Teaching Strategies for Underachievers

Pause to Reflect…

Sometimes in the classroom we wonder why students are not engaged; we may think the students are unable to do the work; we may simplify the ideas again. But this post shares another possibility: the lesson is too shallow, or the student is a perfectionist, or… other factors.

What can teachers do to engage the underachievers? Read the post by “Global #gtchat” to learn strategies for teaching underachievers.

Play to Learn…

I’ve found two posts today that will consume much time as I learn more strategies on Questioning (http://cybraryman.com/questioning.html) and more strategies and information about underachievers in this reblogged post.

Questioning engages students in the lesson and the content, which could work well with the strategies in this post about underachievers. As you consider either of these, which did you find most helpful? What else could we consider?

whatelse_logo-scaled500

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT

Special thanks to Dr. Linda Silverman and the Gifted Development Center @GiftedDevCenter for sharing the article, “Strategies for Teaching Underachievers” (pdf) which I drew from for the chat! A full transcript may be found here.

In answer to our first question, “What characterizes an underachiever?”; replies included that “underachievers tend to have underdeveloped sequencing skills & high spatial abilities”, their “obstinance often masks their inability to do the work rather than unwillingness”, those with “high spatial strengths have a sophisticated sense of humor & understand complex relations & systems” and they “can become a problem in mainstream classes. More likely to be referred for behaviour/LD”.

The discussion then turned to “Why do students underachieve?” Krissy Venosdale @venspired said that, ” Work presented to them is often not “deep” enough; shallow work becomes mundane; kids check out.” Susanne @Susannewith5 added, “boredom, perfectionism scaring them from WANTING to perform, a lack of…

View original post 146 more words

The Other 21st Century Skills


Pause 2 Reflect:

The information above is from Jackie Gerstein. She has gathered an amazing set of resources related to what education should be — educate — from the Latin educere — to draw out / lead.  Educators draw out the best of students and lead them towards the possibilites those strengths will offer in a lifelong quest of discovery, learning, and gratifying work. Please follow Jackie on Twitter to keep up to date on other educational issues.

 

Play to Learn:

Please read and review her post, reblogged here for your convenience. Please visit Jackie’s post and share with as many educators (and politicians) as you can; it is that important. I plan to implement many of these ideas, some of which relate to the theories of William Glasser and Haim Ginott. Be sure to download the free graphic from Gallup about strengths-based educational focus (as opposed to a weakness focus). – “the path to winning again in education.”

Learn from the wisdom of Jackie Gerstein


 

User Generated Education

skills

Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination   http://www.tonywagner.com/7-survival-skills

Today I viewed a slideshow created by Gallup entitled, The Economics of Human Development: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Here are some slides from this presentation.

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This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global…

View original post 1,155 more words

Digital Literacies: Education #etmooc

livelearningconnectedceb12-001-scaled1000Pause to Reflect…

If you are connected to and participating in a personal learning network, then you understand the culture of today’s connected and public world. Perhaps you have created lessons and projects using Google Docs, a Wiki, or Twitter to collaborate with peers you have never met ( here and here and here ). Perhaps your students have collaborated with other students they will never meet, but have developed a common project together, creating a shared space. ( here and here  and here).

What does that mean?

It means you understand the potential of the participatory culture, as explained in Henry Jenkins White Paper: Digital LearningConfronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture Media Education for the 21stCentury.

It means you understand that our youth today are already joining together in communities online, creating and communicating to solve the problems within those communities. And because they are young, these engaged youth of today may need guidance in analyzing the validity of their discoveries (transparency), in knowing protocols that enhance their social endeavors (ethics), and in providing spaces so all youth can learn and participate (equity and participation).

And it means you have moved well beyond the teaching of discrete skills. As an umbrella of digital literacies includes your skills curriculum, yet students have choice in research and question-creating– and have opportunities to expand their work to collaborate with students in other communities. Your umbrella of literacies encourages and models for them how to strengthen their own personal learning networks.

