Last week everything began to click for me in this course, woohoo! This week, I am having continued clicking taking place, but now am really beginning to re-evaluate where I sit in the continuum of educators and how we teach our students according to our own pedagogy. During my reflection of the required reading this week, I began to wonder if I am really a “traditional” style teacher or not? As the above paragraph stated – I really do not think of myself as a traditional teacher. I like to include my students in the learning process, not only within the learning of new content, or the scaffolding of content, but the assessment and extensions of the content itself.
The reading this week confirmed the style of teaching that I have naturally evolved towards – more socially responsible, rhizomatic teachings. Although I am not completely at the rhizomatic teaching style, I feel that I am well on my way. As a science teacher whom implements student inquiry as a way of learning subject matter quite heavily – rhizomatic learning appeals greatly to me. I see that I have evolved along the Philosophy and Education Continuum chart from a realism philosophy to a pragmatism philosophy. My students are not required to learn for mastery, but rather become masters of the learning through problem solving – connecting and networking with others either in person or finding and understanding information via technology.
Ashley’s blog, especially the idea of unschooling by Callie Vandeweil, led me towards reflecting on the way that students learn. Students can learn in a multitude of ways – and I agree with Ashley – we should not get rid of the traditional school but as facilitators we can do just that – facilitate the way that students learn. By allowing our students to become responsible digital citizens, and to learn effectively, we are only opening up the doors to the students own learning experiences. Especially in the classrooms of today, where we may have 4 different curriculum’s to teach (modified, adapted, regular, alternative) – teaching our students to learn digitally and to be good digital citizens with the teacher being the vessel facilitating the learning will/may allow for a deeper understanding and supportive learning of the content material if we allow the students to take the lead of their learning and assessments. Jennifer posted a great site to our google plus community, Digital Citizenship, which explains the importance of allowing our students to become literate digital citizens within our classrooms. Cultural Anthropologist, Mimi Ito – hit the nail on the head when she stated that our current educational practices are missing the piece of supporting engagement in learning via “geeking out” through social media and digital citizenship and proactively engage students. We must break through the idea that the internet is a hostile place to learn, and teach our students that there are many opportunities to engage and learn effectively, and as educators we must give students equal access to on-line learning communities in a safe place (classroom) and teach them the responsibilities of on-line learning.
Students are digital outside of the school, so why not inside of the school – allowing students to create a knowledge cloud using media such as remixing, YouTube, creating websites and blogging, networking through Twitter and Facebook. Katie Salen, executive director of Quest 2 Learn school in New York, explains that game design allows student to think deeper and more abstractly than they do in traditional schools. Game design is how kids socialize, they also drive students to want to be better. The student must proceed from one quest to another, each quest getting harder and harder, to become better at problem solving through design thinking. All a video game is, is a set of problems that must be solved in order to win. Students are encouraged to be in charge of their own learning, to become adaptive, problem based thinkers. Even watching the video – we see that some of the classrooms are designed in a way which allows for student to be a collaborative group – all of the desks are grouped together as one large conference table (I do this in my classroom), encouraging class discussions.
As this course continues to click for me, I will continue to re-evaluate, find and create a digital citizen ship based approach to learning. Apropos blended education continuum just may be my major topic for EC&I 831 next semester, but it is alongside a growing list of technologies that I would like to implement into my teaching pedagogy.