Tuesday, January 13, 2015

EdTech For Mazano's 9 Strategies

It can be overwhelming when you think about all of the educational tools we have to make the learning process more engaging and informative. Here's a list of applications based on Marzano's nine high-yield strategies.

1. Identifying similarities and differences 

It's easy to be drawn to attractive technology that appears to be better than what you already have in your toolbox. The new tool that you choose needs to do something critical that the old tool cannot.

I recommend using highlighting and table tools common in word processing programs. Highlighting notes or reading selections in a few different colors helps the analysis process, as does sorting information into tables.


To make graphic organizers, you can use Google drawing or any basic paint tool that comes standard in almost all PCs or Apple products. 

Sharing the results of your similarities and differences analysis is fun with word clouds. Poll Everywhere has a word cloud presentation setting that my students and I use to prioritize our vocabulary study. We use Poll Everywhere because it receives response from a variety of devices, from text messaging to text entry on PCs. 

2. Summarizing and note taking

In our classroom, my students and I use Google Docs for notes. We have a team of note-takers with different tasks to complete, which can be done all on the same document. 

We also do activities with paper-based materials and bring it together with a table that I make in advance on Docs. The cool thing about using tables is that if each group has a different row or column, every student can be a simultaneous contributor. Throw the doc on the big screen and the discussion is happening in record time. 

If you're taking notes, the summary piece cannot be left out. Depending on the type of summary the students need to complete, try one of the following.

One-Sentence Summaries
  • Padlet works well with Chromebooks and computers, 
  • TodaysMeet works better with smartphones (one-sentence summary), 
  • Poll Everywhere has no character limit and features multiple presentation formats. 
Paragraph Summary
  • Google Docs can be shared multiple ways (e-mail, Drive, Google Classroom).
  • Blogger is a favorite option for summaries that respond to big ideas or essential questions. 
  • VersoApp is the most effective way to engage students in discussion and critical analysis. 

3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition

One of the worst experiences for our students is working on an essay or project without feedback until it's too late. Using the comments tool in Google Docs includes the teacher throughout the learning process.


For those students who choose to not start the assignment with enough time for feedback before the deadline, teachers can reinforce the expectations with reminders that are specific to the amount of effort the student is making (or not). When these reminders do not work, teachers can e-mail a link to parents by completing a few simple steps.

4. Homework and practice 

Let's be honest. Kids don't like homework. Teachers don't like it either. But I think we can all agree that a few minutes on each subject a few times a week makes a significant difference.

Quizlet has been a easy way to provide students with vocabulary and other background building information that they can study and practice. Students like the games and app access, and I like the performance tracking and hours it saves making learning and assessment materials. 


I use the tracking data to help students determine what they need to do before they reassess. It takes away the need for teachers or students to keep track of at least background practice and progress, which I have found is the number one reason students don't do well on an assessment the first time.

5. Nonlinguistic representations 

Drawing to convey ideas is something from which everyone can benefit. Google Drawing is an application within Drive, so we use it for the convenience of sharing, automatic cloud storage, and use of familiar tools since they are mostly the same as Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Whether the activity is made in advance or the students are making their own visual representations, Google Drawing is our first choice because it facilitates using what we make in future activities or projects.


6. Cooperative learning

Googe Drive is your one-stop shop for cooperative learning tools. I've talked a lot about how my students use Google Docs, so it's time for Slides. This application is Google's answer to Power Point. Like Docs and Drawing, students can work on the same presentation and benefit from chat, comment, and research tools, to name a few. 

If my students are doing presentations on Post-Classical empires, each group of three or four can present a different empire, while each student can build the slides for a different world history theme. In about thirty minutes, a class can produce about six presentations and have a lot of content to critique and adjust through commentary tools, blog posts, and group discussion. 

Make sure to have students tag the slides with curriculum references so they get practice relating their work to a goal, which leads us to the first half of the next strategy.

7. Setting objectives and providing feedback  

Google Classroom's primary function is to communicate assignments and announcements to students. Both allow teachers to attach videos, documents, and links from a computer, smartphone, Google Drive, YouTube, or pasting a link.

This is all done on a stream layout that includes communication opportunities from all class members in a space that allows everyone to see the discussion. It's a great place to introduce an objective and give students a chance to ask questions.


Better yet, a more rigorous activity would be to have the students write the objective based on the activities listed. It would certainly be a strong opportunity for discussion that may empower them to take ownership for their learning.

Other feedback opportunities are possible when the students turn in assignments on Classroom. The teacher has all the commenting tools of a Google Doc when that format is turned in (other formats are accepted). But regardless of the format turned in, teachers can provide comments with each assignment along with a grade.

8. Generating and testing hypothesis

Imagine a problem presented to students, hypotheses submitted electronically, and the results anonymously displayed in a automatically generated list that can be viewed by the whole class. Now it's off the to the lab (or library) to conduct the tests.

Although this strategy is often associated with the sciences, it can be used in any content area. For example, writing history essays, like most academic papers, is about positing theories to test against a body of evidence and interpretations that may or may not have been used for support.

These skills start with reading activities that challenge learners to make predictions and find missing voice (the other point of view).


Google Forms works great for this strategy and because it provides anonymity and can be displayed in a spreadsheet, which is where the results are automatically sent. I also like Poll Everywhere for the multiple response options, including SMS (texting) from a non-smartphone.

9. Questions, cues, and advance organizers 

If I need more than the voice God gave me, Google Slides and YouTube are my favorite platforms to present new information. YouTube is something I make for students who were absent or if I need students to review the lesson for homework. If you haven't heard, kids love YouTube, and it's not going away.



Cues are simple. It's the time in the lesson when the teacher tells the students what they will learn. The questions can do the same thing while making inroads to critical thinking. Slides are great for posting the key words and images that support the cues and questioning.

Graphic organizers are the most common for of advance organizer, which is anything that you make for the students that provides shape to the concepts and ideas. A table or chart example can be placed on a slide for easy replication by the students. This saves time making copies and gives students the chance to make alterations to the graphic organizer as needed.

Thank you for reading. I hope to write shorter, more in-depth posts on my own progress with at least four of the high-yield strategies.