To be honest I have been looking forward to this last post as I feel as though I have changed perspectives before and after being a part of this course. Although I had always known I wanted to be a teacher that strays away from the traditional means of simply lecturing students by filling their brains with facts that they are to later “regurgitate” on tests and exams, I honestly never really knew how to do this and where to begin.
This course however, was the first time I really was able to understand how to turn theory into practice. I say this as the incredible teachers discussed in course (such as Aviva Dunsiger http://adunsiger.com/ and Cathy Cassidy http://mscassidysclass.edublogs.org/ ) along with the teachers I have found through my own online exploration, use platforms that I, myself use on a day-to-day basis that I would NEVER think to use as a means of educating students of the 21st century. These incredible educators are using web 2.0 tools like Twitter, Skype and Instagram as a means of allowing their students to connect to the world, reflect on what they know and what they have yet to learn and share their learning experiences with their families, friends and the rest of the world.
The goal of CHYS4P27 is to essentially to teach potential educators on 21st century literacies. Drake, Reid and Kolohon’s (2014) Chapter 6 state that todays children and youth are ALREADY 21st century learners, and we know this through their involvement online, as digital immigrants who have and continue to push societies “assumed truths” that children and youth are vulnerable “blank slates”. Below are links to some outstanding children of all ages, who are using their 21st century literacy skills to better society and challenge such discourses:
Adora Svitak’s Ted talk that child thinking should not be underestimated “Being Called Childish”:
Malala Yousafzai: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
With this Drake, Reid and Kolohon’s (2014) state that as potential teachers we must “embed our powers and beliefs in our practice to shape the new story” (p. 149). It is for this reason that I cannot imagine the course being structured any other way. For some, this was their FIRST experience with blogging and documenting educational experiences online. Through my experience within class, it is evident that some of my peers automatically placed a negative stigma to this, as it was something they had never done before and were skeptical about not receiving straightforward grades the way essays and final exams are structured. Personally my response to this is that we are NEVER going to be able to teach using differentiated and innovative teaching methods, if we cannot simply be open to a creative a different means of partaking in a course, like this one.
Instead of simply preaching the notion of becoming a 21st century teacher who uses innovative methods to try to meet the needs of 21st century students, WE MUST PLACE THIS INTO OUR TEACHING PRACTICE and come out of our comfort zones! For my peers reading this, it is incredible what a change in perspective can do to you as a student and as a potential teacher. I would recommend that you head on over to page 152 of Drake, Reid and Kolohon’s (2014) textbook to learn more about teacher Shelly Wrights from Saskatchewan. Shelly has created a graph that displays her shift in thinking, after changing the way she approached teaching her class from a traditional lecture style class, to innovative educational experiences like blogging (p. 152).
As I explored the Galileo Website and watched Amy Parks Discipline-based Inquiry Learning, I found her experience VERY similar to that of Shelly Wrights. Within the video Amy states that her initial approach to teaching “traditional style, sit and listen methods” left her students disengaged and uninterested. Parks states that it was not until she entered Calgary Science School (now known as the Connect Charter School) that she really made a connection between educating students whilst simultaneously instilling a sense of excitement to their education.After being mentored by the Galileo Education network, Parks used the 8 dimensions of Discipline-based Inquiry learning to…
1) Reflect on her own practice (what has worked vs. what has not)
2) Design worthwhile tasks for her students
3) Stray away from just “fun” activities with no educational value. Instead Parks was on a mission to keep education exciting WHILST ensuring students are partaking in deep and authentic learning opportunities!
This video was the first time I had learnt about the “flow zone”, which in an educational setting involves a student 100% immersed into their work, in which they loose their sense of time and space! A student within this zone, will take his/her work beyond the classroom walls as they relate to, and find genuine meaning to what they are doing. What an incredible term and what an incredible educational experience for a student! Please check out the video of Amy Parks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVhKTMFCgq0
Project Based Learning (PBL) may also be a way to allow your students to learn whilst addressing real-life problems and developing metacognitive and critical thinking skills! Taken from last weeks “online lecture”, this dynamic classroom approach allows students to use their 21st century literacies to produce various work products! One of my favourite PBL examples taken from the Hightechhigh website was “A Hero in My Eyes” by 8th graders at High Tech Middle. This project had students think of an individual who had impacted their lives in a positive way and express this using a visual representation. Students were to interview their hero, create “plans of action”, draw sketches, take pictures and write reflections, to best express who the hero is, and the role this individual had on their life. Check out this incredible and innovative lesson: http://www.hightechhigh.org/unboxed/issue3/cards/3.php
This has been a great course; it has allowed me as daughter, sister, student, digital citizen and as a potential teacher, to use my daily digital resources to better myself and my educational paradigm. I hope to only “go up from here” through continuous exploration of the ways in which I am able to educate and change the lives of my potential students. I will leave you all with a quote taken from Drake, Reid and Kolohon’s (2014).
“Twenty first century educators open their classrooms to the world; they often have a class website open to parents- indeed to anyone” (p. 153).
Drake, S. M., Reid, J. L. & Kolohon, W. (2014). Interweaving curriculum and
assessment: Engaging 21st Century Learners. Toronto, ON: Oxford University