Here is what I learned from these different educators:
Brian Crosby started off his year by taking a survey which opened his eyes to the lack of background or world knowledge and schema that his students came with. This limits their understanding and learning capabilities. Through blogging and hands on learning activities (like the crushing can air pressure experiment or the hot air balloon event) the students not only build background knowledge that will help them to succeed on 'standardized tests' because now they have the background knowledge, but also through blogging they write about their experiences and become the teachers, recording the data and observations and making it into memories that last and are authentic learning experiences.
The students also used and created Wiki-pages, they used Flicker pages to store pictures that they took throughout their learning experiences, they incorporated cross curricular experiences by writing as if they were the balloon going on this trip, etc. This teacher uses free online software to enhance their projects. It's pretty incredible. :)
When the students see the hits that they are getting on their blogs, it encourages them to write and blog more. I loved how the students from elsewhere would write in things like, "We want to do the can crushing experiment, but our teacher doesn't know how." So, these students practiced and then presented via Skype to these other classrooms around the world and showed/taught them how. Teaching is the most powerful way to learn, and so they were 'shining' as well as reviewing the material and thus learning it better; owning it (not just spitting out memorized facts to soon be forgotten).
How amazing was it that he connected with the student with Leukemia?! She wasn't just a name on the roll, but an active member of the class, made possible through technology and through the willingness to make it happen by the teacher and class. How beautiful! Praise God for teachers like Brian Crosby!
Paul Andersen showed "blended learning" in the classroom. Flipped classrooms with the learning cycle inspired him, and he has shared that with us. I like that he is inspired to 'remix' and try new things, and is encouraging us to do the same. He reviewed the learning experience "the blended learning cycle" for science. It begins with a great question. The question is the hook, that gets them interested and invested. Then the students go to investigation and inquiry. Then there will be a video (which frees the teacher up to pull students). Next there is elaboration, and explanations that go deeper. Then review, where the teacher meets individually or in small groups and the teacher asks questions and grasps whether students understand the material or not. If the teacher feels that they get it, then they can quiz. If the summary quiz doesn't go well, they can go back.
I like that he said that the data should go into a shared spreadsheet. How cool for the students to see and participate in! I also like how he emphasized probing questions and having the students explain to show mastery in understanding.
Mark Church had students leading discussions as a group, working together, and formatting their own topic statements or questions to summarize their learning. It was nice to see the quality discussions taking place in the classroom.
Sam Pane discussed building comics, building "Super Digital Citizens" where their super hero steps in to help out someone who would not be using safe/responsible choices with digital citizenship before they could make that mistake. How awesome! ALL these students were engaged! What a cool way to build in language arts standards with technology. Then, the gallery walk was a great way to have an authentic audience, to be an authentic audience, and to critique and revamp their work.
Students will be faced with online activities that they will have to choose to act or not act in. If we don't take the time to teach them how, we aren't preparing them for that potentially scary reality. This is a super fun way to teach digital safety and responsibility. What a cool lesson! I immediately shared the link with my principal because it is just so great!
Dean Shareski shared a video about PBL. This just reinforced what I've already come to appreciate about PBL. It is powerful, engaging, and successful. The learning is student led and lasts. It was neat to see the team teaching for history, writing, and information technology with the three teachers working together to accomplish this deeper learning.
Roosevelt Elem.'s PBL video also reinforced the importance of PBL. The time is necessary to make a great project, but it is well worth the time spent because the learning is authentic, lasting, in-depth, integrated instruction, it takes real-world problems and the students research, the kids create projects as they learn, and it is not just a teacher talking, rather it is a student solving real world problems and engaging in discussions together. It shows understanding in an applicable way. Through PBL presentations, public speaking, discussions, and decision making happens at a young age. It prepares them to succeed as adults.
This was a great assignment. I appreciated the selected videos because it affirmed the quality teaching I strive to do already, while stretching me with new ideas and ways to incorporate technology and learning as well.