Powerful Learning Practice BlogHere you’ll find thoughts on change, learning, 21st Century teaching, and all the latest updates on Powerful Learning Practice and what we’re doing. Dive in.
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.
We’re studying quadratics in my 8th grade class. Even the name can strike fear in the heart of the most competent adult. I didn’t want it to be that way for my math kids. I wrote a good lesson plan and then I let students help me modify it. Essentially, they “taught” me how to teach them better through the interaction and feedback we gave to each other during the learning process. We built the scaffold together.
Why do we have so many students who are frustrated and bored, just waiting to be challenged? We’ve made education about manipulation and hoops instead of inspiring our students to pursue learning that matters to them — learning that can help them make a difference in our communities and the world. By beginning with the Why questions, says teacher Shelley Wright, we can create powerful student-driven learning environments.
All of us who advocate for the learning potential of mobile technologies continue to navigate the hurdles of opening up BYOD devices in the unique context of school. My students and I had an â€œa-haâ€ moment the other day, in terms of digital citizenship and how we really need to think before we post images to the Internet. Or maybe even before we take the picture.
Integrity is a key virtue for todayâ€™s culture, says Sister Geralyn Schmidt, education technology coordinator for the Diocese of Harrisburg (PA). “In todayâ€™s world, each of us who has a digital footprint makes two impressions: one in the real world and one in the virtual world. The words and attitudes that we use in both arenas must match. When we achieve this, we become someone whom others can truly rely upon.”
Is using technology in the classroom a bumpy ride? You bet, says primary teacher Kathy Cassidy, who’s gained a worldwide reputation for her work with tools and apps in the primary classroom. “But we need to begin thinking the way our children do. We use technology not just because it is technology, but because of what it can do. It engages us and helps us to learn.” Teaching is always a journey over rough roads, Cassidy says. But we master what matters for kids.
Science and health lend themselves easily to PBL (passion or project-based learning) in my mind. But I wasnâ€™t sure how I was going to make it all work in a social studies unit about relationships, rules and responsibilities. I want this to be based on what the students are interested in. Yet there really is nothing about the words â€œrelationships,â€ â€œrulesâ€ and â€œresponsibilitiesâ€ that has the ability to inspire passion in most six-year olds. But then I thought about our six Nintendo DS gaming devices.
Blogging has created amazing opportunities for me to share my voice using an asynchronous tool to be transparent about what I am exploring and discovering in regards to learning and how technology can really enhance learning experiences for myself and my students.
Because we are doing inquiry or PBL (passion-based learning) this year, my students have asked more questions than they ever have before in my classroom. Both the students and I are still learning about this process, but I like this shift. The person who asks the questions is in charge of the learning, and I want my grade one kids to be in charge of their own learning.
PBL is a construct made up by human beings — there are lots of variations! And you are entitled to construct your own version within some parameters. Study many of the great resources that are available to you and then create your own working definition and effective PBL practice. And consider our Continua Frame. We like to think with it, rather than dichotomies, simply because things are rarely on or off, black or white, ones or zeroes!