You see the need to move to this, from Henry Jenkins’s Paper:

“If it were possible to define generally the mission of education, it could be said that its fundamental purpose is to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, [Creative] and economic life.”
— New London Group (2000, p. 9)

Page 5

All students actively engage in ways that produce, share, collaborate, and curate relevant content that enhances the communites, real and virtual, in which they participate.

Consider also, these excerpts:

“Fostering such social skills and cultural competencies requires a more systemic approach to media education in the United States. Everyone involved in preparing young people to go out into the world has contributions to make in helping students acquire the skills they need to become full participants in our society. Schools, afterschool programs, and parents have distinctive roles to play as they do what they can in their own spaces to encourage and nurture these skills.”

Page 4

“Participatory culture is emerging as the culture absorbs and responds to the explosion of new media technologies that make it possible for average consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content in powerful new ways.A focus on expanding access to new technologies carries us only so far if we do not also foster the skills and cultural knowledge necessary to deploy those tools toward our own ends.”

Page 8

“Blau’s report celebrates a world in which everyone has access to the means of creative expression and the networks supporting artistic distribution.The Pew study (Lenhardt & Madden, 2005) suggests something more: young people who create and circulate their own media are more likely to respect the intellectual property rights of others because they feel a greater stake in the cultural economy. Both reports suggest we are moving away from a world in which some produce and many consume media, toward one in which everyone has a more active stake in the culture that is produced.”

Page 10

“We must integrate these new knowledge cultures into our schools, not only through group  work but also through long-distance collaborations across different learning communities.  Students should discover what it is like to contribute their own expertise to a process that  involves many intelligences, a process they encounter readily in their participation in fan discussion lists or blogging. Indeed, this disparate collaboration may be the most radical element of  new literacies: they enable collaboration and knowledge-sharing with large-scale communities  that may never personally interact. Schools are currently still training autonomous problemsolvers, whereas as students enter the workplace, they are increasingly being asked to work in  teams, drawing on different sets of expertise, and collaborating to solve problems.”

Page 21

Keeping these in mind while listening to Howard Rheingold‘s #etmooc presentation, I pulled out these ideas:

  1. Keep up with the literacies, not the technology
  2. Develop an understanding of social capital – in the community: “it’s more important that people learn through me.”
  3. Focus attention — be aware of and focus one’s own attention.
  4. Apply skills to empower and enhance them  — once students learn to read (by grade three), why continue teaching “reading?” — but rather use and develop the skill while learning.

And in a related webinar from Classroom Live 2.0, I linked from Alex Dunn’s iPad information to this excellent “Inclusioneers” imperative:

…we need to acknowledge that no two students are alike and that changes need to be made to existing learning environments to reach and teach every student; “barriers to learning are not, in fact, inherent in the capacities of learners, but instead arise in learners’ interactions with inflexible educational materials and methods.  (CAST Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning, Preface p. iv).  http://inclusioneers.com/

Play to Learn…

Equity in Access and Participation

Since students are already collaborating and creating online, those students are learning the ways through the web’s processes, using whatever technology supports their endeavors. So the technology is not the point, but rather the tool or the process. The point is the social collaboration and community, a chance to participate and be heard in that community and in a democracy. Since I teach in a school with a high poverty rate, it is imperative that my students have access to the opportunities to participate as online citizens; we must develop equity in access and participation so their future opportunities are as open and available as those who have all the resources available to them.

Transparency in Perspectives

Because youth are forming ideas, absorbing information, and may not consider perspectives and motives, curricular considerations must include development of skills in analyzing validity and relevance in the discoveries students find online. If we help them to see through the motives and biases, to search through to relevant and valid information, and to develop their own strategies for doing so, we create a transparency envelope that will enhance their and our future discourse and problem-solving. As we develop curriculum, we allow student choice and provide guidance in detection of validity and relevance.

