Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Actively Learn - Interpret Poetry in a Collaborative Digital Environment.


Today I stumbled across a great site titled Actively Learn that has the potential to revolutionize the interactions that my students and I have with poetry and literature in the classroom.

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of close reading and how to integrate that with an iPad.  Actively Learn facilitates close reading and MORE!

An Overview


 Actively Learn allows you to build a class and provide an assignment to that class that has stop points throughout the text requiring students to answer or provide commentary as they read.  For students to access Actively Learn, they build an account and then 'find' their teacher's section and join that section. (avoiding the onerous task of building individual student accounts) Once they are active on Actively Learn, they will see any assignments that they need to complete.




Actively Learn provides a directory of poems and classic literature available for use.  The pieces are categorized allowing you to narrow your search by grade level as well as category of literature.  Actively Learn also allows for you to add online text or allows the teacher to upload their own .pdf or .epub file to share with students.  If you choose to upload your own text, it does take a while for that text to be processed and made available to you.


Once you've chosen a piece to add to your library, you can add your question(s), notes or other points of interest to the piece.  To add questions, simply highlight the area that you which to focus and a menu allows you to Insert a Question, Insert a Note (that students can also comment on and see each others comments) and Insert a Link for students to view related to the text.


After students complete the assignment, Actively Learn provides data and statistics specific to each student for evaluation.  For assignments that you obtain from the directory, many are linked to the Common Core standards so you can see which standards have been met.

My Thoughts


My personal goals when it comes to technology are to find ways to integrate technology to replace tasks that I currently do, NOT to reinvent the wheel.   I currently provide students with routine poetry experiences by using a generic Poetry Evaluation Form.  



I now plan on using Actively Learn to replace that poetry process and to build the Poetry Evaluation Form questions directly into Actively Learn.

A Quick Way to Integrate NOW


#1.  Sign up for Actively Learn
#2.  Set up your account and build your class (classes)
#3.  Select a poem
#4.  Use THIS set of generic poetry evaluation questions
#5.  Assign to your students
#6.  Have students sign-up, find your account and see the assignment.
#7.  Monitor student responses and provide feedback.

Actively Learn to use Your Smarticles!!