I have always use Instagram as a personal connection to my family and friends, but reading these articles has me convinced that the application can be useful in the classroom. Using technology is a great way to engage your students and capture real life events that are happening in your classroom. Students can share with their families what they are learning and be encouraged by their peers and families through comments on their shared activities. The scavenger hunt idea is great and I could see this being implemented in the biology classroom on a field trip or even in a lab during the procedure. The challenge article reminds me that the Instagram application is world wide and a great way to implement collaboration across the globe. Pictures are way more powerful and efficient than words and can help the second language learners with their confident in the material. This app when used in the classroom gives them level playing ground and a chance to show and express themselves in a different modality. The student engagement article is comforting for me because I already try to incorporate every single aspect of that list into my classroom. I might just commit to hanging up this list in my classroom to remind me about them each and everyday. Having my students know that I strive to hit on that list with each and every lesson will help them stay motivated in the class as well. By using the Instagram app in the classroom you actually hit on each one of those engagement techniques called for by the students. Looks like Instagram has found a home in my classroom!
A Reflection of Chapters 7-9 in QQCE format
Chapters 4-6 Reflection in QQEC format
Chapter 4- Learning in the Collective
Quote: "...one might be tempted to ask how we might harness the power of these peer-to-peer collectives to meet some learning objective. But that would be falling into the same old twentieth-century trap. Any effort to define or direct collectives would destroy the very thing that is unique and innovative about them." I chose this quote because it embodies the chapter, but it was also the cause of my question and epiphany. This quote explains that trying to harness the collective in its true freeform model would negate its organic nature and its effectiveness. This is what leads me to my question.
Question: So I can't do this true collaborative until the entire educational system goes through with the major transition and ditches all the standards and learning objectives?
Connection: My connection is my personal blog. It is different to wrap my head around anyone really wanting to read my blog. Currently there are only a few comments from mandated peers on my blog posts. But then I think about my Pinterest account. This online self proclaimed "book marking tool" is in its own right a collective. People are tagging these resources, "pinning" on to their theme/ interest boards. People can follow specific boards of other people or follow the person in entirety. It is in this collective that I have followers and people that contribute to my resources as well. It is powerful to have a voice. I think my generation is the one that straddles both sides of the fence on this new way of connecting with people.
Epiphany: As I was trying to figure out how I could possibly add this into my classroom and why the authors would offer this information and then take it away in the very same chapter I actually did have an epiphany. The authors have brought up that this new culture of learning happens within confines and requires structure just like a garden or a farm field. If I opened up an online forum for my student to discuss class issues, content, materials, projects, etc. I would be giving them the freedom, but with confines and structure. I believe this would qualify as a true collective where students are allowed to discuss as necessary the material or questions that they have or ideally any further investigations they have made. This would still allow me to cover the topic we have to cover for state standards, but give some additional freedom in learning from each other. This would be in addition to all the group projects and students centered learning I usually try to implement into my classroom. I never thought I would want an online forum until now.
Question: How can I make sure that my students in this collective aren't being mislead and just reinvigorating false information?
Quote/ "aha": The following quote answered my question so I would say it is my "aha" and my quote. "Information put out in the blogosphere is investigated, challenged, and debated [by the collective]. If a statement of fact is wrong, someone will highlight it—and probably correct it. Institutional branding or a high-profile name alone is not enough to instill a sense of credibility today." I chose this quote because it explains how the voice of many can be more powerful, less biased, and more correct than the more traditional power that be.
Connection: As mentioned before one of my main goals as a science teacher is to transform my students into critical thinkers. I constantly remind them that I am not Google and I do not have all the answers. I try to make sure they back up their evidence and findings with multiple resources. An online collaborative setting, or a collective has great strength in that it utilizes many brains, many thought processes, and many points of view.
"But by reversing the question and the answer, as inquiry does, something that started as a liability—the radical differences among students and their dispositions—becomes an advantage. When the idea is to ask questions, diversity is a good thing."
Connection: This is what I tell my students in my class as we start to get to know the expectations in the class. I celebrate diversity in the classroom. Especially in science, if we all thought the same and had the same beliefs and backgrounds we wouldn't challenge science, we wouldn't advance ourselves. It the new that progresses us, not the same old stuff we already know or do.
Epiphany: NGSS just might have it right! Maybe we are on the path to educational redemption. The Next Generation Science Standards are steeped in inquiry based lessons. Yay science!
Question:The question that I had while reading this was why inquiry based learning has taken so long to start becoming the main stream. Interests and Passions drive students so why not put those to work and get the students prepared for their future. Let them inquire about what they are interested or passionate about.
Thomas, Douglas; Seely Brown, John (2011-03-12). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Kindle Locations 1222-1223). CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.
Thomas, Douglas; Seely Brown, John (2011-03-12). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Kindle Locations 651-653). CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.
