When we read about engaging students in the classroom using technology and social media, authors often leave us with the impression that this work will flow gentle as a stream. When talking about motivation and learning in school, grit is most often left out of the conversation. Yet Dan Pink tells us the best predictor of success is grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long term goals. When we found the right authentic project, my 9th grade English learners showed they had the grit to write a 200pp collaborative book!
Public blogging, says teacher Ann Michaelsen, has proven to be the best way for her Norwegian high school students to sharpen their English writing skills. “When I do something everyone can see,” says one student, “I make it as perfect as I can.” Assessment data: Eleven of her students are finalists for the 2012 EduBlog award for student blogging.
After spending 3 days with the world’s technology elite in education at ISTE 2012, it is clear to me. It is time to change! It’s not about the technology but what you can accomplish with it in your classrooms and schools. It is about knowing the right people to follow and it is about connecting. Most of all, it’s about showing your students what they can accomplish and guiding them. It really is about expanding horizons!
After accessing the Internet for the first time during a high-stakes exam, one Norway student wrote: “I felt more secure on my facts and it made it so much easier for me to write my paper. I hope that in the future it will be normal to use the internet during the exam because you can support your arguments with facts you find from reliable sources. The future is technology, and we should be able to use what we can to prove what we are able to do!”
Students sit in the test-taking room, with full access to computers and wireless connections. As they work on national exams, they can be seen accessing the internet from time to time. Are the results from this testing going to be corrupted because these test-takers are not isolated from global information resources? Cheating — or high-tech cheating, as it is called today — what is that exactly? And is it really a problem? Do our old-school definitions of cheating need rethinking?