Ethics as Digital Citizens

As students move to more collaboration and creation together, we have the opportunity to teach, and they have the chance to practice in their projects with each other and with others in their online network, the very essence of civil discourse. I love how my students are learning to suggest alternative ideas to their collaborators with a simple phrase, “I wonder if…” It’s not easy to truly collaborate in person, let alone online, and yet these are the skills needed for today’s workforce and for community solutions. Teams and global connections occur often, and even in small businesses, connections to other communities and agencies demand teamwork and collaboration. Our curriculum must not only work with differentiating for the individual, but also for encouraging the group collaborative skills needed to create team projects; this requires of us the social capacity of cooperation and considerate dialogue.

Literacies as a Continuum; Skills as Foundations

Have you ever wondered how we became so skills-based? I’m wondering if , in reading for example, we began to study more deeply how good readers read. Through experts, in developing dissertations, we learned the complex processes and strategies that good readers employ. Somehow that knowledge, which helps us guide readers, became required skills to teach and test. And yet, to become good readers, a learner must read: read for a purpose (entertainment, research, opinions) and read to learn. Now, we teach reading skills through eighth grade and what do we have? Low Test Scores. What if, once students learned the essence of decoding, we let them read for their own reasons and suggested strategies when they needed them? What if the test were the ability to use reading — not do the skill — but to use reading as one of the strategies to learn and solve problems?

The usable skills needed are more universal– communicate, collaborate, solve, create, revise. The extend from simple dialogue and expression through listening and receptive comprehension. They are the literacies of mentioned by many, including Howard Rheingold’s list: attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness, critical consumption. It is these that need our curricular focus. The foundation skills, the reading, writing, research skills,  develop in the doing of research and problem-solving. As teachers, we differentiate — personalize — as students need the foundation skill while applying the needed skills of thinking, communicating, collaborating, solving, creating, revising during their choice of projects. The test is the process and product of their project solution, not the discrete skills.

An example of a school that does not test, but does expect demonstration of the literacies is the Science Leadership Academy. I had the honor of listening to students explain their day, their work, their goals, and their successes and struggles. The students articulated these clearly with grace and through examples from their portfolios. They certainly could focus their attention, set and evaluate their personal goals, participate as a team and an individual, and collaborate to solve the tasks. They could evaluate the successes and state the needed improvements. They did more than “explain with evidence the main idea of the topic;” they developed solutions and evaluated the results.

Four years ago I wrote this:

“The word “education” derives from the Latin “educere — lead out.” Education should lead students to find themselves, to strengthen what they do well, to discover hidden talents, and to learn from others who use their talents well so that students, too, become productive, creative citizens. Students don’t need to know everything, and they will learn what they need to know — when it’s needed to learn about themselves or to learn how things work as they create and interact in learning quests of which they have chosen the focus and in which the standards provide background, guidance, and focus.”

And suggested this:

How would educators do that? The standards provide the harbor, a reference point in content and process; the educators and students decide the direction of their journey into the river, planning the places and prospects that contain the current and forge the flow of learning, creating their own ports of explorations and expertise to which others connect. These ports are personal docks displaying each student’s possibilities and proficiencies — a lifelong legacy of learning. Moor to the dock to discover the scope of the scholarship and the compass of the course; a test isn’t required. I think classrooms would be more joyful, inclusive, and active places if we help and connect people in their process of developing their possibilities; classrooms would be places where students WANT to go — to augment and evince their odyssey. Wouldn’t that be something?

Do you think we have finally reached the point where this is possible? That the digital literacies of creation and fluency, participation and collaboration, provide the personal ports of entry and in the doing, they recieve guidance to become expert in process, content, and social diplomacy? Are we willing to be the constellations from which students learn to guide their own education?

Cross-posted at What Else Edublogs

Posterous: Move to WordPress.com

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 12.36.56 PM

Pause to reflect…

Posterous will close down on April 30th. Freebies change.

What do you do with the work you have loved to share?

Move to WordPress.com.

