Technology opens the door, but it’s the support and encouragement we find in authentic learning communities that connects us. Commitment is hard. Giving up outdated but comfortable ways of doing our work is hard. We all need encouragement to stay on course. Many of us are finding that support online.
As we return to the classroom in January weâ€™re refreshed, renewed, and rarinâ€™ to go, right? If youâ€™ve been putting off shifting your classroom due to time constraints, fear, or confusion about what â€œshiftingâ€ is, now is the time to take that first step forward. In the five full months that remain (in most of North America, at least), commit yourself to one of these steps each month and youâ€™ll be on your way.
“One can readily understand the value of communication between individuals within a school building, but the sharing of goals and vision among all stakeholders within the entire school community can only truly happen through the use of social media. What a great way to market and spread the passion of teaching and learning that is unique to your learning community!” says Catholic educator and IT leader Sister Geralyn Schmidt. For school leaders in need of social media help, she recommends Communicating & Connecting with Social Media from Solution Tree.
This Easy Reference Index highlights posts 66-92 and continues our engaging mix of voices: classroom teachers, school-based leaders, district visionaries and other educators who support the deep learning practices (for students and professional educators) advocated in Powerful Learning Practice communities. Every post here has some relationship to “the Shift” — the necessary transformation of the education enterprise represented by new technologies, the Internet and the capacity for educators and students to become “connected” learners.
The more I move into 21st century tools and teaching practices, the harder time I have with our current grading system. The more opportunity I give students to work collaboratively, experiment, and pursue their passions, the harder it is to assign grades to this kind of learning and growth. Our standard â€œletter gradeâ€ system does not encourage learning. It does not encourage students to challenge themselves. It does not encourage creativity or innovation. It encourages memorization, competition, and discovering the easiest path to an A. Does this seem right?
Last week I received this question in email: “Do we have any model schools in Norway that could inspire ministers of education and help them promote the use of ICT in their own countries? The examples given are expected to be ‘world class’.” My answer is, regretfully, no.Although Norway has world class equipment, both hardware and software, the way we use what we have is not world class. Traditional classrooms with traditional teachers and students are the norm. But I accept the challenge to create this model in my school.