After finally having the opportunity to bring tablet technology into my school and seeing heir impact on learners of all ages, I am taking some time to reflect on some of my beliefs about education:
10 things I think I think about education
As we pass through the holiday season between Christmas and New Years and ad inundated with Top 10 lists, I thought I would share some of the key thoughts running through my head. Not in any particular order:
10. We are doing a good job teaching, differentiating and reporting on language arts through reading, writing/representing and oral language; yet we still compartmentalize math and have a worksheet-focus when it comes to numeracy. Ugh.
9. My dad used a Mac classic and HyperCard to personalize learning back in the late 80s (with Lillooet having as good a computer lab as any in North America) and 25 years later we/I still have ‘discussions’ over the role of technology to enhance learning.
7. The discussion around ‘single platform’ has been interesting and at times excited (and heated and personal)- the decisions to go ‘single platform’ have led to a regression in innovative practice within schools.
6. Personalizing education has lead to amazing achievement as students find schooling relevant and meaningful. Homework has evolved from worksheets to problem solving, family-and-friends focused project work.
5. Focusing on Reflective practices that include export folios and regular videos documenting monthly achievement has developed community and common language for what is important in my schools. – including a recent attempt to do our school growth plan as a video project.
4. The integration of technology into my schools has led to the use of key AFL (Assessment For Learning) skills of Clear Learning Intentions, Setting Criteria Collaboratively, using Descriptive Feedback, Questioning, using Peer & Self Assessment, and having Ownership of learning. It has also enhanced good Differentiation and the use of Feedback Loops.
3. The use of Gradual Release of Responsibility has been great to model things such as how to create presentations, but I’ve found it also important when building up confidence for failures (either by design or otherwise) and figuring out ‘what to do when you don’t know what to do’. Experimenting together (as I’ve done with programs such as GarageBand) where there is nobody to ‘lead the way’ also creates strong communities of learners where everybody works together to help each other succeed and leaders emerge from the unlikeliest of sources!
2. Games in education are still in their infancy – some have been using a variety of online games for numeracy and language arts practice (great to differentiate basic skills – spelling & computation for example) and to explore – try out minecraft when you have hours to sacrifice.
1. Exploration/ Innovative Practice /Risk Taking is still key in the evolution of education. Cultures of ‘yes’ are much more supportive than a no-first mindset. If for some reason you can’t, be open and honest about why – when all else fails, being open and honest about your education vision is key to building trust as an education leader.
Bonus: always having the best interest of learners at the heart of every decision – and acknowledging that the learners of today are different than those that my dad worked with when he rolled out his Macintosh in front of his learners to inspire his students of what the future of education could be….and how technology can accelerate the learning process!.