I think this is a dilemma that many professional educators face. Do we get away from all things school-related for the summer? Or should we stay connected to and continue to develop our personal learning networks and nurture our professional growth?
In his summative reflection about an afterschool enrichment program, principal Matt Renwick shares comments from his students and his fellow teaching partner Renee, who agrees that “many of the students did things in this computer club time that blew me away.”
Teachers, schools and districts have a duty to read and observe the Terms of Service associated with popular apps and websites, says school-based technology leader Jennifer Carey. Educators are responsible for assuring the privacy and safety of students, both legally and ethically.
“Without an authentic audience â€“ whether that be global, local community, family, or even oneself â€“ a learnerâ€™s sense of purpose can decrease,” writes Matt Renwick in a final reflection about an afterschool enrichment program exploring passion based learning. “Lacking that ability to connect and grow, our new knowledge is gained within a vacuum, instead of for others to witness.”
When students in Matt Renwick’s afterschool enrichment club shift from a collaborative focus to a competitive drive in Minecraft, it’s time to get out the Lego maker toys and ponder some fresh questions about the relationships among digital games, hands-on projects and curriculum objectives.
The kids in principal Matt Renwick’s afterschool computer club love the time they spend creating (and destroying) things in the virtual world of Minecraft. Can these experiences help students develop a “growth mindset” and essential lifelong skills like effort, persistence, and positive attitude? Renwick is beginning to think so.