The digital classroom, transforming the way we learn

Our school needs to combine new technology and pedagogy

Changing the way we teach

Today we were featured on National radio. NRK P2 EKKO aired a 20 minute program where the students and I talked about working in the global classroom and how we use the net to connect. It was a fun experience for me because when the reporter did the interviews 2 weeks ago, I did not know what my students had said. Some might consider that a risk, but knowing my students I knew that their answers would be along the same line as mine. It made me very proud to hear what they had to say about writing blogs and connecting online. And how seriously they take their work and how well they do. When working with students you have to realize that what they are capable of most times will surpass your imagination!

Changing the mindset

mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people that is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools.. Source: Wikipedia.

What is the greatest obstacle to changing what goes on in the classroom. In most cases it boils down to what the teachers believe is the right thing to do and sometimes how much they trust their students. In this rapidly changing world the most important output for the students is not what they know today, but if they know how to learn. Do they enjoy learning and exploring, do they know how to find reliable information? Those are the questions we should be asking.

The flipped classrooms

Last week our county invited  us to join a project called the flipped classroom. They feel that an initiative with money might boost the teachers incentive to start using this in our classrooms. We were fortunate to have both Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergman here at our conference in 2011 and I have followed the discussions about the flipped classroom online. Book by Aaron and Jonathan here. Instructional videos for the students to watch, at home or at school makes sense. But it is not what makes real authentic 21st century learning in your classroom. : Real, authentic, student driven, sticky learning can’t be branded. It’s just learning. If we were doing real, authentic, student driven, sticky learning in our classrooms to begin with, why would we have to “flip” them? Quote. Will Richardson.

Why we want to change

Every time I talk about change I will get a comment like this: So, what is the bottom line with regard to student learning? Have you seen any measurable changes in attainment of student learning outcomes as a result of this change? I suspect that if measured using some sort of standardized exam, there would probably not be too much change. Ref: post,  why I gave up Flipped instructions by Shelley Wright. She lists all the reasons why we want to change what goes on in the classroom. And I quote: yes. I think it’s because they’re better at learning, adapting and problem-solving. But for me, that’s not the bottom-line. It’s their engagement and the responsibility they’ve assumed for their learning that really matters.When you shift to student-centred learning, the role of the teacher changes significantly. Most of the time my job was to listen and watch – to figure out when to ask questions of my students so they would think more deeply, and when to let them struggle. It’s completely different than anything I learned when I was a pre-service teacher!

The exams

when writing a test the teachers sits in the back of the room

Every teacher is teaching for the test, and every students is concerned about their grades. Lets not pretend otherwise. We all want our students to excel. It is the emphasis we put on those tests that matter. And right now I’m only talking about my own subject. Yes we do midterms, in fact my students are writing theirs as I type this! We still focus on all our competency goals and doing well at exams. Even so we have plenty of time to connect and learn from others. We still have time to make learning interesting, fun and the same time hard work. And we spend a lot of time talking, discussing and figuring out how to do this together! I try to help them learn to learn and how to reflect on their thinking and learning. We work on developing skills such as using research tools, finding and evaluating sources, and collaborating with peers. By the end of high school they should all be professional 21st century learners. And we did find time to enjoy the radio show today!

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