Homework Smarter - Not Harder.

Homework Smarter, Not Harder

One of the latest trends in education is the focus on creating high quality homework.   This critical eye on homework can be contributed to many factors such as changing expectations of parents, evolving needs of learners and the increasing availability of technology at home.   An increased focus on mindfulness and reducing student stress is also a driving force in educator self-reflection about the quality and quantity of homework that they assign. Regardless of the cause, one thing is clear.  If as a teacher, you are assigning homework in the same way that you did 5 years ago, it is probably time for a change.

One way innovative approach to changing your homework design is to think of homework as an individual learning experience that reinforces content, enriches content or priming students student to learn new content.  The goal of the design of the homework assignment should be for each students to have an individual and unique learning experience that achieves the purpose of the assignment without falling short or over practicing.  Students should do the homework that they need to do in order to be successful while understanding that everyone’s definition of success is different.

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3 Ways to Immediately Innovate Homework

All three of these purposes for homework can be differentiated for each learner through the use of the ThinkingApp. The examples listed below are just a few ways for teachers to incorporate the ThinkingApp into their homework design. We would love for you to share your ideas about how the ThinkingApp is used in your classroom to design unique homework experiences

Reinforcing Content

  • "In order to promote retention, I want you to review the online resources that I shared in short periods over the course of several days.  Submit a log that shows 10 separate interactions with this material for less than 10 minutes each."

  • “Your behavior log should show that you accessed at least 5 different scholarly websites about the topic we learned today”

  • “Over the duration of this weekend, you should spend 30 minutes writing your self reflective essay.  Use the ThinkingApp to submit a log of your time”

Enriching Content

  • “This week’s unit on magnetic force covered a variety of applications for this physics concept.  Pick one application of magnetic force that interests you and spend 20 minutes learning all that you can online about it.  Submit your log. We will share what was learned tomorrow in class”

  • “Review your online activity from today’s webquest.  Reflect about knowledge gained from the assignment and whether of not that knowledge was gained from trusted online sources”

  • “Spend 10 minutes accessing right wing sites about healthcare reform then 10 minutes accessing left wing sites about health care.  Finally, spend 10 minutes in a google Doc writing about their main differences”

Priming For New Content

  • “For homework, you should access my 13 minute long flipped classroom video to prepare for tomorrow’s class.  Submit a log to show you watched the entire video.”

  • “Tonight for homework you should spend 20 minutes researching the effect World War II had on the American economy.  Submit a log of your activity”

  • “I provided you with a link to two articles with background information about the events that led up to the Battle of Gettysburg.  Read the articles and while doing so use Google to look-up the definitions or information about anything that you do not understand.  Submit a log of your activity. I will use your log of questions to inform my teaching.”

For more information about getting started with the ThinkingApp, please view the Learnics’ ThinkingApp Intro video.