Follow these directions (link) for how to import your Posterous blog to WordPress.com

If you have a domain name for your blog, you will need to purchase an upgrade packet for $18. Just follow the directions as you create your and import your new blog at WordPress. WordPress explains Domain Names here and explains how to map your the Domain Name you already own to WordPress here.

Play to Learn…

Nerve wrecking, I know.

Backup your Posterous. Download it. Unzip it and you will see a “wordpress” file to upload when asked during the transition process. And here are a few tips that will save you some pain:

movetipsposterous.001

 

I read and re-read; finally, I just created the new blog into which I would import my posterous blog.

When I started my new blog, I needed to change the name. Be prepared for that. As I created the new blog, I checked the box for “I have my own domain name,” and followed the directions, adding the package I needed when asked.

As indicated in the tips image above, I was able to easily add my pages and links without a problem with those strategies.

AUDIO AND VIDEO TIPS: If you have audio, the audio does not import — save those files. For video, WordPress will import, but you will need to add a Video Package for adding more.

So, it’s not difficult, thanks to the easy Import feature in Tools in WordPress.

Just remember the tips on audio, video, pages and sidebar information and links.

It works!

Connected Learners: Visions

Pause to Reflect…

Livelearningconnectedceb12

In the Connected Educator’s Book Club, for Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s The Connected Educator, we are discussing our personal and shared visions of connected learners. We discussed these questions:

???What are our guiding principles for how we should operate and work together?
???Why do we exist?
???What do we want to create?
???What should school look like to support the needs of today’s learners?

We created our personal visions with images and words that reflected our personalities, which you can view here. To answer those questions, I created the image above and a poem to gather elements of a connected learner together:

A Vision as a Connected Learner

Guided 

by collegial acceptance and respect 

in a transparent dialogue 

of continual learning, 

we educators discover 

with our students 

how to live, 

always learning. 

 

Always learning, 

living learning, 

we create 

personalized understandings 

and globally connected collaboratives, 

and through these, we pave the paths 

to personal, productive, and peaceful futures. 

 

Always learning,

living learning,

schools provide 

a meeting point, 

a guide, 

a way forward 

from a place we are 

to the place we dream 

in face-to-face, 

connected, 

and virtual spaces,

conversing,

creating,

communicating,

contributing,

considering,

cooperating,

collaborating,

curating,

with access by all 

to the ideas, tools, and conversations 

that are also ongoing 

in the connected points 

of the global school

to live learning.

 

Livelearningpath

 

Play to Learn…

So my goal is to continue sharing and connecting, with my PLN and students to grow and learn together, living learning as we 

 

converse with each other for ideas

create demonstrations of our ideas together and independently

communicate the ideas clearly

contribute to the ideas of others

consider others’ and our ideas to 

cooperate towards a goal or

collaborate to solve an issue or create a service or product, then

curate our efforts for others to consider.

 

These authentic choices live in learning, more than the standards, and create digital and real citizens for our future.

 

What is your vision?


Photo Credits:

Credits: Images Flickr CC by teach.eagle

Media_httpfarm9static_nucmd

 

I want to do it all… and remind me…

Pause to Reflect…

My Friend Joy Kirr, 7th grade LA teacher from Illinois, wants to do it all — learn all the time and apply that learning in the classroom to inspire and encourage her students. Read what she says here:

Our Genius Hour: I want to do it all…:

‘via Blog this’

I agree; I want my students to live learning… not just love learning, but “live learning.”  It reminds me of a quote my students chose a few years ago as their motto:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Learnliveforeversre

This quote was attributed to Gandhi, but he did not actually say it; others have had similar views. (see here). Whoever started it, it is a great way to live.  I want my students and my family to “live learning.”

So, I want to do it all…

I want to learn all I can to share with my students and family so that they may do the same, adding positive words and actions to our world, which is why I say, “Go boldly, and scatter seeds of kindness.”

I want my students and family to know about the people and things that have changed the world for the better, and to add to those resources so that they too may create to change the world to be better.

I want my students and family to share, to collaborate, to invite, to consider, and also to find time for the quiet reflection that helps put the world into perspective: Live and let live. I am small, but I can make a difference in the world around me.

