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Thursday, September 16, 2010

What is ALoU and How Can it Be Used in a Judaic Studies Blended Learning Classroom? Part One

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices, and demonstrate how these best practices can be applied in the real (i.e. physical) and virtual (online) classroom for both teaching and teacher training, The combination of face to face instruction in a physical setting and online learning is called blended learning. In this section of the blog we will describe how the internet can serve as a supplemental resource for instruction and the mentoring of pre-service and in-service Jewish educators. In this post we will discuss how the critical thinking tool, ALoU, can be used in a Judaic Studies blended learning classroom. This is the first part of a two-part post.

Assumption: The teacher or mentor teacher has a interactive white board (i.e. SMART Board, Promethean, etc.), a Tablet PC (also called a Slate or Blade), a computer presenter or computer with internet access attached to an LCD projector in the classroom. It would be ideal if students or mentees had access to their own laptop computers as well.

Note: Although this lesson plan idea is designed for the Judaic Studies classroom, it can be also be used for training pre-service and in-service Jewish educators for professional or staff development. It is our hope that Jewish educators around the globe will form an online community of practice, a CoP, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession, to enhance the delivery of instruction and training of Jewish educators.

Note: Any of these collaborative writing web 2.0 tools can be used with this lesson plan idea.

What is ALoU?

ALoU is a critical thinking tool for problem solving. It invites learners to systematically analyze any option for problem solving by reflecting on its (1) advantages (A; (2) its limitations (L) and how to overcome (o) those limitations and (3) its unique (U) features or assets.

For elaboration on ALou and other creative and critical thinking tools read the books of Dr. Treffinger and his associates.

According to Bob McCulloch’s website < retrieved August 14, 2010> ALoU is a tool which provides a constructive way to analyze the strengths, challenges, unique aspects and future potential of an option.

In particular ALoU offers these outcomes:

  • A balanced and fair assessment of any option
  • A way to refine, develop and strengthen possible options
  • A method to thoroughly explore one or more promising options
  • A method to keep a group focused on the positives and potential advantages of any option

How can ALoU be used in a Judaic Studies blended learning classroom?

As a reminder, a blended classroom is one that combines the face-to face physical and the online or virtual classroom.

Here are some suggested steps a teacher or mentor can implement to show Jewish students/mentees how to use ALoU for critical thinking in problem solving.

Step One: The teacher/mentor explains ALoU.

Step Two: The teacher/mentor places students into learning pairs, triads or quads.

In the next post we will share the second part of this lesson plan idea on how to empower students/mentees to use ALoU in a Judaic Studies blended learning classroom.

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