Don’t Just Stand There
This post should provide a critical discussion of the three things I have learned about myself as a learner and three recent key changes in my own practice. There is probably a few more items on this list, however, I think these are the ‘top three’ that deserve to be looked into.
My Realisation: Fun is essential… and it feels good.
Establishing good and positive relationships within classroom is vital for so many reasons: from safe environment, increased engagement to enhanced learning process. That right dose of humour is welcomed is known for a long time, however digital age brought some new opportunities that did not exist before.
Digital technology allows classrooms to become much more of a fun place! Play is never boring and gamification in education is becoming much more serious business that one would ever think of it before. Engaging students through game based projects is starting to take momentum where learning is becoming seamlessly embedded into interesting activities.
Using Minecraft (visit http://minecraftedu.com/) allows students to ‘create, connect and collaborate’ while having fun at the same time. Gamefroot allows students to learn coding by creating games that include curriculum topics covered (visit http://gamefroot.com/education/).
And then, there is Kahoot! A brilliant creation for gamification of formative assessment. Students never liked quick quizzes like this before. Great tool that brings a lot of fun in classroom and creates very serious outcomes (visit https://create.kahoot.it/). From a teacher creating and performing a quick quiz for revision, there was a very fast transition where students worked in groups and created quizzes for a part of a topic. Then the whole class would participates in playing the quizzes for the topic. And students love it!
Student Centered Learning
My Realisation: Don’t take the privilege of discovering away.
For a while now ‘student centered learning’ term is becoming the flavor of the day. Let’s move away from directional instruction idea, was something what I had to ponder on for a while. What does it really mean in a sense of creating a true learning process? As much as I could comprehend the idea, there was still that niggling thought and a good deal of anxiety relating to establishing true knowledge. Then, it finally became clear to me thanks to doing my Mind Lab course.
No matter how good and engaging lecturer that you are, students will never be able to get hundred percent out of it. Simple reason being, knowledge has to be of their ownership. It will relate of course, to student engagement and focused input, however the most powerful way of learning is by having a true ownership of the learning process. This can be achieved only when students can probe a questions, do research, perform inquiry, analyse results and reach conclusions.
New pedagogies acknowledge this natural process of learning and some exciting methods and tools are created in recent decades. My focus of personal interest this year and into the future is definitely going to be Design Thinking and Agile Learning. (see my post http://eduthinkering.com/design-thinking-process-and-how-it-effects-students-learning-outcomes/)
Infinity or Singularity?
My Realisation: Technology creates so many possibilities.
Sky is the limit! We’ve all heard it before. However, with the presence and expansion of technology this is becoming reality like never before. Digitalising education is expanding horizon of possible applications infinitely. As technology is becoming more user friendly and affordable students are not confined into their physical class spaces any more. They are networking and skyping in virtual lessons or field trips globally and even further into space.
E.g. NASA’s Digital Learning Network Live Chat Event: Surviving and Thriving on Mars https://youtu.be/JUxPUDgLWco
Students (and teachers) can use Augmented Reality to make learning more interactive and integrated with real life situations and examples. Every topic or concept learnt becomes multidimensional and multilayered. (visit https://www.aurasma.com/)
…and technology is still changing: robots, virtual eye-wear connected to the net, drones, to name a few, are all here to soon become a norm as the cellphone is of today. Another whole new layer is formed that can be added to learning process in the near future.
Can I as an educator just stand there as an observer of all this fantastic changes or shall I join in and share this excitement? The choice is obvious.