A Reflection of Chapters 1-3 in QQCE format
Quote: "...what the new culture of learning might look like and how powerful it can be when students see each other as resources and figure out how to learn from one another". The reason I chose this quote was because it really sums up the "new culture of learning" that Thomas and Seely are talking about. Students would be taught to not just sit and listen to what the teacher had to teach, but they would be taught to explore their resources. The teacher is no longer the sole resource, the world is a their fingertips. because the world's knowledge is now accessible the students can focus on how to ask the right questions, find alternative solutions, and ultimately change the world.
Question: One question I had while reading this chapter was when is the right age to stop teaching how to do something and start teaching how to use your resources to find out how to do something. As a mother it occurs to me that I have always been the resource for my children. With so many scary things and people out there, how do I know when it is okay for my child to reach out into their community. I answered my question in saying that everything just needed to be supervised.
Epiphany and Connection: What really stuck out to me in this chapter was the classroom "experiment" where the authors talk about the students actually taking over the classroom. The students were actually getting involved in the curriculum and talking with each other on how to make it better. This is exactly what is stifled in my classroom. My students are trained to only follow the teacher's directions. When I ask them what they thought of the lesson, they are typically silent. I would love their feedback and I'm sure they have their opinions, but they are trained to just do as they are told. In my dissections, I have very few students that will ask to stray off the path and investigate further. I have to push them to go look at other groups so that they can talk and compare specimens and techniques.
Quote: "...the teaching-based approach focuses on teaching us about the world, while the new culture of learning focuses on learning through engagement within the world". This is a perfect summary of what this chapter is all about, the difference of the old way and the new proposed way of learning. When I was in High School I was taught what they thought I needed to know. These were all facts and numbers that I needed to memorize in order to graduate and get my diploma. Some party or board decided I needed to know these things in order to be a successful and beneficial member of society. The authors propose a new way of learning that would involve 2 halves, one being the unlimited amount of knowledge that is the internet and individuals of our communities, and the other being the confines of structure and rules.
Question(s): What does this actually look like in a transitional classroom? What does this look like in a fully embracing school site? How would lesson plans be written? I would expect it to be a very broad project(s) where students would be given these rules of engagement and asked to come up with solutions to problems. Would they have basic math skills, scientific background? Would I be able to presumed anything about their incoming skills as a whole class?
Connection: I can connect this to something that I am doing in my current classroom. At the beginning of the unit students were asked to come up with questions they had about the particular body system we were covering. Students were then told that the only material being discussed in this unit was what they wanted to know about. The questions could be very broad to very very specific and detailed. From this list, the students formed groups and picked their topics. They did research on the internet and gathered resources they thought would be beneficial to their peers. The students were responsible for their own learning, but then had to share their learning with the other groups. The ambassador and the Public speaker were the only ones that could communicate on presentation day. It was up to the ambassador to bring back any information that they gathered from the other groups to their original group members. While these discussions were taking place the students were to look a the online resources and notes taken on the Google docs from the various topics. The entire class was responsible for the material at the end of the unit. Some students were upset, they wanted to be spoon-fed information from the teacher "an expert" instead of learning from each other. This was an exercise on trust more than anything.
Epiphany: The way I wrapped my head around this comparison of the two cultures was that in making this transition, teaching would make the switch from teaching what we know to teaching how to grow. Growing would involve changing and upgrading so to speak. Growing would be expanding yourself into communities and cultures and finding alternative ways of solving problems. In school, learning would be allowing the confines of the proposed problem and the "rules of the game" to guide the students in their learning journey.
Quote: "...'Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime,' to represent the height of educational practice today. Yet it is hardly cutting edge. It assumes that there will always be an endless supply of fish to catch and that the techniques for catching them will last a lifetime". This quote is awesome. It really caught be off guard because I was agreeing with the adage right up until the second part where the authors debunked it.
Connection: My connection to this is that I am in a science teaching position. I am suppose to teach what we know... now. Scientists know that everything is theory until proven...repeatedly. I try to take a little twist on my teaching in biology (while I still can, until the new standards are in place) I agree that students need to know how to think like scientists, how to think critically and I chose that to be my main focus and drive in the classroom.
Question: Is that just me teaching them how to fish? How can I better align my instruction with this "new" way of learning ?
Epiphany: My epiphany is to add problem solving to that main focus of my science classroom.
Another Question: Am I smart enough to create these scenarios and projects for my students on my own, because I haven't seen the resources available for science lesson that would mimic the new culture of learning style.
Thomas, Douglas; Seely Brown, John (2011-03-12). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Kindle Locations 188-189). CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.
Imagery is powerful, students and teachers can use this as a presentation tool or a way to tell their own learning story. I can see Instagram becoming a part of my classroom. This would be a great way for us to get to know each other as a class. Students can express so much more through pictures and get creative in ways they might not be able to in writing or on a powerpoint. Class projects can be done in this very popular app and if it is a life learning lesson, why not share that with the rest of the community. You can chose to share the pictures with specific people or expand your project to the world. Sometimes it might be hard to see what it is like from another's point of view. This project style could help others get a glimpse into your everyday challenges, struggles, or triumphs. I look forward to using this tool in my classes.