I have spent many hours with my google reader over the last few weeks reading articles and blog entries that clarify for me the importance of trying to keep up with our changes in our learning landscape. As many of the articles and blogs point out, changes are taking place with our students in this collaboration age whether we embrace it or not.
As I work with each team of teachers planning their upcoming units of inquiry I am encouraging them to look at their plans through the lense of technology.
How can we use technology throughout our units in authentic ways?
After reading about several online collaborative projects I see that many opportunities are out there for our students. The collaboration projects would be motivating for students, develop more cultural awareness and improve their literacy and technology skills. I am anxious to join an online project for the experience and many benefits for myself and the students. The 1001 Tales Project, an elementary writing task that I am interested in provides students opportunities to write their own stories and read and reflect on other students’ stories from different cultures.
I like to provide students with authentic ‘real-life’ learning experiences. I feel the more authentic it is, the more student engagement you have. When students are motivated they buy in and put forth more effort as they see the benefit of working through the task. I have seen Dan Meyer’s Tedx talk before and each time it deeply impacts me. Meyer’s math problems are excellent examples of problems we can give our students to promote critical thinking. I will suggest to our teaching teams (6 teachers at each grade level) that each teacher create some meaningful math problems and then share them with the team so we have a collection of meaningful problems to draw on. Collaborating with other teachers as well as using the web to research collaborate projects can better prepare our students for the future. The Horizon Report states that ,”The ways we design learning experiences must reflect the growing importance of innovation and creativity as professional skills. Innovation and creativity must not be linked only to arts subjects, either; these skills are equally important in scientific inquiry, entrepreneurship and other areas as well.”
Embracing the fact that the learning landscape is changing quickly is a difficult realization. It is hard to change and many teachers are reluctant to do so. I want students to become positive, contributing global citizens and have realized recently the importance of teaching with technology embedded in our day. As the Horizon Report states, “Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed. Increasingly, technology skills are also critical to success in almost every arena, and those who are more facile with technology will advance while those without access or skills will not.”