It is incorrect to assume that all students these days are digital natives. Just because they were born in an age where technology is used frequently does not mean that they are born with advanced technological skills, or even with access to technology. I have seen this first hand when working with students over the last few years. The range of knowledge and skills is expansive, from students who have their own blogs set up to others who have never laid hands on an iPad.
My classroom is set up as a contemporary learning environment where students are encouraged to work at their own level to solve problems. There is continual growth with this setup, with students wanting to achieve higher personal results than they have previously. Students are encouraged to use a range of no tech, low tech and high tech resources, and share their knowledge of these tools in ‘watering holes’ or ‘campfires’. As teachers, we use the six fluencies from the 21st Century Fluency Project to create a range of problem-based tasks that relate to real-world experiences for our students. (See more on my personal blog).
It was interesting to read about preservation of data and think about what we are keeping and how we are preserving it. At present we are using a mix of cloud based tools (Google Classroom, Dropbox, etc), hard drives, which students back up once a week, as well as hard copies of documents. The catholic schools in Western Australia have recently started using SEQTA which is a great tool that encompasses a range of areas. But a lot of training is needed to prepare teachers to use it successfully and, unfortunately, many are only using it to take the roll twice a day.
The use of SEQTA within our schools also raises the question, ‘are we preserving the right information?‘ I feel that the answer is sometimes no. As educators we bring out different strengths in students. I feel that at times certain pieces of information should be left in the past or forgotten so that children have a ‘fresh start’ and can be involved in their learning without prejudices from prior experiences. For example: a child has used their device outside of the classroom and been told off for it. Does this need to be put onto their SEQTA record to follow them for the rest of their schooling? Surely there are more important notes to be taking!
Helen Haste talks about the Five Competencies that young people need in education for the future. She also discusses the concept that 21st Century students are collaborative tool users who need a range of competencies to thrive in an ever-changing environment. I agree with this statement. In 2014 one of my students moved overseas for a semester. This lead me to create a virtual classroom (Google Classroom) where I embedded a range of flipped learning tasks and activities. Having a virtual classroom not only enabled this student to stay up with the work her peers were doing, but was a fantastic lesson on for all students on how to adapt to change. They needed to use a range of new and old tools effectively to complete their tasks successfully.
I know that I am going to be challenged by the content in this subject but I am looking forward to expanding on my personal knowledge so that I am able to better teach my students and peers. I already have so many new ideas that I am looking forward to incorporating into my 21st Century learning environment.
- Trentin, G., (2011). Technology and knowledge flows: the power of networks. Chandos Pub, Oxford.
- Davis, A., & Kappler-Hewitt, K., (2013). Australia’s Campfires, Caves, and Watering Holes. Learning and Leading With Technology. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from https://syncingupwiththeikid.wikispaces.com/file/view/Australia%27s+Campfires,+Caves,+and+Watering+Holes%281%29
- Churches, A., Crockett, L., & Juke, I., (2011) Literacy Is Not Enough: 21st Century Fluencies For The Digital Age. Corwin, Australia.
- Stoerger, S. (2009). The digital melting pot: Bridging the digital native-immigrant divide. First Monday, 14(7). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2474
- EduCause Learning Initiative. (2012). Things You Should Know About Flipped Learning. Retrieved March 10, 2015, fromhttps://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf
- Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushatma, R., Robison, A., and Weigel, M. (2007). Reprint of white paper, “Confronting the Challenges of a Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.” Nordic Journal of Media Literacy.