Post by Lora Poser-Brown
Post by Lora Poser-Brown
CO- School Organization
IL- Other IL Models
Blakeway, Kristi. (2014, Sept. 2) Blakeway: Riding a roller coaster – How self directed learning changed my views. P21 Blog, Volume 1, Issue 7, No. 20. Retrieved from: http://www.p21.org/news-events/p21blog/1490
This is a blog post written for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which, if you haven’t check out, you should! In a nutshell, Kristi Blakeway writes about her experience as a vice principal at Thomas Haney Secondary, a self-directed learning high school in Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada. She clearly outlines in her blog post the way this self-directed system is organized.
The school is part of the Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Learning (CCSDL) which is an organization of secondary schools throughout Canada that are dedicated to the personalization of learning. She touches on the elements of inquiry, collaboration, how work spaces are designed and what test taking looks like. Admitting that she was bewildered at the seeming lack of structure she was used to in traditional education settings, Blakeway chronicles her emerging understandings of the self directed model. Elements of the article that I found appealing were the descriptions of close teacher and student relationships, the amount of free or flexible time the students have and the strong collaboration that informed the practice on site. As someone who is always considering home-school (or unschooling) as an option for my own children, it was quite enjoyable to get a look at how a high school that values the individual learning styles of each unique student looks like.
Five Ways to Integrate
Dr. Julia Marshall
Summary: This article has been a staple of mine for the last six years when thinking about shifting pedagogy to integrate across content areas, particularly spanning art and science. The five creative strategies Dr. Julia Marshall describes are used by both artists and scientists alike in the real world, and are fantastic strategies to implement in the library setting to embrace student choice, collaboration, and synthesis of their ideas. They are cognitive strategies, that are used to communicate the creators’ ideas through depiction, metaphor, mimicry, formatting, and projection.
Julia Marshall is an Art Education professor at San Francisco State University and I had the pleasure of working with her closely on a science and art integration initiative in San Francisco public schools.
Evaluation: In thinking about the cognitive processes that span art and science, Julia offers some specific ways in which both artists and scientists are manipulating information to communicate their thinking. I highly recommend it!
Educational principles are changing the way we teach throughout the entire country. Our educational system is going through a reboot of educational processes and the development of skills. There is a pressing need to increase problem solving skill sets and inquiry within our students. Gone are the days of a teacher centered classroom where students mindlessly listen to boring lectures. Students themselves are now becoming the presenters, collaborating amongst themselves in an attempt to create unique projects. But now even the projects based learning model (PBL) is under evaluation. The PBL model of instruction is designed to get students involved in research that is dependent upon collaboration. Students analyze information and evidence, then they think about a problem and remedy a solution. Like any other means of instruction, PBL has its flaws if not performed correctly. The proper way to conduct a project based learning environment lesson is to first and foremost develop skills, not content, through a process of inquiry. Teamwork and presentation are the means of achieving this goal. PBL allows students to go deep into any particular issue. Every subject across the curriculum will have varying levels of how deep a project might be. But the underlying principles will remain constant. Students will work from a knowledge base which will allow them to design a creative, authentic product. Individual personalities can flourish as students take ownership of their learning. Collaboration allows students to create and analyze content while teachers merely facilitate their learning experience. One of the more powerful aspects of a PBL environment is peer review. Students are encouraged to identify strengths and weaknesses of student projects. This evaluation will then lead to more creation and a means to make the end product even better.
Project based learning allows for a deeper, more personal learning experience to take place. Differentiation can occur more freely as teachers can now allow students to reach goals never before available under the old system of learning. The facilitator role which teachers are now using allows for more leaders to arise within a class. Peer review allows students to be accountable for their work. The fundamental principle of evaluation and inquiry itself allows for PBL lessons to be challenged in their design as well. Constant modifications will only support students creativity, helping to foster ingenuity. This open ended form of lesson design positively affects the learning experience of so many more students, allowing them to grow and experience new ideas on their own.
McCusker, S. (2014). Beyond worksheets, a true expression of student learning. Learning In the New Economy of Information,4. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/beyond-worksheets-a-true-expression-of-student-learning/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FnHAK+%28MindShift%29
The information era has allowed for a constant connection to information that can be accessed immediately from almost any location. But there is much more than merely the accessibility of information that needs to be taken into account. This information needs to be understood. Skills that will help students to identify the most valid components and use that knowledge to create meaning through expression need to be nurtured. Student creation allows for each individuals own unique ideas to shine. Higher level skills are promoted and students work on and evaluate their projects for both positive and negative components. This reflection is done so that new ways to improve their project can be identified and applied. These types of lessons are found to be most memorable to students when they are allowed to create and build upon their own unique ideas. This constructivist approach allows for multiple variations of a central idea or goal. Individuals talents are allowed to mature and develop young students into artistic creators of wonderful ideas.
This article supports the constructivist ideas of creation, imagination and intellectual freedom. Its is true that students are presented with so much information that they still need to be able to comprehend. Skills that foster creativity are the main points of this new form of teaching. Gone are the days of teacher centered classrooms where students take an abundance of notes, only to reguritate the information in a multiple point quiz. This approach to learning is clean and natural. The article refers to it as organic. Evaluation techniques are engrained within the lesson design so that students can identify areas for improvement. This type of learning and student engagement allows for unique qualities of each and every student to shine through.
Robb, L. What is differential instruction? Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-differentiated-instruction.
This article by Laura Robb is really an excerpt from her book, Differentiating Reading Instruction: How to Teach Reading to Meet the Needs of Each Student. Although most of the article focuses on reading, the beginning of the article defines differentiated instruction which can be used for any subject. Differentiated instruction requires the teacher to know each student well enough to be able to plan and provide instruction in a way that each child “has experiences and tasks that will improve learning.” The teacher’s goal is to maximize learning in every student using various teaching methods to reach the goal.
Ross also describes a few key principles which are the basis for differentiated instruction. She states 1) teachers must have continuous assessments to identify the strong and weak areas of each student. 2) There is a wide range of “expertise and experience with reading, writing, thinking, problem solving, and speaking” amongst the students. 3) Students should collaborate in small groups which allows learning through discussion and observation. 4) Instruction should be based on “issues and concepts rather than the book or chapter.” And 5) Students should have choices in their reading, writing, tasks and projects, since everyone has different skill levels and interests.