How is it going?
We talked a bit in class last week about the shift from learning “what” the information is to where the information is.
We’re learning now in a time where information is abundant — too abundant at times. It once may have made sense to design courses around a bounded set of information pre-chosen by experts and to then pass that information on to students. Teachers and curriculum writers were curators, deciding what students would and wouldn’t learn.
Now, when so much information is available at our fingertips, we still need curators to help us to sort out where we should pay attention and where we should skim and what we can ignore. Teachers still do that, of course. And learning in these times also means finding other curators: who is doing excellent work sorting through information and posting the best of the best on their blogs or Twitter feeds or sites like Known or Tumblr or even Pinterest? How do we find those people?
When Google algorithms drive commercial and Highly “Clicked” content to the top of search results, how do we still find the great conversations between 50 wonderfully creative educators, the terrific reflections on teaching written for relatively a small audience, the reviews of tech tools created by networks of very experienced teachers on their own sites?
Google isn’t going to help us there. So we can search Twitter hashtags, follow people on Twitter who in turn follow generous people, we can do blog searches on Google to filter past all the commercial sites, we can follow authors of books that we love and in turn see who they follow. And we can become curators for others as we sort through all those sorts of questions.
In a word, we join networks of people learning about things that are important to us. When information isn’t officially curated by a small number of experts, we need to learn to instead find where reliable curators are posting things, we find people who push our thinking, we find networks where people enthusiastically critique and recommend and reflect.
Audrey Watters wrote about the potential for networking now possible with the internet in our reading a week ago. Finding out where the information is won’t happen only via Google searches or reliance on commercial sites. But learning to network is key to navigating digital teaching and learning.
This came up in class tonight:
For what it’s worth, here are Common Core standards for Digital Writing, by grade level.
And here is more on ISTE’s conversations about Common Core, both in terms of tech standards, and in terms of tech in service of broader learning goals.
Project calendar is up – linked from main site menu.
NOTE: There are also small group Tweets due each week (Book Circle groups, Inquiry groups), but these are on your own schedule so aren’t on the table. Just do them!
In class, I asked everyone to post three words they think of when they think of technology in education, and our Poll Everything poll showed us this:
I love that “integration” is up there front and center, because tech is not something that should happen in a lab down the hall on Tuesday mornings.
I see “learning” up there, in the same font size as “necessary”. Tech isn’t a learning goal. It’s a set of tools that can support learning in ways that weren’t possible before. We can make it easier and more efficient to collect information from students as we continue to stand in front of the room as we use tools like Poll Everything (and there are many such tools), and we’re still teaching the whole class at once, as we always have. I’m intrigued by what might happen when we get that data and we can break up the class, engage students in multiple ways, invite them to show us what they know in ways that show us the complexity of their thinking. Perhaps, we’ll do more of that sort of work and less talking to students.
I’m intrigued for example about the layers of learning in 6th grade teacher Kevin’s (@dogtrax) playful experimentation with audio and video in poetry writing. I think about the ways that students would need plan, reflect, make judgments about quality in anticipation of audience, think about word choice and visual composition. Then, maybe the whole class conversations are about critical reflection on the processes, the learning, the products, not dissemination of information that’s widely available to students now.
We are on the cusp of pretty big shifts from print to digital throughout culture. We have long passed the point where information was something possessed by some people but not others, to information being widely and easily available to everyone.
What differences does that make in how we teach and learn?
What if education wasn’t about disseminating information? What else about all of this is in our wordcloud?
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As I’m planning the class, I’m not yet sure who the students will be. I know that there will be grad students who teach very small children and others who teach adults. Some may not teach but work in some other role in Education. I’m trying to find readings and projects of value to all. I’m hoping that I come close.