New tools are making it easier to customize learning for every student. Playlists, projects, and portfolios support big blocks, maker spaces, and flex schools. One thing I appreciate about the Christensen Institute definition of blended learning is that it stresses student agency by requiring "student control over time, place, path, and/or pace."
The culmination of my quest for more powerful learning grounded in theory and research came when recently I conducted an experiment in pushing constructionism into the digital age.
Constructionism is based on two types of construction. First, it asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experience in the world. People don’t get ideas; they make them. This aspect of construction comes from the constructivist theory of knowledge development by Jean Piaget. To Piaget’s concept, Papert added another type of construction, arguing that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.
Imagine my surprise and joy when I realized that I had arrived at constructionism prior to knowing that such a theory even existed. I believe that thousands of other educators are unknowingly working within the constructionist paradigm as well. Although many within the Maker movement are aware that it has it’s roots in constructionism, the movement is gaining impressive momentum without the majority of Makers realizing that there is a strong theoretical foundation behind their work.
After I came to understand this connection between my practices and the supporting theoretical framework I was better able to focus and refine my practice. Even more importantly, I felt more confident and powerful in forging ahead with further experiments in the learning situations I design for my learners.
As younger and younger children recognize and use electronic devices as sources of information and entertainment, what is the impact on their literacy skills? Largely a positive one, according to a study in the January edition of SAGE Open.
Renee Stewart's insight:
“spatial and temporal synchrony” of children looking, listening, and touching while reading may be the “sweet spot”
I think that these are the right answers for the goal of all education, with or without technological integration. We don't teach kids to use a hammer so they can bash things, it is so that they can integrate it as a tool to be used purposefully to achieve a greater goal e.g. the building of a house. In the process they develop hand-eye coordination, muscle control, restraint and safety-awareness. Digital tools - Analog tools, all valuable, all have their place within the context of broader learning. Our goal is to help students learn to match and the best tools for the task and then support them as they acquire both the tool specific skills and the broader educational goal.
"Learning is a lifelong process. It is also an ongoing experience in which we get to discover new and inspiring things about our world. Some argue that with maturity comes mindful and conscious learning but regardless of age variable, thinking about learning from a metacognitive perspective (thinking about how we learn what we learn) does definitely improve the way we learn.
In the visual below created by Create Innovate Explore, Rachel dissected the metathinking levels of studying and provided some of the tips on how to hone in one's study skills. I invite you to have a look and share with your students."
I am not completely sure about BOYD, it could be very difficult for schools to resource IT support personnel that can cover the possible breadth of devices. Also I think this is even more intimidating for the classroom teacher struggling with IT integration. Perhaps with small devices like smartphones it would be more manageable than with laptops.
Really resonated though with the call for the focus to be on learning, technology to be an embedded in its use, a possibility always there but only one of the options. I think we will have achieved this when our students no longer show higher levels of excitement when lessons involve technology; when assignment choices mean as many students choose analog tools as digital tools for both the path of learning and for showcasing.
Technology in education gets plenty of hype, but let's not forget the importance of teaching and learning, says Pamela Wright
So where do I stand as an educator, as a leader in education? The centre point of my passion is a philosophy that I instil into my staff, into the school and into every school I support. It is the child – first and foremost.
Teachers don't simply teach concepts and skills. Any new technology can do that.
Good teachers inspire our young people to be lifelong learners, creating a culture of independent enquiry with their enthusiasm and passion. I know this because I see it every day. Good teachers have the skills to know exactly how to get the best out of each and every young person in their care.
"Doing the same thing that we have always done is not going to make any us any more creative or innovative, but according to the “Creativity Research Journal” (as referenced in Red Thread Thinking), there are some things that we could do daily that will actually make us more creative."
"Literacy, roughly put, is the ability to read and write. Implied in those two skills is the ability to think critically. Otherwise, reading and writing are simply skills–processes to move words around, and anyone that’s ever read and written well knows that’s not true.
Absolute Literacy, though, is that idea of reading, writing, and thinking, but with the added burden of understanding what’s worth reading, writing, and thinking about–an idea increasingly relevant in an era of social media where a 15-second video can receive two hundred million views, and some of the most important ideas in recorded human history elicit an “LOL” reaction from students."
In the middle of October, we invited educators to tell us about the "apps, games, and websites that are helping to tranform their classrooms this year." We asked that you submit your responses in the form of Field Notes and we received more than...
Plotagon is a tool that lets anyone create an animated movie directly from a written screenplay. Write your story, choose actors, environments and music. Press play and your movie is done. It's that simple.
Plotagon is completely free! It is in a beta stage, but you can start using it right now. No ads, no crap.
>Plotagon application for Mac or PC (system requirements).
>Comes with 5 characters and 6 environments.
>Export your movies and share them with the world.
>Expand with characters and environments from the built-in store.
"The idea of combining great teachers with individualized learning platforms, leveraging technology is what blended learning is all about. In the newest installment of the DLN Smart Series videos, we hear from teachers, administrators and edtech specialists who have made the leap and fully believe that blended digital learning truly makes school better for all students."