Day 58 (of 184) tools vs toys
Today we did some building of ‘a common language’ in one of our classrooms today. For years educators within learning communities would spend time building ‘common languages’ or familiar words, that could be used and referred to as part of a lexicon that all members of a learning community can understand.
Often it is used in core academics: many reading, writing, and numeracy ‘programs’ have common terms. Even when edition works there are desires to ‘all speak the same language’ so that a circles word means the same thing in kindergarten as it does in grade 5.
At our school we are working on ways to build a common language on the use of tools. Our learning community has introduced a wide variety of self regulation tools (widgets fidgets and chewlery) through the introduction of a ‘model’ self regulation room. A classroom that has so many strategies and ideas and ways to self regulate that at first it was (awkwardly) very distracting to our learners (who wants to test an try out all of the things at once.
Likewise we have been gradually introducing tablets and mobile technological devices to replace the desktop based devices previously used in our learning community. And with our recent addition of wifi, the devices have gained popularity…
So in the case of introducing both devices into our learning community, we have had to introduce a common language: is it a tool or a toy.
If the device is a tool, it is being used as a way to enhance learning. As a toy it is distracting the learner and those around them.
We like tools in our learning community
We like to play with toys in our learning community.
We are working on better identifying when each is being used as what within our learning community – and using common language to help each other out.