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Teaching Without Words--Using Visual Interactive Games with Informative Feedback

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Started by Patrick Pink 30 May 2013 4:17pm () Replies (3)

 In the video 'Teaching Without Words', Matthew Peterson shares his story about how words were barriers for him when he was at school.  He has created visual interactive games with informative feedback to teach maths and science, word-free.  


  • Roxy Hickman (View all users posts) 30 May 2013 5:37pm ()

    Why did the penguin cross the screen? ... to teach a kid maths (of course!)

    What a powerful message that feedback teaches students more than instructions can.  There are so many opportunities where using technologies provide instant and intuitive feedback, allowing students to problem-solve and make connections through discovery.  

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 30 May 2013 9:57pm ()

    Awesome post Patrick. Last night I had the chance to sit down with a colleague who works in a local primary.

    During the week I had taken some footage of a small group of students in her classroom negotiating counting forwards and backwards in twos.  

    Hidden barriers to learning

    One of the things we focussed on was identifying any barriers to learning that were hidden in the task but had actually nothing to do with the learning.

    In our example, we could see that the use of text was going to be a continual barrier.

    But we also clocked that although the students were busy and seemingly engaged, most of their energy and attention was focussed on the mechanics of the activity (cutting/sticking/manipulating/arranging) not on the actual practice of skip counting.

    So in some ways the activity itself was a barrier to learning because the students spent a lot of time doing stuff that didn't really relate to the thinking about the counting.

    Using the UDL Guidelines 

    Using the UDL Guidelines we crafted some options for the group that would focus more of their attention and time on achieving the goal.

    UDL bodies

    The principle of engagement

    We thought about the interests of the students.

    We mapped the needs and strengths of the students along an informal continuum.

    We noted that one student is really shy, another really gregarious, one loves to speak in front of others, one speaks in a whisper, all like to dance, all are into pink, all like fairies and things that are cute.

    Principle of Representation

    All would be able to independently continue a task that had been modeled to them with simple oral instructions. Text instructions would be a barrier.

    The principle of Action and expression

    We also needed a way for the students to demonstrate their learning that could also be used as evidence at a later stage.

    In the class, there is enough mobile technology for students in this group to have their own device. There is also a teacher aide who could initially provide support first time round. We do not want something that requires intensive prep.

    Activity ideas (initially assisted but leading to independent)

    Our ideas for activities to both practice and/or demonstrate so far include:

    • Show Me so the students can write the numbers and speak them out loud, either afterwards or at the same time,
    • Recording speaking the numbers using iMovie
    • Study Ladder activities focussed on counting back and forth in 2s
    • Filming each other speaking a clapping game that goes up and down in 2s
    The students will be able to select one of three options each time. The students will be able to choose where they work in the classroom.

    Can you help?

    We would love to know what other activities you might use with a group of year 3 students practicing these kinds of skills. Your ideas are very welcome.

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