 

Play to Learn…

I need to remind myself to take one step at a time, and to remember this:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely…” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am not perfect, but I can live learning…

How about you? What do you want to do? And what do you want to remind yourself?

And thanks @JoyKirr for reminding me…


Note: this post will be cross-blogged at What Else, Ask What Else,  Sheri42, and What Else 2 Learn

Digital Literacy for literacy today and onward…

SchoolnonameEaglebench

Pause to Reflect…

 

Digital Literacy: It’s now.

As soon as a child can reach, the choice is clear: the iPad has changed the world. 

Digital Literacy: It’s Today.

Joe and His Non-NetBook

Click to view the entire source video:

Joe and his non-netbook (an excerpt):

 

  • Joe

“I can’t double click on the image for more information. I can’t find the System Preferences to enlarge the small text.”

  • Expectations

Joe is frustrated because he knows a better way to access the information relevant to his learning. 

It’s not just middle school students. 

A one-year-old knows that “a magazine is an iPad that does not work.”  

See the source video:

The remix: 

 

Magazinedoesnotworkbaby

Digital Literacy: It’s now.

Look in your pocket or a person in the room. Listen in the room. Wherever you go, you see and hear it: we have  instant access to information and people. We are a connected world.

Digital Literacy: It’s Search and Connect.

How fast can you find information on Google? How valid and accurate is the information? How relevant is the information to your needs? Do you Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Are you connected to people around the world with similar interests? Do you collaborate with these people? If you don’t, you aren’t “literate” by today’s terms.

Source: Lucy Gray Presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/elemenous/search-at-isummit

Lucydigitaldivide1

Digital Literacy: It’s now.

If we have the tool, do we have the knowledge to be sophisticated and serious users of information? Do we  have the knowledge to be creative and critical authors of relevant and important information that helps not only ourselves, but others? Are we digital citizens?

Digital Literacy: It’s Research and Create.

Do you know how to apply a “digital alert?” Do you follow RSS feeds? Do you understand Creative Commons? Do you gather and analyze information, consider its import, collaborate with others, and remix to share to make a point, make a change, or make a difference? Do you engage as a digital citizen? If you don’t, you’re not literate.

Source: Lucy Gray Presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/elemenous/search-at-isummit

Lucydigitaldivide2

Digital Literacy: Traditional concurrent with the future.

Why not stay the same? Reading and Writing with paper and pen?

Have we ever stopped progress?

Think about It: Source:

 

Digital Literacy: Consider. Act. Connect.

Consider:

The costs of digital exclusion are rising … Offline Americans are missing out on education opportunities, health care opportunities, and, yes, job opportunities..

SOURCE: PC WORLD 2012-07-16 18:50:00

 

Connecting all Am
ericans and teaching them digital skills is critical to reducing unemployment … There is growing evidence of a skills mismatch in America..

SOURCE: PC WORLD 2012-07-16 18:50:00

 

We have a case to make, I think, for valuing the immeasurable over that which can be easily measured, and that the powerful role that schools can play now is not delivering that narrow curriculum (which is now in a million places) but in developing the skills and dispositions or the “opportunity to participate in civic and deliberative discussions” which, at the end of the day, is kinda hard to machine score.

SOURCE: Will Richardson http://willrichardson.com/post/27223512371/valuing-the-immeasurable 

 

In every great struggle, there comes a tipping point, that critical moment when an infusion of resources – people, effort and assets – is necessary to prevail … For the school district, we believe that tipping point is now..

SOURCE:: ACTION NEWS 6 ABC 2012-07-17 19:57:00

 

Play to Learn…

 

Digital Literacy for literacy today and onward… as literate, digital citizens.

5194377377_0e31f647b6_b

Source: Flickr Creative Commons by by mikefisher821

 

Eaglebench

Act:

What opportunities do we want for our students?

How will we connect their world to ours?

