Thanks to prof. Steve Katz, I managed to add 2 more bullet points to my "I Can Do This" list:
You can see it all here:
I usually tend to think twice when I come across statements like “kids should do this” and “teachers must do that” and “the educational system needs to”. Why would a certain so-and-so believe that they have the ultimate answer and the best solution to these issues, when thousands of bright minds are struggling to solve this puzzle? And why should we do something, just because someone says that we “should”?
For this reason I was a bit suspicious when I first read the title of the article 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn, written by Leo Babauta in 2012.
However, I decided to read it anyway, to see what “kids should learn” now, in Babauta's opinion. I must confess that I was pleasantly surprised. Babauta’s reflection on his own education in the 1980’s and on his kids’ education in the 2000’s led him to the unsettling conclusion that back then, as well as nowadays, the schools prepared the kids for a future they couldn’t even imagine. Who can tell what the world will look like in 2030 or in 2050? Therefore, with his wife support, he decided to homeschool their children, actually to “unschool” them, as he says, and further explains it as “teaching them to learn on their own, without us handing knowledge down to them and testing them on that knowledge.” He made it his goal to teach his own children the following set of skills (which I thought were very similar to the IB Learner Profile and Attitudes, by the way, but due to the homeschool setting could lack the social factor in some regard):
Terry Heick begins his article with a brief analysis of how the 21st Century society in all its facets strives to go global, while education seems to “lag awkwardly behind”. In an effort to help take the classroom further out into the world, he suggests the following ideas for improvement and change in current teaching practices and mind-sets:
However, rethinking the learning spaces seemed a bit challenging, despite its apparent simplicity. Honestly, I must admit that it requires a stretch of my imagination to picture myself teaching efficiently with no classroom at all, or in a classroom where the only resource is a concrete floor. A lot to think about and maybe a lot to change…
Heick believes that a “global curriculum can't be created or implemented sitting in a room, no matter the miracle of technology”. I found this statement to be quite thought provoking. So much is said about the power of technology, that we can easily come to believe that technology is the answer to all of our questions. But maybe the answer still lies inside each one of us, in our ability to connect with each other, in our creativity, in our amazing minds, in our human insight…Inside us, wonderful creations, which we fail to decipher and decode, no matter how developed our technology may be. Oh, and isn’t that where all technology has its roots, anyway?
After I took on the challenge to Google myself, I realized that I don’t really have a definite digital footprint. Among the few references to myself that I could find were my current school blog (which I had to create, but which isn’t very informative as far as my past activity and experience are concerned), an allusion to my translator certification in a database, a couple of Prezi presentations, and an old library calendar from my previous school. Pretty poor, I would say… It is obvious that my digital presence is in a serious need of enhancement!
I am becoming increasingly aware of the major role that a strong, professional digital footprint plays for career advancement in the 21st century; therefore I made it my 2014 New Year’s resolution to acquire a stronger digital profile, by:
What are some ways that "digitizing" assignments will improve your teaching, class, or your organisation?
This was one of the questions that prof. Steve Katz asked today during the course Creative Teaching Techniques and Utilisation of Multimedia, within the MEd International Teaching @ Framingham State University. I usually like this kind of questions, as they trigger my reflective self.
So...I reflected and I realised that I am a strong believer in the benefits of using technology in the classroom, even with younger students. I am sure we have all noticed that students become suddenly more engaged and more enthusiastic the moment when technology in any form is brought into the classroom.
Especially during my language classes, I found the SmartBoard to be a very useful tool. We often used websites such as www.linguazone.com or www.linguascope.com, which provide students with various activities, games, and ways to practice the target language interactively. Other online resources that we used constantly were: brainpop.com, RazKids.com, tumblebooks.com, readinga-z.com, discoveryeducation.com, makebeliefscomix.com, animoto.com and many others.
I also used sites such as www.linguazone.com or www.linguascope.com to give homework assignments. This initiative carried more than one benefit: it helped students move away from the "good old" paper and it brought our parent community closer to the classroom. Parents became more aware of what was going on in class on a daily basis, which improved the home-school communication.
Giving students the opportunity to present their work in more than one way is also a strong asset in the classroom. When students are able to move from one single means of sharing their learning to a wider palette of possibilities, their horizons broaden and their skills improve. Technology helps us bring the world into the classroom, while taking the classroom out into the world.