Oh how easy it can be to forget to take time to sit down and read. Read with a purpose. I read each day. I read and gather information via, twitter, Instagram, blogs, and websites on a daily, even sometimes hourly basis. BUT…other than for pleasure, news, or educational inspiration and content, I needed a reminder to pick up a book, an actual book!
Back in December I began to curate the books I’ve read so far within my journey to document and push myself further in my math learning, teaching, re-learning, and amplification. This post provided a glimpse to where I was as that moment. Reflecting and speaking on several books I’ve read recently this year, and how they fit into my experience and practice at the moment. A quick title list of those books were:
- A Guide to Documenting Learning
- Show your Work
- Great Ways to Differentiate Math Instruction
- Mathematical Mindsets
- Student Centered Coaching; The Moves
- Student Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals
Although I have progressed and implemented new ideas and I am pushing forward in several areas: my own amplification of work and progress, student work, prototypes, and I have been reading on these areas, it’s time to take on another recommended book.
- Who Owns the Learning: Alan November
- Making Thinking Visible: Ritchhart, Church, Morrison
Full disclosure: I met Alan November back in 2008 while he was here in Ottawa at a local private school offering a seminar. At that time, he was sharing digital information and acquisition of digital information, as well as digital use for all ages, (why do teachers say no, so quick? because the students are more agile in technological areas than teachers are; so teachers need to keep up) I still use all of his tips and tricks to this day. As almost a decade has past, I’m still shocked at how much the greater overall educational field and learning of skills has stayed the same, especially in terms of educational professionals and philosophies around technology and learning. Starting to see a change at the moment in newer staff and recent university graduates sharing and bringing their ideas to the table.
So who really does own the learning? I’m only five pages in Alan November’s book at the moment, and I’m already making connections!
…the book is arranged in a way where you follow several small anecdotes of various families and characters, which display November’s ideas and weaves in his culture of “The Digital Learning Farm” The Digital Learning Farm is a paradigm where students are more at the forefront of their own learning. Words such as: intrinsic motivation, contributions, authentic voice, and responsibility take the leading role.
One Big Idea: learning and the power of learning has changed. The role of the teacher has changed. Knowledge is everywhere and easily accessible for anyone at any age. Therefore the power and control over education in the classroom has also shifted. Students are not more equals in their planning and growth. Learning is not as “top down” as it once was in a one room school house, it is now shared between teacher, students and their peers.
The chapter that most resonated with me, was chapter two: The Student as Tutorial Designer. Why? because this year, I embedded this exact theory and opportunity into my math classes. Students were not only working on their own growth, but also responsible for the growth of their peers by providing, thorough and clear tutorials as they prepared for their exams. If you can teach it, you own it! Words (ACTIONS) that my students now actually see and feel the importance of! Feeling and emotions are a big part of today’s teaching culture. Once you go, struggle, and succeed in the process, you (and the students) actually feel a part of the learning and are more involved and internally motivated to do better. The mastery of skills has improved, as once understood, moved to application, practice, and then teaching others.
So after I read the book, I dived a little deeper and found an interview of November going deeper into his Digital Learning Farm Model.
Alan November – Who Owns the Learning- Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age from Principles of Learning on Vimeo.
Kelly Clifford captured a talk by Alan November. I especially like the quote she pulled out and her thoughts about that particular quote:
“”Before the Internet, we taught content & skills. Now, we teach students to build a network. When you graduate, you will have a network connected to the world, following the best minds, and have a global voice…in addition to the content and skills. Build your own learning ecology!”
Alan talks about the importance of each student discovering what it is that they are passionate about, and the necessity for teachers to show them how to connect with the best minds in the world related to their passion! Imagine a world where students graduate already following a Twitter network of professionals, already connected with a global audience, and already creating collaborative projects showcased in a variety of digital platforms!”
It’s about giving students the skills to build their own learning ecosystem! I like that… I like it a lot!