Saturday 26 October 2013

Will Richardson "Learning in a Networked World"

On October 25th, 2013, I spent the day listening to Will Richardson speak about “Learning in a Networked World”. The theme of the day was for us to consider how the world is changing and how we can best prepare our students for their futures. And to do this how we as educators can learn, unlearn, and relearn how to teach the youth of this fast-paced, globally networked world.

The following quote has been taken from the flyer advertising this event,A parent of two teen-agers, Will Richardson has been thinking and writing about the intersection of social online learning networks and education for the past 12 years at and in numerous journals, newspapers, and magazines such as Ed Leadership, District Administration, Education Week, New York Times and English Journal. He is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies now offer.”

Will, frustrated with the education his children have been receiving, feels we need to stop wanting the same education for our children as the one we had. This is an amazing time to be a learner! There are so many ways for learners to connect with others, pursue their learning passions, and apply the knowledge that they learn. He likened traditional learning vs. modern learning to delivery vs. discovery. And emphasizes that the key shift to be made is from institutional learning organizations to self-organized learning opportunities.

When we were asked to reflect on the traditional notions of school and what our biggest confusions/questions are right now, the educators at the table that I was sitting at had many. How do we tap students’ curiosity in our schools? What kind of steps do we take to channel their curiosity? How do we address both students who are overly plugged in and those who are “underly” plugged in? How do we teach kids to be learning tech savvy rather than socially tech savvy? What does it mean to be educated these days?

I appreciated reading and reflecting on the NCTE 21st Century Literacies. I have listed below the ones that I would like to focus on developing in myself over then next year.
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purpose
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize, multiple streams of simultaneous information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts

Later in the day the focus shifted more towards the idea of us as educators “being a learner first and teacher second”. Will covered a number or technology tools that could be useful to us as educators. The following are the ones that caught my attention. I’ve had a Twitter account for a while but rarely use it. He helped me understand how Twitter could be used more effectively for professional development. I will definitely look into using Evernote to save articles and notes, rather than saving links in a Word document as I have been doing. I am also going to use Feedly to aggregate news sites, searches, and blogs. Later, as I develop more of an online presence I think Flipboard and IFTTT could be quite useful.

All and all I consider the day well spent. I left feeling inspired and motivated to become more of a networked learner myself! I feel better prepared for the changes that are happening and should be happening in my profession.

Monday 14 October 2013

Engaging the Digital Learner

On October 7th, I attended a Langley School District conference titled "Engaging the Digital Learner" with four other staff members from my school.  The conference basically dealt with issues that would fall under the category of 21st century learning. Since Sandra Averill was involved in the organization of the conference, all video clips and social media involved has been posted on the Here's How Tutorials site. With Sandra we reflected on how our school uses technology and the BC Ministry of Education's Digital Literacy Standards draft. The keynote speaker was Antonio Vendramin, a principal from School District #36. He gave us some great ideas for making learning meaningful to students to keep them engaged. I was glad that he did note that methods don't need to involve technology. Two ideas I personally found quite interesting and that I would like to explore further are Genius Hour and Mystery Skype. The evening was an inspiring engagement that motivated me to get moving on exploring a few things I've been interested in as learning tools.