 

Connect:

One example: Personal Persuasive Project: science and language arts with student choice incorporating Google Apps for Education.


 


ePub: Digital Literacy 4 Us by Sheri Edwards  Download and Open in iBooks

Creative Commons 3.0

 

Note:

This post

-an ePub on iPads-

was my presentation

for the school board

on the importance of digital literacy

P2PU: A Reflection on Digital Literacy

P2puimage

Pause to reflect…

 

Peer 2 Peer University: Making Writing and Literacy Learning Connections is a reflective group I have joined to become a better teacher of digital literacies.

 

P2PU | Making Writing and Literacy Learning Connections | July 12: Writing in the “Real” World

 

 

This group of educators has been discussing Digital Literacy in terms of a transition of the teaching and learning of reading and writing in today’s classrooms.

 

I highlighted in Diigo the words from our second task and considered why they resonate as powerful possibilities.

 

1. Goals

 

“collaboration, shared writing, community building, and relevant and clear communication”
 
These ideas we have discussed as important to digital literacies, and are goals on which we can continually improve both our process and product. When we embark into digital literacies, we have the opportunity to build a better world, a world where diverse voices are heard and recognized, where they can come together in an online space and build a community of learners and citizens to solve problems anywhere. We could.

 

These fourth grade students grew into a community that provided lessons within their school and without:

 

Fourth Grade Service Learning Project:  http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/366


2. Purpose

“help students to understand the ways in which the choices they make regarding when, how, and why they use writing to communicate to particular audiences can have a profound social impact”

 

When we communicate and collaborate, when we work together, we build a community. What we think, say, and write impacts ourselves, our communities. Our purpose is to help students find a voice, join voices, and act with those voices to impact their world — choosing the most effective words and presentation to convey that voice, their purpose. Using audio, sound, text, images, video, diagrams, interactives, and more, students constantly consider TAP: topic, audience, and purpose. We’ve just expanded the repertoire of choices in “how” we share; critical thinking and planning in creative ways will be the norm, if we help students understand their choices in “digital writing” (multi-media) and in reading those choices by others. We guide them to see the impacts of media on their lives and how their media can impact the lives of others.  Now more than ever, we help students “touch the future” and build that better world.

 

These students show how that power of choice through critical and creative revisions of their vision do just that.

 

Literacy in our Lives:  http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/2783

 

3. Impacts

“student choice, online responsibility and ethics, social justice, and real world change through communication”

 

By expanding the choices in how students read and write, we encourage more engagement, and therefore more learning. The internet is filled with questionable content as well as the enormous wealth of helpful information. Through our classrooms with more choice and engagement, we promote the online responsibility and ethics of good citizens and encourage students to work for social justice. These are real world issues students can now become the powerful voice of change.

 

The example below transformed a traditional unit on Shakespeare into a message of understanding and clarification of identity that transcended their own classroom and reached out to build that understanding for others.

 

Redefining Romeo and Juliet: Reclaiming the “Ghetto”:  http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/2248

 


Play to Learn…

 

4. Implications

“teaching and learning practices and writing in the real world”

“use Digital Is to help focus, enrich, and complicate our interest in authentic writing/writing in the real world”

 

Do you see how projects such build a local and global community with reciprocation of sharing? Do you see how  students and teachers applied these skills: creative and critical thinking with reading, writing, and producing strategies?

 

Do you see the need to find the ways to build the foundation in pedagogy, curriculum, and infrastructure to implement projects?

 

How do we start?

 

A good example that also started with the traditional history curriculum, but built a community of help and history is:

 

Students Doing History with Voicethread Technology:  http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/415

 

Now more than ever, digital literacy bridges the schools and the “real world.”

 

What projects have you considered or implemented that also demonstrate the need for more projects like this?

 

How about joining the discussion at P2PU  and Digital Is ?

 

Digitalispic

 

 

Education: Shadows of Society

Oilshadows

Pause to reflect…

I wonder if you sense this, that perhaps education ripples as a shadow of society, and now is a target of false criticisms because of faulty expectations that prevent its possibilities and opportunities.

