Today’s post compliments some of our related posts on Project Based Learning (PBL).
I really like the reference to PBL as an element in eLearning, and arguably blended learning by extension. The video referenced in this tweet, may be of interest to you as you reflect on the 13/14 school year, and look towards Sept. 2014.
On our last day of 30 Days of Learning, we welcome new blogger, Denise Buttenaar.
When OSSEMOOC started the month of April with 30 Days of Learning in Ontario asking us to share what we had learned that day I had many ideas running through my head about what I could share. I could tell you face-to-face exactly what they were and what affect they had on me, however, I could not write about them. We are always challenging our students to reflect and yet the only reflection I had was the person staring back at me in the mirror too afraid to open up to her peers.
I have been an educator for over 30 years starting when the Formative Years, Education in the Primary and Junior Divisions (1975) was the first year teacher’s bible. While there have been many changes in paradigms from teacher centered learning to multidirectional teaching the child has always been the center of focus, aside from the fairly short lived objective-based model. Today we see a shift from what a child will learn to how a child will learn. 21st Century skills, especially those of collaboration are helping drive student centred learning.
One day this week I had the pleasure of instructing two classes on how to use the Provincial virtual learning environment. One was a grade 2/3 class the other a grade 12 class. I learned a few things that day:
1. When technology is involved students want to do not watch. 2. Supply the students with the bare essentials and let them run with it. 3. It is hard to try something new when you are used to doing things a specific way.
Number three is the reason I am writing. I cannot expect the students and teachers to listen to me when I tell them to take a chance and try something new if I am not willing to do so myself.
So here it is. Not the next great novel, just a few thoughts from a life-long learner.
Denise Buttenaar is an education leader and eLearning Contact in Bruce-Grey Catholic DSB in Ontario.
To answer the #OSSEMOOC 30 Days of Learning Challenge, “What have I learned?”…..
I have learned the new and much more powerful meaning to the phrase “you’re preaching to the choir”.
This year I decided to undertake a MOOC for my Board. The motivation behind the MOOC was to provide the school community with the opportunities to learn from and with each other in a flexible, online space. We opened up our learning to our coterminous board, and our First Nation education partners. The MOOC was designed to support those who wanted to learn more about the various technological tools that are available, to take control over their own ongoing learning and professional development, and to support teachers who were taking a lead in using technology in their classrooms by giving them a platform to showcase their knowledge.
I had the platform (Adobe), I had the enthusiasm, and I had support from fantastic teachers willing to share their expertise and experience ….and then I waited for the crowd of school community members to knock down the virtual door to engage in this PD opportunity. And I waited….
About half-way through the MOOC, I was asked how it was going and I said that it wasn’t going as expected. I had no new converts to tech integration and that I was “preaching to the choir” as the dedicated group of educators who turned in every week were already using some form of technology in their classrooms to engage theirstudents. The individual responded that “preaching to the choir” was just as important as getting new members to join. The response caught me off guard but I still felt like the MOOC had failed.
Thanx to @markwcarbone I was able to attend #gafesummit in Kitchener in April. Imagine a school filled with 600 educators on a Saturday and Sunday trying to soak up as much information as possible. The energy, passion and dedication to student learning was palpable. The choir was singing and loudly!
It was at #gafesummit that the phrase “preaching to the choir” was again uttered and this time the words resonated with me.
Many of us our trying to support a vision of learning for our students that is not yet considered the norm. It takes the usual characteristics of perseverance, resilience, grit, passion and a healthy amount of stubbornness to keep moving forward. But, sometimes being up front, and seemingly going it alone, (we all have those moments),can make you hesitate, doubt yourself and your vision.
Where am I going with this? What have I learned?……Perhaps the most important lesson of all. I can learn the latest technology and the latest app, but learning to build and nurture relationships is vital and the key to moving forward, and growing as a person, educator and as a leader. The latest technology cannot replace a choir that sings softly in the background or boisterously when needed, but most importantly, in tune with you. The choir build you up, puts the song back into your heart and reinvigorates.
As important as it is to build capacity among new educators, it is absolutely vital to nurture the relationships of those already “in the choir”. Like all sound relationships, the choir needs to be nurtured, supported and given time to practice and work together as a team. They are the early-risk takers and provide support and encouragement to each other and you.
The next time someone says, “you’re preaching to the choir”…keep up the good work!
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” ~H.E. Luccock
Stacey Wallwin is an education leader and eLearning Contact in northern Ontario. She shares her learning and her collection of resources here.
As we wrap up our focus on blogging and move into our focus on Digital Citizenship, we are inviting you to have a conversation with us on Tuesday evening around what learning will look like five years from now. Where are we going in Ontario?
We initially held this conversation about a month ago as part of the stakeholder consultation process for eLearning Ontario as the group moves forward with their work in providing the tools Ontario students need for technology-enabled learning. Since then, the new vision document has helped inform some of what we are doing as we have a clearer impression of where Ontario is going.
The stakeholder consultation process closes on April 30, and we would like to offer OSSEMOOC participants one more opportunity to provide feedback. Please join us on Tuesday, April 29 at 8 p.m. EDT [here] for a live discussion opportunity. The online room opens at 7:30 for set up. If you are new to collaborate, you will need some time to get set up, so feel free to start any time after7:30.
We value your input to this process. Conversations about learning in the future have been very rich as we have moved around the province working with different stakeholder groups. I know this will be a catalyst for further thinking about student needs in Ontario as we move from great to excellent!
If you are unable to join us, please use this form to provide input via this Feedback Form. Thank you for taking the time to help us make the most informed decisions possible around the tools our learners need to succeed.