This is probably the area that I have struggled most with – mainly because I have been chronically running behind throughout the course. I’ve felt that by the time I’ve got onto the whole feedback and discussion cycle, either it’s all been said, or there’;s no one listening anymore!
My new resolution is to pick up this aspect of my learning, and I’m now getting what it means to be part of an online community – something new for me. I did learn a LOT hearing other more experienced people both from our course and who have completed the course talking about it.
So here are my main contributions to other people’s posts (in no particular order)…
My job this year has been to (among a number of other things), to get innovative pedagogy “happening” in my school and help staff make better use of the learning management system we have just utilised. A few weeks ago, i was feeling a little downhearted, like I hadn’t had much traction, but now I’m starting to question a umber of assumptions in my role. Yes, learning needs to be more engaging, and we need to be more innovative and willing to develop more “21st century” learning. However, the other side of the job – to focus on digital technology, I’m now starting to ask a whole lot more questions, and I want to encourage the senior executive and staff too. As you say – “who says?” tech will make learning better? I know teaching students to collaborate more, to be critical and creative thinkers will. teaching them to make their way gainfully through the internet and to be more able to effectively read and critique what they find there.
But there are no longer any assumptions that doing it digitally will be better.
Yes there are some wonderful tools out there. Yes, we can help students engage more creatively and even collaboratively. But I’m taking it much slower than I did, and interrogating everything. Teaching and learning innovation is my job title – great learning is my goal – by whatever means, hifi or lofi!
I was also sent this article by a fellow teacher friend through Facebook. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this course and through my own experiences and those of fellow teachers, it’s that the teacher is more important than ever. At the heart of this article is the assumption that because the knowledge can be found online, then the teacher is useless. This is fuelled by the paradigm that a teacher’s job is about content delivery, rather than designing learning experiences.
If this person has read any of the research they’d see that the role of the teacher and personal relationships are identified as being even more important than before. Yes there’s lots of good stuff on the Internet – mixed in with way too much other stuff. Personal engagement happens through relationships. Our role as content researcher and curator has changed – although it’s not disappeared it’s just changed. Metacognition, literacy (all types) numeracy, extension and support can’t happen outside of an experts knowledge of an individual student. Teaching collaboration, sharing…!
Fundamental principles behind 21st century learning / Education 3.0 or look at Connected Learning – all rely on personal connections guidance and support.
All the people serious about the future of schools emphasise the crucial role of teachers – he just can’t stand up and bore kids stupid about Dickens…! I say that as an English teacher!!
Bit I agree with you in that teachers are not involved in this debate. Having said that, the best researchers such as Fullan, or work coming from bodies such as WISE or Cisco, all see that teacher training in good pedagogy and learning, lies at the heart of any systemic or school transformation
A very thoughtful review – thanks for that. I find makerspaces a very exciting concept, and a number of people at my school are interested in making it happen, but it’s getting the project going that’s always hard – shifting people from interest to commitment!. This book sounds like a great place to start looking at more practical strategies.
I also appreciated your discussion in your conclusion about the importance of the balance between instruction / guidance and opportunities to create. That’s sometimes the harder thing – to help students be disciplined to move beyond just tinkering and into truly creative spaces
I would agree with you in that not a lot of these ideas are “new”. Nevertheless, I love their idea that play is about sense-making and responding to the world. Play is valuable, and not some vague experience, but a structured imaginative process, not just a vague floating “waste of time. Teaching students to “play’ I think starts with teaching the teachers how to play – not many of us get to do that any more. not many of us are brave enough to take risks any more. Yet, like so much of teaching, it’s in the modelling and empathy that we give our students a sense of authenticity to what we are expounding.