Reflective Teaching – Day 28

Te@chThought‘s Day 28 Challenge is: “Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?

I don’t think that either should drive the other, actually. I believe that good pedagogy should drive all decisions in the classroom. Curriculum is mandated, but with the new BC Curriculum, there is the possibility for more flexibility. I don’t think that we should read the curriculum drafts with the idea of trying to find the points at which to implement technology. I also don’t believe that we should look at technology to see which elements of the curriculum could be covered most efficiently with the addition of technology.

I believe that the starting place for these decisions lies with the group of students with whom you are learning. A decision to use technology with a particular lesson with a particular group of learners one year may not be right for the next group of students. There should also be more opportunities for learners to self-select when to use technology and what need that technology might best satisfy. There must also be time and space without screens in our classrooms. In fact, we should be getting out of our classrooms more frequently!

Let good pedagogy be the driver in our classrooms.

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Reflective Teaching – Day 24

Te@chThought‘s Day 24 Challenge is: “Which learning trend captures your attention the most, and why? (Mobile learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, etc.)

I am actually basing my Masters research on this topic! I will link my Research Proposal draft here (eventually).

My biggest interest right now is BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. I want to know how we can leverage the devices that the students are currently carrying effectively to transform education. I want to explore what attitudes, habits, and citizenship skills need to be in place for a BYOD launch to be successful. I would like to curate some resources around citizenship as an ongoing focus for educators who are using BYOD and explore examples of good pedagogy around BYOD.

Who do you consider to be experts in BYOD? Launching BYOD school-wide can be a challenge when considering the variety of opinions regarding technology use, screen time, and digital citizenship concerns that all stakeholders must address. My other question is how to support the learners who do not have their own devices?

I think that encouraging students to use their own phones, tablets and laptops helps to bridge that gap between learning at home and learning at school. How are you using student devices in your own classrooms?

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.