Friend NOT Foe

 

Rethink Teaching to Remix Learning is a TEDx talk by Jared Stein in which he speaks about his journey to build a blended course for the benefits of his students.  He created a course in which students would participate both face-to-face and online.  The advantages of an online portion of the course is to allow for flexibility and full participation of all students within an asynchronous setting either with text or video.  Our lives are becoming increasingly blended every day; we use digital technologies to plan our day via a calendar to help us keep our physical appointments to collaboration with colleagues in the same room using an online document such as google doc.  He touches on the topic of adaptation towards the tools and technologies that are being created today as we are not going to go back to tools that were used in classrooms in the past.  This talk really spoke to me in regards to what I observe happening within my class each day:  more and more students are choosing to use their digital devises for communication purposes.  I am beginning to ponder how I can adapt my teaching practice towards enveloping this idea.  How can my science teaching evolve towards students learning via digital devices?13908545259

Linguist David Crystal’s talk: Texts and Tweets really struck a cord with me and I began to develop a sense of curiosity around this topic, especially with my students whom are adapted or modified within my classes.  Crystal stated that “texting gives students the motivation to read and write and that kids today read more than in the past simply due to texting”.  In fact, in order to text, one must be literate!  He also stated that “not too many people use abbreviations, texting or not”.  I went back to the exams that I have given this year, not one of the exams has an abbreviation on it!  In fact, there are less spelling mistakes on these exams than those that I recall in the past (with the exception of Health Science – some of the terms are misspelled, but phonetically correct).

Larry Lessig spoke of re-mixing to make something different – to take a topic and use media to help kids make sense of that topic – have the students do this to engage them in their learning experiences is not piracy, in fact, its empowering!  Students today are different than they were generations ago, we must do better for our students today and allow them to use the tools that they have been given, grown up with, and use on a daily basis already.  As teachers, we have the responsibility to help our students learn to the best of their ability; regardless of their programming  desc regular, adapted, modified, alternative.

The reading this week have really challenged and excited me all at the same time.  The readings/videos have lit a fire within my teaching pedagogy to create lessons which allow each student to use their digital technology to show me what they have learned, in their own way and at each students own learning capability, of the content within my courses.  I feel that I am on the cusp of turning science education at the high school level into a different, real word, more relevant experience for my students.  I already teach very differently than some of my colleagues – we role play scenarios for an entire semester – and I have found this to be an amazing experience for both the students and myself.  But now, I want to change the way students show me what they have learned, I want to assess my students on their understanding of the content materials differently.  I want them to re-mix their learned knowledge within the course into an elegant composition.  How I will do that, I do not  yet know… but it all about the journey and not about the finale. 

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