In my role as tech advocate, I habitually find myself trying to coax established educators to use new tools and incorporate new methodologies. Here are some ways I have found to be successful in this endeavor.
Teacher Kathy Cassidy has used Skype for years to connect her primary-aged students with the world. So when the company offered free group video to educators, she jumped at the chance. Five classrooms and lots of Lucky Charms to count! Find out what happened and read her “lessons learned.”
Blending STEM with “connected classroom” strategies is a powerful learning model, says STEM teaching coach Brian Crosby – provided innovative thinking, teacher autonomy and flexible scheduling are present. These essential components of “going deep” with teaching and learning have been eroded away in the last decade, he says, and will have to be revived.
When Brisbane, Australia experienced floods in 2011, Kathy Cassidy’s connected grade-one students wondered if their seven year old skyping friends were safe. They tweeted them from Canada to find out. Result: meaningful and authentic writing and reading.
Our arts education teachers quietly go about their work, often marginalized to the ‘extras’ or the ‘fluff’ of the school program, writes Canadian teacher educator Brenda Sherry. “And yet, I would argue that they are the PBL experts that we seek!” Sherry describes several attributes of student-centered pedagogy that are common among teachers of drama, music, painting, dance and artistic crafts.
In mid-December, 33 tenth grade students, three teachers, assorted parents, and four guest judges gathered to watch the first ever Constitutional Amendments Film Festival at our school. The film festival was the largest and most complex research-based project of the three we’d done since school began this year. My colleagues and I had committed our students to two and one-half weeks of research, film creation, and film editing.