Research Focus #3 November

Photo Credit: DennisCallahan via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: DennisCallahan via Compfight cc

A shared post by Jarod Fong and Heidi James

For the November update, Jarod and Heidi shared a GoogleDoc to co-craft this post. We have been meeting digitally to share our ideas and have shared Documents and Folders to hold our thoughts and our research and would like to use this post as an opportunity to share our process with our #tiegrad friends.

Our initial steps in this BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) journey began last year when we realized that we were at opposite ends of the BYOD spectrum: Jarod was 3 years into using BYOD and experiencing a plateau and Heidi was hoping to launch it in her school. We connected and shared ideas. We recognized the need for ongoing conversations around the use of personal devices in an educational classroom. We would like to create a resource of some kind to transform how BYOD is being used by our students.

Our initial view was very expansive: we were looking at creating a curriculum for Middle School Digital Literacy or Citizenship with a focus on the implementation of BYOD.

We met recently to refine our work. Some of our new thoughts include creating a scope and sequence for Middle School Teachers and Learners. We like the idea of using the Core Competencies language from the new BC Curriculum Draft. Our project will include a resource section for teachers. Our original steps included locating resources that we have personally used for teaching digital literacy skills in our own classrooms and we planned to share out those lessons with the resources attached. Instead, we believe that a more flexible, personalized approach may be to curate dynamic and effective resources and tag them to specific competencies. This will encourage teachers to use the resources in innovative ways, and hopefully share their ideas!

What the Resource Needs to Include:

  • must be adaptable, flexible and a living document – something that can grow and change over time: as technology changes, as opportunities arise
  • a framework for supporting digital literacies province-wide
  • language around creating a globally connected, digitally literate classroom culture

Jarod’s Next Steps:

  • searching for research around digital citizenship
  • finding resources and examples of digital citizenship appropriate for Middle School grades
  • exploring citizenship vs. digital citizenship with regards to the curricular competencies
  • curating resources for digital citizenship
  • exploring different resources and vehicles for that will evolve with time in an area that changes rapidly

Heidi’s Next Steps:

  • finding research around BYOD in Middle School Classrooms
  • finding examples of how BYOD is being used in classrooms
  • curating resources for digital literacies
  • learning more about content creation versus content consumption and how to create that climate in a classroom setting

One of many challenges that we are looking at is how to create a resource that will continue to evolve with not only technology, but the social changes that are created as new platforms for connecting with people come and go. Technology and social media have become a vehicle for global awareness and change. How do we create a resource that will continue to evolve and stay current as an unknown future evolves; a resource that will help to integrate BYOD and digital citizenship effectively for our students today and in the future when new technology and new forms of media have emerged? With a focus on new curricular competencies, our project will be about people as much as it is about technology as a tool and social media as a platform.

Reflective Teaching – Day 17

Te@chThought‘s Day 17 Challenge is:”What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?

I would like to see the issue of class size addressed. I usually have 30 students in a class and it is difficult to meet the needs of all learners each day. There are usually students who require more support, and others are very independent. And, occasionally students are in crisis and needing a great deal of time and attention. Effective pedagogy requires flexibility and a willingness to try new things, and be prepared for tangents. It can be difficult to even find enough resources to support all learners in a variety of academic pursuits.

My ideal class size limit for Middle School would be 21. Teaching grade six in our district means this is the first year for Middle School, a terrifying and exciting prospect for many learners. Middle School also marks the start of enormous class sizes for the first time for many students. With 30 students packed into a space designed for 24, there is not a lot of flexibility in how you lay out the space, how you proceed with transitions, and how regimented your “unstructured” time becomes – for safety reasons alone!

21 students in a class would encourage:

  • more one-on-one time for each learner
  • face-to-face meetings for feedback
  • opportunities to personalize programs
  • time to connect
  • flexible groupings
  • collaborative space design
  • every student could have a voice
  • partnerships in the school/community/global village
  • easier access to field trips
  • reduced anxiety and deeper sense of community and belonging

Our current model still seems to hold fast to the Industrial model of lecturing pupils sitting in neat rows. In reality, learning has become dynamic, messy, loud, and student centred. To do this effectively, we need to use our space and manpower respectfully.