In an earlier blog entry, Tech Incorporated: 5 Transformations for Classrooms, I explored 5 transformations that I would like to see happen in classrooms today.
To revisit those transformations briefly, they included the following:
- Problem-based Learning, or at worst, Project-based Learning. Read More about PBL | Visit Professional Learning Site
- Collaboration: The hallmark of today’s technology-embedded classrooms must be increased communication opportunities, as well as collaboration…it’s about creating a multimedia anthology of digital stories to be read, viewed, listened to across the wide global spectrum. Read more about 3 Steps to Leverage Technology
- Lifelong Electronic Portfolios: Creating lifelong ePortfolios will enable students, parents, and teachers greater insight into what we learn, how we learn and what impact that has on us as human beings.
Find out more: ePortfolios | Picture Portfolios | Holly Clark’s Post on Digital Portfolios
- Empower the Previously Impossible or Hopelessly Difficult: Technology should allow us to learn in ways previously impossible. Communication and Collaboration fall into this, too. Gathering and analyzing data via GoogleSheets with students groups across the Nation is pretty incredible.
- Amplify Student Voices: Powerful learning can come when we hear our own voice in the world…we are on a world stage which can transform our lives in an instant for good or ill.
But reflecting on these 5 transformations, I didn’t really share a vision for scaffolding teachers and students to move in this direction. So, while I’m not sure this diagram accomplishes that goal, I decided to draft out what I think matters for using technology in the classroom.
Taking advantage of the whiteboard I have, I explored my thinking a bit further:
I imagined a truncated pyramid, which I suppose could have a vignette for each of the sections above pictured on each side…the top would have the overview shown above. Of course, did I mention I flunked art in kindergarten and geometry isn’t my strongest subject? So, I ended up with what you see above.
Here’s the text of each section:
- 4 Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking – Systemic adoption of these approaches and technologies to facilitate the 4 Cs for 80% of all teaching, learning and leading opportunities.
- Blended Learning for Self and Students – This includes these components:
- Enhanced flipped classroom plus assessment
- Structuring classroom time and activities to reflect inquiry learning
- Engaging in interactive, online creatively-focused activities (e.g. writing and publishing, parallel problem-solving, data analysis with others at a distance, PBL).
- TechTools: Any that make this possible.
- Sharing for Self and Students:
- Make lessons available online
- Create differentiated lessons/activities available
- Enable collaboration and feedback
- Showcase student work and publish “finished work” online
- TechTools: Google Classroom, GoogleSites, Screencasting, GoogleSlides, Multimedia, YouTube
- Productivity and Information Management Strategies
- Organizing oneself online
- Managing information from various sources of origin (content curation for self and others)
- TechTools: GoogleApps, GoogleDrive, Google+, Hangout
Another part of this conversation that often comes up is, What are the non-negotiables for educators? While we acknowledge the power of people to “opt-in,” there also have to be standards that provide the necessary support. I don’t believe–and maybe I’m wrong, so don’t be afraid to tell me so–that we can just let anyone do whatever they want with the idea that no one does anything. At minimum, our expectations have to encourage and support people aspiring for greater.
While it would be easy to structure non-negotiables around technology skills, I thought it might be better to do it this way:
- Organize yourself with digital tools.
- Communicate and collaborate with technology.
- Contribute to learning and sharing networks online for self and students.
- Share your learning with others [hmm, this may be redundant]
- Empower and enable others to do the same.
In reflecting on these 5 “non-negotiables,” I can’t help but think back over the years and what ideas inform these points:
In regards to Organize yourself with digital tools, this reminds me of how hard it was early on to manage all the digital content streaming towards us every second of the day. If you don’t know how to organize yourself digitally, much in the same way we do with paper-n-pencil resources (imagine sorting junk mail in your mailbox…you can do it one at a time or you can do it the way the U.S. Post Office sorts envelopes at their facilities into the appropriate mailboxes). We need new models for “sorting data and information” into the appropriate boxes…or we lose it and it never influences our thinking and efforts.
That’s why information problem-solving–that is, learning to solve information problems–is so important. It’s not just about FINDING information, it’s also about using it to solve real life problems and challenges we encounter each day.
When reflecting on Communicating and Collaborating with technology, I see the need to move beyond face to face communications and collaborations. That is, those communications that we are a part of as being walking, talking human beings limited by time and space. Technology explodes our physical boundaries and enables to speak, write to and with others in ways that just aren’t possible without it. If we don’t learn to take advantage of that, then, well, we aren’t doing it right. For educators, it would be neat to also address social media tools, but we are also talking about group to group, teacher to teacher, teacher to group kinds of interactions…think of online literature circles as one possible example. I also think of Vicki Davis & Julie Lindsay’s Flat Classroom Projects.
The final point–empowering and enabling others to do the same–speaks to me as a way for educators to not become power-hungry, control-freaks that restrict learning. Instead, their focus is on learning for the purpose of empowering others–their students, their colleagues, everyone they interact with. For me, that is the best aspect of being an educator.
Note: Mark your calendars! I’ll hope you join Drs. Wilson and Alaniz for a discussion of collegial coaching for technology integration on May 3rd. Check back here–http://mguhlin.org–for this free webinar!