Thursday, July 14, 2011

Animation Arts

In our current economic downturn, education's answer is to reduce areas such as the arts, music, and technology yet, it may be the way to keep our students engaged and interested in learning and in school.  We will need to find ways to integrate each of these into our classroom's every day.  All week we have discussed ways to do just that!  The hurdle for some schools may be comments such as "it's one more thing..." or "when will I find the time?"  or the dreaded "ya...but".  In our school, we have an incredible staff that is open minded about ways to increase student learning and will welcome this information.  I'm fortunate.

The RSanimation video by Sir Ken Robinson was so engaging. It presented content in a way that kept my attention and helped me to grasp the information better.  I'm hoping to find a database of school related topics that I can save and share.  This next year as part of our MYP training, I plan to use several of the video's from our class including both of Sir Ken Robinson's videos and know it will springboard our staff into more exploration as a PLC and as an individual.  Interesting...that is what happened to me this week!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The hole in the wall

The power of ONE computer and several open minds...a simplistic experiment with compelling results!

Sugata placed a computer monitor and pad in the side of buildings in the most rural areas of the world.  There was nothing on the side of the building to indicate the purpose of the screen or how to operate it.  It amazes me how curious the children were about the device and how quickly they figured it out.  Even though the children had no knowledge of or experience with computers, they were able to learn how to operate and navigate without issue.  It holds true when children are presented with relevant, engaging tasks learning will occur.

Our focus is changing from teaching to facilitating as we guide our students to become critical thinkers, inquirers, risk takers, etc... in an ever changing world.

How can one argue with what Sugata presented about self organization with children? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2 Reflection

Passionate, enthusiastic and engaging are words to describe Doug Bundy.  Not only did he present information that was practical and necessary for taking back to my building but taught it in a way that kept my interest the entire time.  Some teachers endure it rather than enjoy it...Doug appears to love it!  Thanks.

I recognize how Google's applications can help collaboration and efficiencies in a business or school.  Our building has used Google docs on a small scale and I've seen the power but I had no idea what it was capable of doing. Today, we were exposed to the tip of the iceberg of Google's potential.  I recognize I'm limited in my knowledge of this technology due to my lack of training and exploration.   It appears that Google makes it easy to learn from their training modules...just need to do it!

The article we read threads the message that we can no longer do things the way we have always done them.  This seems to be a common message from each video, article and speaker we have seen thus far in class. The fact that our students are digital learners and as educators (to draw out) we need to embrace this way of learning by changing the way we do things in our schools.  I agree. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 1 Reflection

Today was a relief!  Although, I feel I'm a 3 with my technology knowledge, it's the application that is more difficult.  I suppose that time and exploration is the answer but I still feel "a little behind the 8 ball".  I would like to have the confidence to make presentations using different forms of technology and to know that I can "fix" a situation if something goes wrong. Today, I learned a few more tools to put in my belt that should help.

The Sir Ken Robinson video was timely for the change our school will be making in the next few years.  We have been given the green light by our school board to become a Middle Years Programme (MYP) school.  This is the MS component of the IB system.  The fundamental concepts of MYP include holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication.  When employed with the MYP framework, we should be moving from a classroom to a community system as well as from a linear teaching method to an organic way of learning for our students. 

Although, MYP is perhaps "forcing" us to move in the right direction, I'm glad to have this opportunity and hope our school embraces this moment.  Like my experience in class today, time and exploration will tell.  :)

Learning to change - changing to learn

Interesting that education is ranked last out of 55 sectors when it comes to the use and integration of technology.  Not surprising when you see many classrooms operating on the past and what "I have always done" type of mentality.  The butterfly lesson may be engaging and full of wonderful activities for our children to do but is it helping them to become critical thinkers and collaborators for the future?  Could we change or enhance the butterfly unit using technology to better prepare our students?

The message by Sir Ken Robinson about our schools being linear and not organic is very compelling.  Our schools tend to have an industrial thread about them with students working their way through classes to obtain a diploma or certificate.  Students gain knowledge through scripted content and show evidence of learning with a summative type assessment.  The thought of our schools changing to an organic way of doing things is vital for success in life.  Our students need to become critical thinkers who are open minded, reflective and inquiring about the world around them.  As educators we need to create the conditions for that to happen.