Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Great Opportunity for community partnership

I'd love to see schools partner with Otway to help prep the site and the community to host the Canada Winter Games. I wonder what kind of projects could come out of this.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Philosophy and Pedagogy

IDEO’s Ten Tips For Creating a 21st–Century Classroom Experience | Metropolis Magazine

I've been thinking about teaching philosophy and pedagogy lately, and this article echos many of the characteristics of 21st century education I value personally: learned centered classrooms; focusing on skills and outcomes that are relevant to our students and our society; seeking student engagement and creating learning opportunities to allow students to get engaged; allowing the learning process to be unique to the learner; using formative assessment to shape the learning process; and allowing creative expression of learning.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Curriculum conundrum

One of the question's I keep coming back to in considering the change afoot in education is: how do we find balance between "the curriculum" and "21st century curriculum"?

This question will require ongoing assessment in years to come as education programs change and evolve in keeping with our revolving culture and society. Many aspects of a 21st Century curriculum, I believe, need to be addressed directly.

At the back of my Math class I have posters for each of the skills we "learn" in Math: skills like creativity and problem solving, mathematical reasoning, estimation and mental mathematics, using technology, making connections... and there are more. So I ask - shouldn't these be front of the room skills? Shouldn't we spent more time worrying about these skills and less time worrying about exactly how many questions a student just got correct or incorrect?

The continuum of sharing information

As I reflect on the goals of 21st Century Learning I think one of the challenges facing teachers is determining which methods of  presenting information are most effective in any given context. At one end of the teacher-learner-technology continuum is a teacher presentation of information, somewhere in the middle we see teachers presenting information with technology, and as we continue we find teachers encouraging and enabling student access to information through technology; on the cuttin edge we find students sharing and communicating information with technology. This edge although cutting seems new enough that it can be the least comfortable.

I believe there are many other classroom trends that are correlated to this continuum. At one end we find teachers burdened by a focus on management, at the other we find teachers enjoying setting up opportunities to motivate students. At one end we view students as recipients of information, at the other the are owners of information.

A major challenge with the continuum seems to be pinpointing where the best learning is occurring. I think all educators will agree they've had days where quality learning has occurred at all points on the continuum.
One more question that comes to my mind is what will the continuum look like when today's Kindergartners hit High School, and will they be ready? Will we?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Information Literacy

I've commented before, that I believe literacy and numeracy are the foundational abilities we want our students to graduate with. The BC Teacher-Librarians Association recently published a document entitled "Points of Inquiry: A Framework For Information Literacy and The 21st Century Learner" in which they address some of the issues facing our learners today, and suggest a framework with which to better prepare today's 21st Century learner.

I love their Points of Inquiry Model shown below in which all aspects of the inquiry process are connected, but not necessarily in a linear progression. The document provides great goals and strategies with which to engage students in every part of the process.

I also really appreciate the comment that "educators recognize that there is pedagogical importance in 
hooking students into searching for ideas and explanations that create both meaning and deeper knowledge". I think this is underscores the importance of the inquiry/ exploration/ problem based process.