine main ideas, key details, and draw inferences. We have materials for students to practice drawing conclusions, making generalizations, making predictions, and making inferences from pictures.Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 10.29.51 PM

Barb Evans creates a variety of materials that combine critical thinking and problem solving with vocabulary building.Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 10.36.43 PM

You can find more materials here:

WRITING

Writing skills include the ability to write dialogue, sequence, and understand and craft analogies. You can find writing materials for grades third, fourth and fifth here.

Happy Teaching!

ELA Test Prep for Middle School

Middle school brings English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science testing. Today’s focus is on materials in the Boom Learning catalog that can help your students prepare for ELA testing in middle school. These materials are suitable for students in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

Boom Cards resources let you see at a glance how each student is progressing towards mastery and where they are making mistakes. With their cheerful bright colors and game features, Boom Cards are a welcome break from worksheets. Best of all they make sure screen time is moving students closer to standard. Give your classroom a selection of materials to practice for testing season and let students pick and choose which to do when.

Learning with Sunflower Smiles has five decks for students who need practice with Active and Passive Voice. There are two decks for mixed voices, and three additional decks for focused practice each on past, present and future tense. Assigned mixed voices for the whole class. Add focused practice if some students need more.

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Students who need to practice conventions can work with possessive apostrophes, commas, and pronoun case with decks from It’s a Teacher Thing, Hand in Hand, Learning with Sunflower Smiles, Deb Hansen, Rachel Lynette, and HappyEdugator. There are also a variety of materials to practice vocabulary, including Greek and Latin roots from Rosie’s Resources.

For reading skills, we have decks ranging from Advanced Point of View by Rachel Lynette, to Author’s Purpose by Deb Hanson, to Analogies Practice by HappyEdugator and many more.

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Feel free to repost and share with your teacher friends and students’ parents.

Engage Students with Visual Resources for World Language Mastery

“Prior to Boom Learning, students were merely just going through the motions of learning another language.”

-Najda Zada of Garden Full of Knowledge

Like all instructors, Najda has her share of reluctant learners. I recall struggling to learn world languages, but then I’m a primarily visual learner. My husband, whose strength is auditory learning, can pick up languages in a flash.

Digital natives engage with the world visually. Najda says her students “love using Boom Cards because it gives them an opportunity to be able to use their handheld devices to practice their French language.”

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In her classroom, she selects a set of French language Boom Cards and then has the whole class enunciate each French word orally.  As a group, they work together to decipher the response. Other times, she divides the class into two teams. Each team is given a question that they must answer within an allotted time.

She finds these methods motivate her digital natives to speak French. “With Boom Learning, learning another language has been fun, engaging, and motivating to all types of second language learners. Boom Cards have just given us a new twist to learning French!” With Boom Cards, the learning experience is enhanced with visual and kinetic modalities.

You can also find materials for French as a second language from Mme R’s French Resources. For a different shade of romance, try Italian resources from Hand in Hand Learning.

Engaging Younger Students

It can be challenging to find world language materials targeted for the elementary grades. Most materials are for middle school to adults. With Boom Learning, you can find ready-to-use decks made by teachers.

If you need something special, it only takes an hour or two to make a DIY deck you can use for years (no reprinting, no hand grading). If your deck turns out to be just what students need, you can add a little polish and put it in the store, for free or for a fee. Everyone gains: students and teachers. Worksheets and task cards both can be translated into Boom Cards, along with books. As Lucy from For French Immersion says “The fact that Boom decks work on computers, tablets, and interactive whiteboards is benefit you don’t get from regular apps.”

Lucy’s best selling French Verbs Growing Bundle is a great value, as you get all new decks she adds. For French Immersion designs materials for younger students in immersion classrooms (they also work for second language instruction). If you want to enjoy the season with French, we recommend this deck. You can also find French immersion resources from La classe de Madame Angel.

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We are also lucky to have linguaphile and designer Miss Mindy creating for Boomers in some of her many languages. She has spent the last 7 years teaching Spanish at a small independent K-6 school in Vermont and is now homeschooling her daughters. Mindy started studying Spanish when she was 13 and was enthralled. She minored in German and also studied French and Latin. Expect a variety of language resources Miss Mindy’s store. Here is a sample of her seasonal resources:

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After three German au pairs and high school Spanish we joke that we speak Danglish in our house. In Mindy’s house they must speech Flandanglish. What do you speak in your house?

Do you need more elementary resources? Rebecca Reid of Line upon Line Learning has elementary Spanish resources.

 

Speaking Scientifically with Boom Cards

“While all my friends were asking for Backstreet Boys paraphernalia or bicycles, I remember getting a microscope for Christmas when I was 9 or 10 and it was like I’d died and gone to heaven.” – Kristin Lee

Chemical or Physical Change?
Chemical or Physical Change?

