RM Winter 2016 FLIP

2005). The use of Blendspace may eliminate the need to create large-print copies of the activity because the student has the capability to enlarge the font on his or her screen to be better able to see it. Also, many newer devices have accessibility features that will meet the needs of learners without much advanced preparation required of the teacher. Using Blendspace to create think-tac-toe lessons (see Figures 2 and 3) provides a way for teachers to modernize a classic instructional strategy and provide students with more meaningful, independent learning experiences in social studies.

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Figure 2: Blendspace DOK with Inventions (SC Standard 5-3.1) available at https:// www.blendspace.com/lessons/UtT-nwA_adbjTQ/dok-with-inventions-advancement

Plugged In From think-tac-toe, it is particularly simple to transition to an online format for the same activity using Blendspace (www. blendspace.com), a web-based platform that allows teachers to construct unique lessons with interactive components. Blendspace allows teachers to search, drag, and drop all within one window. The search tool is an embedded YouTube, Google, EduCreations, Flickr (and many more) search, so the options and resources are nearly unlimited. Teachers can also choose to import files from Google Drive or Dropbox, thus easily transforming an unplugged lesson, such as think-tac-toe in Figure 1, into one that combines technology with constructivist experiences. The use of technology to conduct historical inquiry through the examination of primary and secondary sources is an important skill for students to learn, and the use of think- tac-toe can serve as a foundation for this and other similar experiences (Hicks and Swan, 2006). The diverse nature of social studies as a content area also lends itself to the use of Blendspace to create think-tac-toes because they can be used for multiple topics. Additionally, Blendspace is an effective way to incorporate cooperative learning models in an integrated setting, thus addressing the learning needs of students with disabilities in the general education environment (McCoy,

Figure 3: Blendspace Think-Tac-Toe (available from https://www.blendspace. com/lessons/nTRbbapd4Iy4_w/land-bridge-theory-think-tac-toe ) Activating Prior Knowledge Grounded in schema theory, the activation of prior knowledge facilitates comprehension because it encourages the integration of new knowledge with a network of existing experiences. Harris and Hodges (1995) suggest that reading is an active and schema-building process because students are encouraged to ask themselves why facts in a text make sense. The relationship between activating prior knowledge and text comprehension is validated by a number of studies (Amadieu, Van Gog, Paas, Tricot, & Marine, 2009; Chi, de Leeuw, Chiu, & Lavancher, 1994; De Grave, Schmidt, & Boshuizen, 2001; Kostons & van der Werf, 2015; Ozuru, Dempsey, & McNamara, 2009). To answer questions about the text, students must connect prior knowledge with new information, thus constructing meaning from the text. The activities of a) question elaboration, b) generation, and c) answering all work together to activate and use prior knowledge (National Reading Panel, 2000).

Reading Matters | Volume 16 • Winter 2016 | scira.org | 53 |


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