Friday, October 26, 2007

Thinking shift...yet again

There was a great post on "dare to dream" today that struck an interesting cord with me. When we think about learning in schools today the same things come out in the conversation. We hear about managing data and research and making it work for the student easily. We hear about making connections to prior experiences and we hear about collaboration to solve problems. We hear about being active readers and life-long learners and we hear about understanding the concept and applying past experiences to the new learning.

We hear about all of these things and when we throw the Web 2.0 angle into what learning is all about, we have ways to extend that learning and those collaboration experiences to anywhere the student happens to be.

Barbara's post, for me, spoke to the need to let students think and work through things for themselves. Most of the time we as teachers find these tools for the students to try and set up the parameters with which they need to use them. If we are really teaching self-sufficiency and trying to give students the tools they need to success in a world that is really just evolving, do we need to present them with a task and have them come up with the best tools to use? Are we being counterproductive when we give them the tools ahead of time?

Is it like spoon feeding the students? The tools are out there, and most of them are free, so maybe the focus should be on teaching the skills necessary to find the appropriate tool.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Educating Andrew

I have been such a slacker when it comes to blogging. Thee are so many other things that have gotten in the way. These things, (see previous post), have been a little more important. This post is related to those other things, though.

My son asked me the other day to help him do his homework. He is four so he doesn't have any homework, but his idea of homework are these worksheets he does at his daycare that come from this big book of activities. The gist of most of these is matching or rhyming or helping the bunny find his way through the forest to his family. Homework, for him is pure pleasure.

As we sat I started thinking about the skills he was practicing. Matching-Analytical, Rhyming-Auditory Processing, Mazes-Problem Solving (what do you do if you run into a tree?)

So what is education going to look like in the future for Andrew? Will he still be given the freedom to do all of these things and still be taught or [figure out for himself] ways to manage and use massive amounts of data?

I hope so because there is something that happens in school that causes kids to stop seeing homework and schoolwork as pleasurable.

This talk by Sir Ken Robinson speaks to just this point.

All the technology in the world is not going to make kids like their homework again- that job is in the hands of educators. You, me and everyone who is fortunate enough to be in education these days.

What it's all about!!!