Today I want to introduce Kristin Lee. She is my soul buddy. My favorite magazines as a teen were Scientific American and Discovery. Neither of us ended up as scientists, but we independently found our way to incorporate science in our careers. Kristin loves “seeing those middle schoolers fall in love with science!”

Puzzles, patterns, problems. Science has it all for Kristin. “I want students to feel my passion for science in my work and maybe, for some of them, light the same fire I have. I hope for a metaphorical fire and not one set by a Bunsen burner in the middle of my science lab.”

Kristin recently started making her Boom Cards

“Working with Boom has allowed me to take less concrete concepts, like the periodic table or vocabulary, and still make them fun and interactive. Teachers get real time data on students that can help them assess the needs of their class, without spending hours collecting and organizing it themselves.”

Kristin isn’t the only science loving author on Boom Learning. Rebecca Reid has gone beyond the task card to integrate reading comprehension with science learning about coral reefs (best for students grade levels 3-6).

For younger kids, you can also find these materials:

 

Featured

Mathematics without Restrictions

I teach mathematics to students who have learning difficulties such as Autism and Dyslexia. For them, writing and answering worksheet questions can be difficult. Boom Learning is a great tool for them to have a go at showing their mathematical abilities without being restricted by the difficulties of using a pen.

Rebekah Bullen, LittleStreams

We frequently remind our older children that they once struggled during the early days of reading. Now, reading is a breeze and they have amazing worlds to explore.

Likewise there is an amazing world that will be theirs in mathematics. We share with our children, as much as they can understand, the worlds of statistics and combinatorics, proofs and probability, geometry and logic. And then we remind them that to get there they must put in the work of learning their math ABCs (or 123s).

Sound Fundamentals

Rebekah Bullen is a private tutor who teaches mathematics to students with learning differences. Her LittleStreams store is full of elementary through middle school resources for teaching sound fundamentals. We like how she has made innovative use of the text box element to make her products touch focused for her students.

Find the factors for a given number task cards.
Students use touch or click to identify all the factors of a number.

Addition and Multiplication Facts

Love them or hate them, math facts are the foundation for success in higher mathematics courses. Mastery of facts can be tedious, progress slow, and repetition is essential. Our experience with digital natives is that variety matters. Thank goodness for the variety available on Boom Learning.

Boom Learning

Interactive Teaching Resources

Teachers have always shared resources, now more than ever. Sharing provides teachers with unprecedented access to lessons they can download and print for classroom use. Schools that have invested are asking teachers to print less and use devices more. Boom Learning bridges the gap between school and teacher needs.

“Boom allows teachers to access a growing and varied collection of teacher-created content for those devices, or to create their own” says Boom advisor and former teacher Rachel Lynette. Like familiar printables markets, Teachers can sell what they make, augmenting their pay.

Boom Learning’s tools allow teachers to create and deploy classroom-ready resource in less than an hour. For students with unique needs, “It provides a tool to make customized decks,” says Della Larsen.

“Boom Learning is really a win-win for everyone. Teachers save time, paper, ink, and other resources. Students interact with educational content in a meaningful and motivating way,” says Lynette.

Boom Learning has exceeded Lynette’s expectations: “Boom allows teachers to unleash their design talent. I love how teachers are finding new ways to use the tools, and how the platform is evolving with their suggestions.”

Boom Learning makes a teacher’s job easier. According to Secondary Science Teacher-Author Kristin Lee, “Boom Learning provides a level of reporting, differentiating, and self-grading that has the potential to save a teacher hours of data organizing.”

About Boom Learning

Founded in 2012, Boom Learning develops educational apps and games, including Mathtopia+, which regularly ranks among the top 50 downloaded game in the United States for kids ages 9-11, one of less than 50 apps to receive a 5-star rating on Smart Apps for Kids, and winner of the Children’s Technology Review’s Editor’s Choice Award for 2013. Boom Learning was formerly known as Omega Labs Inc. Boom Learning is launching its latest contribution to the education market this fall with its Boom Cards apps and Boom Learning platform and marketplace, which give teachers the tools they need to share interactive teacher resources in schools with 1:1 devices.

The Boom Learning product was born from the serendipitous meeting of three people on a mission. Senator Eric Oemig, a master coder with a passion for education technology, wanted to build a mobile platform that would become an integral part of the classroom. Mary Heuett Oemig, an attorney and educator, wanted to build something that would meet each student where he or she was. Rachel Lynette, founder of Minds in Bloom and author of more than 120 non-fiction children’s books, wanted to turn the task cards she created for Teachers Pay Teachers® into apps.

#‎boomlearning‪#‎backtoschool‪#‎teachermade,‪#‎interactivelearning‪#‎paperless

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