First of all, in this age of “accountabalism” (Phil Schlechty), EL by ASCD), I’m amazed teachers still strive to ponder the possibilities of our teaching profession. This constant testing forces teaching to tests and limits learning. But, teachers of today, who came to the profession because they care about each student rather than each score, do consider their impact and their improvement. They look to the future and frame their own learning to better the the learning of their students. 

So, Paula White wrote one of the best posts pondering 21st Century education in an effort to clarify needed changes: Education: the Past, The Present, and the Future. She had read  Rob Mancabelli‘s post Three New Pillars of 21st Century Learningin which Rob wrote:

The textbook, the lecturer and the classroom are three pillars of modern-day schooling that date back hundreds of years. Each was invented to solve a problem. The textbook was invented because information was scarce, the lecturer because teachers were few and the classroom because learning was local. These enduring icons persist into the Internet age, shaping our view of learning and driving the popularity of their digital grandchildren, things like iPad “textbooks” and the Kahn Academy “lectures.”

Paula noted the dichotomy existing in the education continuum:

“Past: research and recite

Present: research and present

Future: research and do”

These she translated into teacher roles:

“Past: Sage on the Stage

Present: Guide on the Side 

Future: More Experienced Learning Peer Who is Near?”

What a thoughtful explanation.

Next, Paula wrote another post, Education: the Past, The Present, and the Future 2, again quoting Rob Mancabelli on the pillars that support education:

“Pillar #1: “I’m only one of my students’ teachers, but I’m the most important because I teach them to connect to all the others.” Implication area: Instruction

Pillar #2: “My students should learn from me how to learn without me.” Implication area: Curriculum

Pillar #3: “My students’ knowledge lies not only in their minds but in their networks.” Implication area: Assessment”

Paula thinks those pillars (above) are actually the assumptions, and proceeds to suggest these pillars to support instruction, curriculum, and assessment:

Pillar 1–Instruction

The Pillar is actually Learning how to learn; teachers have got to move from thinking of teaching to helping students learn. 

in Pillar 2–Curriculum

I think the Pillar is actually Connecting-relationships, both online and off; connections between what you know, what you need to know and what you want to know.

and in Pillar 3, Assessment, the Pillar is actually Doing–using what you know and what you can learn from the Internet, your network and local and global resources to mix, remix, create content and do something that adds value to our world.”

Paula’s and Rob’s ideas present a timeline of sorts that matches education trends that meet the needs of students and society. The focus of their discussion is mostly on learning, which is the goal of education, to lead to learning. 

Our current emphasis on assessment changes that focus from learning to teaching, while claiming to test learning. Teachers are focused on requirements to be taught rather than on the needs of students in their local community. We are losing our goal of education, to lead to learning. We have moved from the reality of human interaction and relationships into a closed system, stamping individuals (students or teachers) as certified or not, relative of course, to outside requirements. 

And yet educators like Paula and Rob continue to remind us of the reality of society – of the learning realities of the communities around our schools. They have suggested the pillars that support that learning. Assessment is included, but that assessment is more than a test, it is to “do something that adds value to our world.” And that brings the focus back to learning. The student’s project demonstrates learning.

Play to Learn…

Paula and Rob are two of thousands of educators struggling to regain the power of education to transform the lives of our people, especially our children. I am in awe of the work of the people in my personal learning network, and in this instance, attempt to wrap my mind around the ideas and play with them for my own understanding.

It’s the focus on a timeline of learning that inspires me:

In a simple dichotomy, these learning strategies persist through the needs of society:

Past: Research and Recite — an agrarian and factory society

Present: Research and Remix— an information rich society

Future: Research and Refresh— a global, diverse, connected society

 

The pillars that support this societal timeline include:

 

Past— to research and recite needs support through the textbook, lecturer, and classroom.

 

So the curriculum, instruction, and assessment refer to:

Curriculum – Textbook

Instruction – Lecture

Assessment – Recite

 

Present— to research and remix needs the sup
port through internet connection, search and analysis coach, and a connection platform (online or actual space).

