Recently I was reminded how important it is to be not only a consumer of information, but also a producer of information by sharing my learning. From a recent conference I attended and by following #SOTF17, I learned from other presenters and recognize the power of compiling my key takeaways in order to reflect on the learning and share the content that was presented.
Keynote Speaker: Marc Prensky
The New Paradigm
This speaker reminded me how important it is to continuously move forward with our thinking. He shared that it is important to integrate opportunities, to act on ideas, build relationships, and communicate with others:
Even critical thinking and problem solving rarely leads to success unless they are combined with action, relationships, and communication.
When we give our students opportunities to take action on a topic while working with a team, the need to communicate is going to be an intrinsic and crucial part of the task.
We can do this by having students not just learn but by also supporting them to be more prepared for working with groups and communicating with others. The “New Paradigm” does require some changes in thinking. However, I found the idea of being “empowered to take positive action” is still tightly connected to “empowered to learn.” In this idea, we must be well versed on a topic and learn about it before we are ready to actually take action. This shift, to me, requires not necessarily an entire change, but it provides an opportunity to further our thinking. I believe that the first step is to get our students to be “empowered to learn” then, through this process, they can become “empowered to take positive action.”
One common theme at almost every ed tech conference I have attended is how to “Go Beyond Technology in the Classroom.” This does not mean better apps or better software, it means providing students with opportunities to critically think and be innovative with their technology. How we do this should be individualized for each student and connect to their particular skills and interests while still addressing an academic goal.
Across Marc’s blog, a common theme is “going beyond.” Which is what we should be working to do with our students!
Keynote Speaker: George Couros
Tweeting and Reading
When I saw this slide, I immediately thought how powerful this would be! I realized that if we can make this happen, we can work together as a school to provide individualized lessons for each of our learners! If we each tweeted one thing connected to our current PLC or even one thing a day that we felt was successful, we would learn more about what is happening not just across our grade level, but throughout our school. We would be able to implement ideas from other grade levels to challenge and support the learners in our classrooms! This is truly shifting from a classroom focused teacher to a school focused teacher.
We are fortunate as a school to have a focus on collaboration within our own grade levels and get time each week to actually collaborate with our teams. We also have the ability and resources at hand to make that collaboration global. This can be done by through Twitter and blogs (check out this blog from @gcouros for more information).
“What if every teacher tweeted one thing a day they did in their classroom to a school hashtag and took five minutes a day to read each others’ tweets? What would that do for learning and school culture?”
The part that I appreciate most about this idea is that it is not just about putting the content out there, it is also about consuming it. This quote clearly states that we can Tweet to a shared hashtag and then read each other’s tweets!
We no longer have to search across Google and hunt through millions of ideas or spend hours talking in circles with our teams. Lets work together to build a Professional Learning Network (PLN) and get lots of ideas from other teachers as well as from our own teachers on campus. Using hashtags will help us as we do this and connect us with people who are also passionate about education and may have expert insights into what we are trying to achieve. For a list of education hashtags click here. To read Tweets sent out to our school hashtag, visit #FeasterLearns. To share something to our school hashtag, simply add #FeasterLearns in your Tweet!
By moving forward with our thinking and sharing our successes using #FeasterLearns, we can all work together to build a community of learners dedicated to providing the highest quality education and the most positive opportunities possible.
Relevant blog posts: