I was recently asked by a colleague about my ‘vision’ for eLearning and 21st century learning. Inspired in part by Gary Stager educational philosophy in 100 words, as well as my work with with DET exploring the EDUSTAR planning tool, this is the list of attributes that I came up with:
Is Transformative: More than just redefined, learning is purposeful and involves wider implications.
Is More Doable: Makes things like critical thinking and collaboration more possible.
Enables Student Voice: Technology provides a voice for students to take ownership over their work and ideas.
Involves Modelling Digital Citizenship: More than a sole lesson, eLearning should be about foster competencies throughout the curriculum.
I supported this with a list of readings to clarify where my thoughts had come from. Although as I have stated time and time again, it takes a village and recognising everyone in the village can be a futile act.
- ‘Do We Really Need New Things in New Ways?’ by Bill Ferriter. This post discusses problem with ‘redefining’ learning and instead argues that it makes such activities as communication and collaboration more ‘doable’.
- ‘Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions’ by Alan November. Moving beyond redefining learning, November outlines six questions that we need to ask in order to transform and innovate learning practices. Anthony Speranza provides a useful take on this with a helpful video summing it all up.
- ‘Why Small Pedagogical Changes are More Likely to Positively Impact Student Learning’ by Richard Olsen. I have discussed Olsen’s whole IOI Process elsewhere, but this post in particular highlights the importance of small steps in order to make sustained change.
- ‘The Problem Finders’ by Ewan McIntosh. Often we talk about getting off the stage as teachers, for some this means becoming learners, while for others it is about being a meddler-in-the-middle. Whatever it maybe, McIntosh captures in this TED Talk what I feel is the most important change, that is supporting students in finding their own problems.
- ‘Without Student Voice, Technology Just Fosters Another Type of Compliance’ by Peter DeWitt. Although this is something that many of spoken about and Steve Brophy and I also presented on, however I think that DeWitt represents the problem most clearly in this post.
- ‘Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools’ by Alec Couros and Katia Hilderbrandt. Too often students are delivered lessons on digital citizenship as if it were some vaccine needing to be delivered on a regular interval, Couros and Hilderbrandt provide a different take on this. They provide a framework for a more holistic approach to digital citizenship in school.
- ‘Why Even the Worst Bloggers are Making Us Smarter’ by Clive Thompson. A chapter from his book Smarter Than You Think, Thompson provides a fantastic argument for the power of blogging, but more importantly publishing for a wider audience.
- ‘Infusing SAMR into Teaching and Learning’ by me. There are so many different takes and interpretations on SAMR and although it maybe useful as a point of conversation, it is important that we realise that like an solution, there are no silver bullets.
- ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ by me. A review of sorts of Doug Belshaw’s fantastic book, what needs to be understood is that there is no one digital literacy, instead it is something that we do and that it is something constantly changing with the ebbs and flows of the river.
My concern with this whole process though is two-fold. Firstly, a vision is not created by one person, however compelling that may be. A point that George Couros makes in his book Innovator’s Mindset. This is a problem I had with the DET EDUSTAR training where a few random representatives were expect to be the voice of a whole school. While secondly, an eLearning vision needs to marry with the school’s wider vision for ‘learning’. The question then remains as to how we make a vision for learning and technology which supports the whole school with a common goal?
So what about you, what is your eLearning vision? How is it integrated within the wider school vision? As always comments are welcome.
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