 

So the curriculum, instruction, and assessment refer to:

Curriculum – Internet — primary and secondary resources; connections to experts and peers

Instruction – Coach — how to learn

Assessment – Remix — new representation, a transformation of understanding

 

Future: to research and refresh needs support through internet collaboration, debate facilitation, and an action organization.

 

Curriculum – Discussion and collaboration on the internet with global experts, peers, primary and secondary resources of issues and problems

Instruction – Facilitate resources and collaboration of debates for solutions

Assessment – Refresh: Fresh solutions presented and decided in an organizational platform populated with the voice of students

We are transitioning among past, present, and future. Students, if not in school, then on their own, remix their ideas into YouTube videos and Facebook chats. A TEDx Youth Day shared many ideas by young people. Students, facilitated by teachers, have started to move to future pillars and actions by participating in Kiva solutions , Youth Voices ideas, and service learning ( Media Saves Beaches- video below).

Indeed, platforms are beginning to spring up like this Platform for Good

But will educators and educational institutions be allowed the freedom to guide students to learning within the needs of their local community, and learn through those needs?

So, what do you think? Are your schools struggling with accountabalism? What has worked in your school to engage students in learning that matters? What should we, as educators and community members, do to encourage engaged and relevant learning? How do we overcome the negativity towards education in current vogue? How do we move out of the shadows and cause ripples of change in education and in the learning we and students really want and need in today’s society?

 

 

 


More Resources:

A film by Nic Askew. More at Soul Biographies.

Video from KarmaTube

The Flipped Classroom and Tinkering: Authentic, Relevant, Applied learning and resources.

Photo: Sheri Edwards, recreated as oil painting with BeFunky.com

Thanks to my PLN friend, Tracy Watanabe, whose post on service learning popped up in my search, leading to the Media Saves Beach video. 🙂

Let them read, please…

Readplease

Pause to Reflect…

What does the reading classroom in your school look like? Are bookcases filled with books? Are baskets of books set around the room? Are book talks occuring? Do kids talk about books? Do kids share their books?

In my classroom on Friday, a first occurred. One student turned to another and said, “You should get this book and read it with me. It’s really good.”

Imagine that. An impromptu bookclub starting right in the reading classroom. How did that happen?

Students in my classroom read. They read their own texts — texts they have chosen: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, magazines (hunting, motorcycles), etc. Everyday they have at least ten minutes of time to read, and it’s the “I’m done” activity for the school. They take their books to every class, just in class they say, “I’m done.”

It was a struggle at first. They would come each week with a different book with barely even starting the last one. They’d pretend to read. So, at first, I asked them to write to prompts like “What happened in your story today?” “How is the character like someone you know?” “What part do you like in your book today?” 

So, most of the year, students have had twenty minutes of choice reading three days of the week, with at least 10 minutes on the other two days.  They maintain a daily reading log of title/pages read and a booklog for finished books. On some days, they respond to prompts based on our reading lessons. Some days, but not all. 

I wanted kids to read, to read to learn the joy of reading, to read to find connections to themselves in the choices they make.

Probably half of my students had never read a book on their own. Now, all of them have read at least one, many have read five or more. And they’re recommending books to each other. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a favorite. Hunger Games tops the list for the older students. Some now have genre preferences: realistic fiction, nonfiction history, nonfiction science, sports stories, graphic novels. That has never happened before either.

And some students now read science books in preparation for their choice in science investigations– without a suggestion, and well in advance of the project.

Kids choosing books.Kids recommending books to other kids. Kids starting their own bookclubs.

Play to Learn…

So what about those pacing calendars, objective-based lessons, pull-out interventions, and endless tests?

Something more important is happening in my classroom. Students choose to read. They ask to read. And now, some are choosing to read and share together, and they are choosing to read for class before a project starts.

Isn’t it time,

we added time,

to just let them read.

Please.