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James Varlack – Developing Engaging Instruction

Educational Duct Tape

Release Date: 01/27/2021

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Educational Duct Tape

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In April 2021, I had the opportunity to be a guest on The Peg Doesn't Fit, a podcast where the hosts Erich Stephen and Ryan Bartel discuss frustrations with the educational system and provide solutions. We spoke about some of my thoughts on edtech integration, professional development, coaching, and more!

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In January 2021, I had the opportunity to be on one of my favorite sources of educational technology learning: Kimberly Mattina's YouTube Live + Podcast, The Suite Talk. In this appearance, I share some of my favorite ways to kick off my class periods with smiles and laughs. I focus on Pear Deck, but the ideas can be used in other platforms, too.

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Educational Duct Tape

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Educational Duct Tape

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More Episodes

James Varlack says that “Engagement is developed.” So, in his interview, I asked him how he develops his engaging instruction. We discuss how James works toward each of the 3 types of student engagement--emotional, behavioral, and cognitive--in both analog and digital ways. We discuss Jamboard, Google Docs, Google Slides, Padlet, Whiteboard.chat, Whiteboard.fi, Microsoft Teams whiteboard, Google Arts & Culture.

Show notes also available at  jakemiller.net/eduducttape-episode-53

  • Today's Sponsor: Texthelp EquatIO - text.help/equatio-fft
  • Soapbox Moment: "The One Who Keeps Score & Gives Permission to Not Take the Shot"
  • Today’s Guest: James Varlack
    • James Varlack is a Digital Learning Specialist with McAllen Independent School District. He has worked in education for 10 years as a middle school math teacher and in campus technology. He and his wife Dawne moderate the #RGVEduChat and have 3 lovely children, Jayden, Zara, and Jordan.
    • Contact Info: Twitter: @jamesvarlack Email: [email protected]
  • 2 Truths & 1 Lie
  • Educational Duct Tape Question:  How can I develop engaging instruction?
    • Having the content down is not enough if it’s not engaging
    • Know your learning goals
    • Connect with learners
    • “Engagement is developed...means it has a starting place, grows and is nurtured, etc. Engagement is a work in progress”
    • Greeting students, connecting with students, using names are all big for engagement
    • Adding pop culture references into things like a “problem of the day”
    • Using those pop culture references as backgrounds in Google Slides 
    • Learn about student interests with a survey (Google Forms, etc.) - “attack their interests”
    • Adding students names into problems
    • Hooks, reveals, challenges, brainteasers, puzzles, prodigygame.com
    • Ditch Summit - Esther Park - talked about interaction - student-to-student, student-to-teacher, student-to-class, teacher-to-teacher
    • Collaborative spaces - Jamboard, Google Docs, graphic organizers or drag-and-drop activities in Google Slides, Padlet, Whiteboard.chat, Whiteboard.fi, Microsoft Teams whiteboard
    • "Become the master of your tool… it’s only time to move on when you’ve mastered it." - David Carradine, Kung Fu
    • "Digital gorge"
    • Pear Deck
    • Engaging Instruction = attracts and maintains attention, often means students are actively involved and a part of it (engaged in it)
    • Three different types of student engagement: emotional, behavioral, and cognitive -  (Classcraft, Jenny Fulton)
  • Celebration of the Adjacent Possible
    • Question - Adrienne Hudson
    • Edulastic
      • Great Data!!!
      • standards-aligned questions
      • Standardized test prep
      • Edulastic is great for item-analysis, mastery-based grading or standards-based grading, identifying students who need support, creating student mastery profiles that can be useful in parent-teacher conferences, and even breaking down assessment data based on a variety of factors or subgroups.
      • ScratchPad
      • Question Types include: Drag-and-drop, Diagram-labeling, multiple select questions, sets of multiple choice questions in a table
      • questions with images, videos or audio
      • Math tools include: Coordinate plane, Line plots, Fractions, Math formatting, Fraction diagrams
      • Paid features: Rubrics, built-in read-aloud feature, Desmos calculator, Snapscore, Co-authoring & collaboration, Improved data
    • Poll Everywhere
      • Flip phone origins!
      • Question types include: multiple choice, word cloud, Q&A with upvoting & downvoting, clickable images (click on a section of an image to indicate their answer), open ended, Surveys, short answer, select on a map
      • Launch from PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote, or Poll Everywhere’s site.
      • Students can respond within any mobile or web browser, using a mobile app or with text messaging.
      • Asynchronous option
      • Competitions - multiple-choice games are a lot like Kahoot or Quizizz
      • Paid - Show live results to participants, better reports
    • Mentimeter
      • Free Version gives you Unlimited audience size, presentations, and content slides, but up to 2 question slides and up to 5 quiz slides per presentation. Presentations are public.
      • Interactive presentations can include videos and images, polls, data, opinions
      • great for with smart phones
      • Question Slides include: Word clouds, Multiple choice, Fun Quiz competitions, Q&A (with upvote), Ranking questions, Image options, Open-ended, Scales questions, 2 by 2 grid, 100 point questions
      • Mentimote remote is pretty cool
      • Can put Surveys and forms in presentation
    • Apple Podcasts Review from guisee
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