All of my first graders’ eyes are glued to the Smartboard in our classroom whenever we take the time to read our blog comments. Their eyes shine as they read or hear a comment that has been written just for them. The fact that someone they care about or someone we will never meet took the time to type a message to their class or to their personal blog has a big impact on them.
They first learned to own the learning, and now I see a second big change in the way my students perceive learning and school. They are willing to experiment with how to organize themselves and to evaluate if it worked or not. Owning the learning AND owning the learning environment are two separate things. I believe having both perceptions in play is essential for students to maximize the learning potential.
A creative, kaleidoscope mind is one that innovates – invents – inspires. It takes what it knows and turns it upside-down, inside-out, and backwards to see what new possibilities and patterns emerge. It will be able to view a problem from many perspectives, and find a solution/design more rigid minds could not. I have coached an Odyssey of the Mind team for five years now, and I’ve seen evidence that creativity is definitely a skill that can (and should) be taught.
Ann Michaelsen offers evidence from her own Norwegian classroom about the learning effects of student blogging and tweeting. You’ll find quotes from the kids, exciting news about the EduBlog Awards, and some excellent tips on using WebNotes and Twitter to quickly review and comment on student blog content.
In my early days of immersion, I’d sit among friends in conversation and find my mind wandering. The desire to switch on my phone and check my networks was intense, almost like a primal need. I found myself connected to the network, and disconnected from long term friends, even family. It seemed that they didn’t understand, they weren’t part of what was in my immediate field of interest. None of them grasped the magnitude of my new discovery.
One of the most important things we can do is teach our students how to use social media wisely, and how social media can be used for social good. In grade 11 English this semester, we’ve chosen to create a social media campaign to raise awareness around modern slavery. It’s not enough for my students to learn about slavery, they need to do something with it, specifically “real world” projects that matter.