Becoming a Role Model

While reading the chapter “Messing Around” in Living and Learning with New Media I always tend to think about myself and my habits in regards to the internet. For unexplainable reasons it annoys me. I feel it shouldn’t be about me. Instead I want to reflect on my teaching practices, my students I’m teaching and how I can improve.

Something changed my thinking: I need to think and reflect about my habits and goals first. Only then I’m more aware of how to be a role model for my students and how to integrate educational technology into my teaching practices.

I never really was hanging out with friends online, except maybe for chatting with friends overseas. Messing around, which means for me tinkering, exploring, searching information, experimenting with pictures and videos and also creating, getting an understanding of technology, Facebook and similar, for sure. Although I never went so far to be within an interest-driven network which is changing now with Coetail and it makes me smile. I wonder whether the name of my blog will change sooner or later.

What are the ways for me/us as (language, primary) teacher to be a role model in the classroom?

  • Openness and curiosity for change.
  • The use of technology devices (Laptop, iPad, smartphones, etc.) during lessons goes without saying, almost naturally. Good to have natural curiosity.
  • The use of software/apps means constant learning by trying, experimenting by myself and together with the students.
  • Using tools like RSS Reader, Twitter etc. to develop myself professionally.
  • Integrating technology into my unit planning to facilitate higher thinking skills and deeper understanding.
  • Inspiring young people to try something new which let them explorer something new to create.

I’m sure there is way more. Please feel free to add. Yes, I want to be a role model for the students I’m teaching. In addition, I also want to inspire other teachers who are on their way like I am and who are inspiring me countless times.

 

Is there anything which doesn’t exist yet?

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy is indeed a good tool to structure, to organize and to reflect on lessons as well as to facilitate deeper understanding. After reading Bloom’s and ICT Tools I found a very nice guideline on Storybird: Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Classroom which is an overview of actions, questions and activities for teaching practices.

Plan 1: I share this with my colleagues and use this guideline for planning and reflecting my lessons more often.

I would have never thought that there are so many more adjustments and adaptions of Bloom’s taxonomy. Several search keys in Google later I found Bloom’s Taxonomy for the iPads which interest me the most at the moment. Here are two examples:

 

It really got me questioning how I chose the iPad Apps for our trial at school. I feel the need to go over that list for the German Department again. So far I tried to classify the apps by Consume – Collaborate – Produce which also goes in the direction of being a contributor.  But Bloom’s taxonomy is such a great tool for the classification as well.

Even more impressive for me the following iPadagogy Wheel. It combines both the steps of Bloom’s revised Taxonomy and the integration of technology and makes it visible.

Plan 2: I’m definitely going to share this with my colleagues as well.

Connectivism and Learning Style

For quite a while I try already to be connected but I have been only a consumer on the Internet. Material for teaching, especially since I work without books, information for personal interest like traveling or cooking, and food for thought for my passion for education – everything was/is there. Always. I’m very thankful for everybody who contributed. THANK YOU. But it was only in one direction …

Since I try to get even more connected – meaning in both or many directions – (Facebook Groups, RSS, Forums, Twitter, Diigo, etc.) I feel so lost in Connectivism (in English / in German) sometimes. Following posts, reading what interests me is too overwhelming. I want to read and learn, but there is just too much out there. The content, the concepts and ideas don’t stick in my mind like I want them to get them connected to prior knowledge and understandings. I check my RSS and after hanging out for a while I ask myself what do I remember.

There might be a solution for this phenomena.

First, we as connected learner need to set priorities. It is okay not too read everything. It is impossible. Let’s choose what we want to know more about.

Second, the awareness of our learning style. Reflecting on my own learning style I realized for me it is not enough to just read an article or watch a video. I need to explain it to somebody (f.e. writing a post). I love to exchange opinions, love to hear other perspectives, love to question and to connect together with other people. Being connected within a network let us find like-minded people. In a conversation we can compare, connect and form our knowledge and our learning.
It also very helpful to write down the main learning. I thought about having a visual diary but unfortunately I’m not a good drawer and illustrator at all. So I’m writing somewhere.

