Classrooms, schedules, subjects, maybe homework, too – they’re all man made inventions for the classroom to produce workers – or, as I see it, walls from the Industrial Revolution type thinking that was once relevant to learners and educators. These walls need to be torn down, so that we no longer strive to produce regimented workers, but creators. Sal Khan – everybody knows Khan Academy – did just that.
Students can rebuild these walls into spaces of their choosing. What this, really, means to me is that students can’t be forced to learn anything they’re not interested in, although I guess this has always been the case, even pre -Internet. This notion is even stronger, though, today as learners have access to learn about anything they want whenever they want.
As I try to figure out how to inspire students to rebuild the learning parameters that I’m used to, I should keep in mind key motivators for learners today. One element that could be a key motivator, as cited in Living With New Media, is peer feedback. Learners can mess around and geek out with other people who have the same interests, where the feedback isn’t from an authoritative figure, but from a peer on equal playing level. Peer feedback and comments can be used as much stronger learning tools than red pens from a teacher.
With peer feedback in mind, it’s a good idea to, perhaps, examine just how potent comments and peer feedback can be with learners today.
Also, as an IB educator (my mentor with 16 years of IB experience broke the IB down into these workable elements: question, criteria, real world problem, interdiscplinary), I’m thinking of how Problem Based Learning can fit into this idea. Also, as a librarian, how can I put the power of peer feedback and geeking out – into action. I hope this becomes clearer when we go back to school in August, but for now I see that students need time and space to come together, share, and feedback – digitally and/or physically.
As I’ve studied the first unit in becoming GET certified, I see that the Google Suite offers powerful ways of collaborating, sharing, and presenting in their suite of tools. Opportunities to write, create, analyze, collaborate, etc. It’s all there.
Also, I can see that I can support teachers and students in suggesting tools in collaboration and presentation. It’s easy to suggest tools, though. I’m more interested in bringing problems to students where they can solve together, instinctively using technology as a tool, or looking for help in using the right technology tool, to solve problems together. Again, I’ll have to try in August when school starts because I haven’t tried in the past, really. It’s also important for me to remember that I can learn from the projects of others, too. The wheel need not be reinvented, as many like to say.
In the immediate future, though, now that I’m taking on a new job, I’d like to develop a mission statement for our library. Keeping in mind that I’d like to embed technology effectively, practically, and authentically, I would like to use a collaboration tool that allows for all library stakeholders to have a voice in the process. To get things going, I was thinking about using a padlet to just let everyone share their thoughts on what libraries mean to them, and then go from there. Or could could something be done on Social media over the course of a few weeks or months?
Closing thoughts: Seems like motivated students are getting most of their useful learning outside the classroom, when geeking out with others and growing/learning through peer feedback. Still, however, and perhaps the most important thing I must remember, there are students who are not as motivated, and they really only might be messing around or hanging out. I suppose it might be a good idea to get to know students, and help encourage the ones who geek out to inspire others to do the same. This tells me, students, while at school, need less walls and more time and space to explore together and learn from each other. Students can try and solve things together probably far greater, if I give them more opportunities, time, and space, rather than subjects, classrooms, and desks.
Do you see walls being torn down in your school?