Striving for new, not forgetting the old, and opening an ear

It’s almost cliche, at this point, to say we can’t forget about it, but it’s true. Our greatest asset in teaching is the spirit we bring to the job. So, in answering the question have teaching and learning changed with the introduction of new tools, the answer is yes and no. Yes, it has changed, as technology’s presence has rapidly become an establishment in all our lives. No, it has not changed, as person to person, teacher-student interaction is still crucial to learning.

I’m not an expert. Still, I believe the essence of what we do as teachers happens in a school. Students might not remember how and why Macbeth might have been a schizophrenic, but they will remember the joke: Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic and so am I, if told with great spirit. We can inspire great collaboration and creativity with genuine, sincere interactions, as it has been done for thousands of years. Except now we can do it, I suppose, in a variety of different ways (video recording, video chats, etc)

In reflecting on my favorite teacher from high school whom I remember delivering that joke above from a Macbeth unit, I used  Plotagon to make a movie. Teachers can sign for a free membership for a year! Check it out.

Yes, I know it’s cheesie and basic. Hey, I tried something new.

Considering the power of this timeless teacher-student relationship, we still can’t forget the most powerful force driving the world today. The Internet. In the age of information, as some have coined it, there is not a more powerful force than the Internet (phone, tablet, etc) It’s all encompassing – we use it for shopping, reading, socializing, even  for romanticizing. Surely, there’s a place for it in education. And, it’s rightful place is still, oddly, being debated.

I’d like to challenge myself (and you, too, maybe) to use the Internet to not only do old things in old ways, new things in old ways, as Prensky puts in his article, but also, perhaps most importantly and most challenging, to do new things in new ways.

I flirted with podcasting, as reflecting in a new way.

As a result of Prensky’s article and some other readings, I’m led to what I once thought was just a flavor of the month. Differently now, I see great value in the Flipped Classroom. With learning being flipped, it looks like students can drive the structure of things, and I hope it will leave more time for two important things: creativity and reflection (Thanks, @sjohnston for your great share on the power and importance of reflection in your last blog post)

We can set up a google class or something similar to use as a platform for delivering content, using video, audio, whatever. Then in class we can share, reflect, and inspire. With this, we can let students design the way the sharing and reflecting take place, maybe? By putting them in charge, who knows the possibilities, right? Does anyone have experience with this? I’d love to hear about it.

In closing, I’m coming to the conclusion that for anything fantastically new to happen in a new way, I’ll need students to lead the way, right? Perhaps, my greatest strength could simply be an open ear. I think a Flipped approach offers this more than anything else.  With regard to the Internet and teaching and learning, I should be knowledgeable and be ready to share this knowledge, but giving students the lead voice is probably the best way to go. I think I’m gonna try and learn more about it and continue searching.

From AJC1 on Flickr
From AJC1 on Flickr



3 Replies to “Striving for new, not forgetting the old, and opening an ear”

  1. Hi Mike, you make so many valid points here. Has our teaching changed through the introduction of new tools? Should it have changed? Change is a strong word with, dare I say it, some negotiable connotations. Perhaps I’d say that our teaching and learning should have been enhanced or more effective – change just seems so harsh. So has your teaching been enhanced through the use of new tools?
    Allowing students to take the lead in their learning is not just the essence of the flipped classroom but it is at the heart of inquiry learning. Allowing learners to be guided in the classroom, then giving them the power lead and direct the flow of that learning. As my husband favourably terms it “being the guide from the side”. These are all powerful attributes is creating meaning and understanding in our classroom.
    Loving the new exploration in your own construction of meaning through the use of new tools – it is fun to play, especially when it is in the guise of “work”. Keep playing!

    1. Hi Sylvia, thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it.
      To answer the question “has my teaching been enhance through the use of new tools?” The answer, simply, and regretfully, is no. I was either afraid to take risks, or didn’t know about most of the tools out there. Thankfully, I’m here doing this course, and ready to take some risks. With your help, it makes it easier and more fun! Thank you!

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