So far my own reflections on being a Connected Learner.

In regards to being a Networked Educator, I am at the very beginning. There is still a big questions mark. I want to become/be a role model for the students. I don’t see this (yet) so much in Primary School. Although there is definitely a way to promote learning from others, learning through others. How can we prepare the students in Primary School to become a Connected/Networked Learner?

 

 

 

Ready to jump into the writing experience!

Reading “The Age of Composition” on Jeff’s blog let me reflect about my own history of writing and how it changed in my personal and teaching life.

I have never felt very confident writing about something, no matter whether it is in my mother tongue German or now in English. The worries about being superficial, not to say anything new, not finding the right words or just about spelling conventions are always there. I don’t have any good writing memories of my own school life, but I do remember seeing my parents writing letters. For a while as a teenager I had a lot of pen pals so I got a letter each single day. I loved it. I also wrote letters in notebooks with female best friends and a personal diary. It was obviously very, very meaningful for me. Since then I think writing was more or less always for assessments at university or resulting of work. Sure, once in a while I’m writing a personal postcard or email. But that’s it.

It seems to be clear where the insecurity is coming from. BUT I’m ready to jump into a new writing challenge, to become more confident and to build my network which enriches my life so much. It is sometimes overwhelming and it means being out of the comfort zone. But that is the way where learning is coming from, right?

In this case writing this post, it happened exactly what Jeff was describing in his blog post:

  1. I’m reading REACH, page 28, about Literacy Development.
  2. Followed the link he mentioned on that page
  3. Reading his blog post about “The Age of Composition”
  4. Created a timeline about my own writing experience in school, at home, my past years
  5. Yes, sat down and started composing (luckily I don’t get sick reading and writing in the car)
  6. and will publish the post as soon as I have internet connection again. NOW 😉

Am I on the way to develop what Jeff called in his book Network Literacy?

And how to I support my students to develop writing skills which are driven by ideas and content and not just written for the teacher? The most important point for me is that it is meaningful for the students. When I’m reflecting on few past units especially with Grade 4 & 5 I always tried hard. They wrote f.e. an instruction for a self-created magnetism game (which was presented during a short exhibition), they wrote old fashion letters to an older person to ask about the change of written communication in their life, they wrote appeals to the community to get awareness of the impact of inventions and at the moment the students are getting into the community of a wikipedia. I always aiming to keep in mind that is has to be meaningful for students as learners or for ourself as learners.

Hanging Out on the Internet

“Unlike with other genres of participation (e.g., messing around and geeking out), parents and educators tent not to see the practices involved in hanging out as supporting learning.” (Living and Learning with New Media)

That was exactly me and my first reaction: Just hanging out on the internet can’t be productive and even worse it must be a waste of time. All the more I was surprised to read that this doesn’t have to be the case.

Teenagers are

  • developing and maintaining friendships/relationships with close (local) friends
  • finding out interest/talents – creating an own identity, taste and style
  • engaged and they are believing in something which motivates them to do whatever kind of action
  • communicating with others
  • teaching friends and parents
At a first glance it doesn’t seem too bad, but at a second glance I’m asking as a teacher: How can I open the world of the internet to my students for a different, more contributing involvement? How can I get them always on and always contributing?
I started smiling when I realized that I am probably already doing a step in that direction with my Grade 4 without knowing it. The students are inquiring into “The brain” of the human being. They are reading informational texts and creating afterwards a post for their own wikipedia. The wikipedia is simple and easy to use so the students are able to contribute knowledge to the community every time they are posting something. On my side I try to contribute instructional videos for the first time in my teacher life, f.e. How to create a post? or How to save your draft own the server?. It is a beginning.
Wiki Grade 4
Related to my thoughts here I read What does it mean to disconnect? Thanks, Jeff, for food for thoughts!