If you have students who love music and want to learn how to code, introduce them to Sonic Pi. This is a free application that can be used with Mac, Windows, Linux, or the Raspberry Pi to teach coding using music. Users, even those of us who are not musically inclined, can create songs by coding.
For anyone who is not familiar with Kaizena, it is a Website and Google Add-on that allows individuals to share documents and give feedback through text and voice options. Teachers can create shared documents for the entire class, small groups, or individual students. The program also allows the teacher to create a database of video lessons to suggest to students as a way to differentiate instruction.
While Kaizena has always worked well with Google Docs, it has not been able to add documents turned into Google Classroom and add them to your conversation within Kaizena. Instead, teachers and/or students were having to add each document individually to the Kaizena conversations. This is no longer the case. Yesterday, Kaizena released a statement explaining that it now works with Google Classroom. Here is the part of the statement that explains how it will work.
“When you sync your Kaizena account with Google Classroom, Kaizena will set up a group for each of your classes, import all your students, and (optionally) import any assignments your students have already submitted. Then, when your students submit new work on Classroom, it will automatically get added to your conversation with them on Kaizena.”
Educators have always talked about making classroom decisions that are based on data, but is that what we should really be using to make our decisions? Listening to a podcast, I heard David Toddington describe the best way to make decisions for law enforcement. He runs a digital intelligence company and works with law enforcement agencies all over the world. In the interview he discussed the fact that data is just the gathering of a lot of statistics and facts. Mr. Toddington does not believe in making decisions based on data. Instead that data should be gathered and analyzed to produce information. That information should be put together with other relevant information to produce knowledge, and decisions should be based on knowledge.
As I listened to him describe this idea for law enforcement, I realized that teachers should and usually do take the same approach. Data from assessments or other sources is put together in a logical order to gain information. That information plus the information teachers know about their students produces the knowledge needed to effectively teach those students.
This is something many individuals who have never taught before don't understand. In a normal bussiness or factory setting, those in charge take data and create information to make specific decisions that should have a specific outcome. They do not usually have to take that information and apply it to a human being. Each person is different. This is why two students can get the same test score, be given the same intervention, and end up having very different outcomes.
So saying that educators should be data driven in inaccurate, there is so much more to the job of teaching than taking data and applying a solution. Teachers have to take data, create useful information from that data, look at that information in the context of each particular student, then use the knowledge they have about that specific situation to make the best possible decisions.
So lets make it clear to everyone: STUDENTS ARE NOT DATA POINTS, they are people who need a lot more than a one size fits all approach when they are learning.