Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How do I keep up in exponential times?

I am often asked by teachers, how can I keep up when things are changing so fast?

My answer is always, “Give it up!”

Allow yourself to be the student from being a co-learner and share the teaching and learning with your students. Kids will always amaze you and they have some great skills that we often overlook or at times afraid to see because of our insecurities or our inability to give up control. Instead of being the sage on the stage, give them an educational provocation or learning invitation that ignites their curiosity. Provide them with the tools (books, technology, other) and have them become inquirers, researchers, problem solvers, presenters, and knowledge sharers.

 How does this look like?

This is the best part because you will have very little to do. You know all those teachers in the staffroom talking about all those cool programs they are using with their students, find out which programs they are using, visit their classrooms while they are using it so you can see the learning in action. You can also do a quick search for some web 2.0 tools that you think your students would like to use.

This is where all the hard work becomes fun, because you are now going to separate your students into groups of three or four and you are going to assign each group a web tool, program or app you want to use. The students are now responsible for researching the software and create a short video, tip sheet, detailed written instructions or any other creative way of describing how the software works.
Once this task is completed the groups are now in charge of teaching the rest of the class on how to use the software. The students will also provide additional resources that they created. A copy of these resources will also be posted in a place where kids and teachers can access the resources.

How do I handle all of this extra work when I have all this curriculum to cover?

I love this question because all of the above activities fit into your curriculum expectations and if they don’t they should. When you look at this activity from a 21st Century perspective, it has the makings of a perfect pedagogical activity.

This activity incorporated the 4Cs of 21st Century pedagogy. Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. The students must engage in communication, through discussion with their peers and then communicate their findings with their peers and teachers.   The students have to Collaborate with other students to research and decode the software in order to develop teaching material. They have to engage in Critical Thinking, in order to find appropriate resources and then decide what they can and cannot use for their work. Finally, the students must think Creatively to produce something that is both engaging and instructional and is useful for the teacher and their peers.

The work is now done. You have access to the tools you would like the students to use. The students are the experts and will solve any issue that arises. You look like the awesome tech teacher in the school and the kids did all the learning.

All of these skills are critical to 21st Century learning as they develop these skills that they will need in order to be successful in both their educational and professional careers.