Matt Hamilton

Ypsilanti, MI

Matt Hamilton
Saline High School
Ypsilanti, MI
How do you use Actively Learn in your classroom?

In-class reading, assigned reading for homework, research, and quizzes.

What problems were you experiencing in your classroom or school prior to adopting Actively Learn? 

Lack of engagement and focus during reading, inability to monitor reading, disconnect between reading and learning.

What solutions did you try to address problems in your school/classroom prior to adopting Actively Learn? 

Reading groups, guided reading in class, close reading activities, note checks.

How has Actively Learn helped improve your students’ learning and/or your teaching? 

Actively Learn has allowed me to shift class time to be much more productive and project-based. Because I can guide and monitor student reading during given time or outside of class, I can better plan to spend class time working on extension activities or experiences that allow students to access deeper and more significant levels of text-based engagement. My students appreciate being able to access the text from anywhere and on any device, and they especially love the questions that guide and help them to self-assess understanding as they read.

How do you use Actively Learn with your students? What type of content do you assign? 

I assign all required reading assignments through Actively Learn, either by accessing catalog texts or by uploading PDFs and Google Docs. I embed questions which guide understanding and give us a place to start discussion in class. I encourage students to use the extra features provided by Actively Learn, like audio and in-text dictionary. I am trying the research project elements for the first time and monitoring student reading and annotations in the articles that they are reading for research.

What advice would you have for teachers who are new to Actively Learn? 

Spend time getting familiar with the tool and everything that is built in. It is possible to simply import what you are currently using (readings and questions) to make it digital, but Actively Learn becomes truly powerful when you tap into the teacher tools and utilize the standards and depth-of-learning levels to drive assessment and organize texts and units. And make sure your instruction follows the shift that Actively Learn begins - keep learning!