Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Who Owns the Learning? Ch. 3-4 #CyberPD

Chapter 3 stopped me in my tracks. I paused and reflected when I read "...they're motivated to do better. But when you blow the walls off (the classroom), then learning happens anytime, anywhere."  I realized on page 43 that I have been coasting this past school year on my own digital knowledge and not allowing my students to become the learners as referenced in Chapter 1. The role of students include: problem solvers, creators, and collaborators as part of our digital classroom. But I can change.

My technology journey started three years ago with a class grant of iPods which are now obsolete because they can not be updated, and I used them as an excuse this past school year.  My students still used them but weren't able to complete the digital projects that I had planned. Enter in my complacency, I continued to learn about "blowing the walls" open through twitter and extensively through #5thchat. Yes we did skype with Kate Messner and completed a few skypes with other classrooms, but not to the level that I could have done. I am working on grants to obtain some iPads and right now I have two for sure and hopefully two more if next week's presentation goes well.  On a side note, I am living the life of a teacher who wishes she had more iPads, but after reading this chapter 3 I need to jump in with what I have and start busting the walls open in Room 228.

I was skeptical as I started to read; however, I was intrigued with the idea of students as scribes by the end of the chapter. I was hesitant to have one student (scribe) notes for the entire class and then post them on a class blog.  Two things happened as I thought about this: first the pressure to have excellent notes at the end of class would be a great challenge as well as motivator and posting them knocks down the walls for a larger audience than 23 people.  I like that idea especially since I live in a world of pull outs as well as students who might be sick/vacations etc. I can see the benefits from all angles.  

Positive benefits include:
*student scribes use their own voice-not a teacher voice
*builds community because all students will have a chance to scribe
*if the scribe is confused, then that is where teaching can begin NOT at the beginning of the lesson (LOVE this for saving time)
*class blogs allow for global conversations LOVE "a star and a wish" in comment section
*goal is lifelong learners: enables students to expand the learning experience. 
E cubed to bad I don't know the shortcut for that. Something else to learn.

Finally I will be thinking about this chapter long after this posts because I know with any change in technology to start small. I have not had an ongoing class blog, so that will be a huge change and perhaps we will start with scribes in only one subject area.

As always #cyberPD would not exist without our amazing hosts including Cathy, Jill for hosting this week at her blog: My Primary Passion and Laura will host next week at her blog: Ruminate and Invigorate


  1. Maria,
    I love your honesty and reflection. Knowing you, I can't help but wonder if one woman's "complacency" isn't another woman's half marathon. **wink wink"

    Thanks for sharing the benefits of a scribe. I know how much I just like having students put lessons in their own words during learning ---- sometimes my intention and their take always are a little mismatched ---- so I am sure a scribe would be a great way to reflect on teaching.

    Next year I will have 3 desktops, two iPods and one iPad. Oh the possibilities! I think it will allow students to have more choice and ownership of learning, creating, and sharing. I am sure I will touching base with you for help.


  2. Maria,

    I love the phrase "then learning happens anytime, anywhere". I think that you are right that we, as adults, now do this and we need to allow/encourage our students to do the same. It does seem to require some thought about the best ways to go about it, though, doesn't it?


  3. Cathy's observation about complacency vs. half-marathon made be laugh! So true of you! (of many of us, I suppose!!)

    I'm looking forward to working through lots of these issues TOGETHER this coming year. So blessed to have you in my PLN.

  4. Although I am not reading the book, I am reading the blogs...what a powerful phrase...
    "blowing the walls off"...not only true with technology but with collaboration as well.

  5. I love that we both referred to that same quote about blowing the walls off the classroom! And you are absolutely right - we need to focus on what we can do with what we have. Small steps will lead to big changes! I'm so looking forward to connecting with you more this year, Maria!

  6. Maria,

    I'm reminded of the adage, "Success breeds success" so starting small is especially important. When working with my student teachers, my writing group, and my family, I often remark "Pick one things and do it well. That will motive you to do more." I'm so glad for a PLN that encourages everyone and shares both successes and perceived failures.

  7. Maria,
    I love your honesty in commenting on the idea of your technology resources being limited being an excuse for complacency- I am totally guilty of that. Thanks for pushing my thinking.

  8. We've all coasted at one point or another (if you've taught long enough, that is!). Darren knows this too because he reminds us to never stop asking what is next; to never be content where you are. I know in my micro board that it is easy to rest on your laurels. It is easy to look around, and think, heck, I am fine. And we came from a time when we would never have known any differently. But here we are, connecting with teachers across grades, disciplines, subject areas, and time zones. We can never go back. We can never say that 'this is good enough' again.

    For some, this perspective may be intimidating. I don't thing it is for the #cyberpd teacher.

    Your frank reflection is perfect.


  9. Maria,
    I thank you for your honesty...all we can do is support each other in our endeavors to move forward-now that you know what will you do differently?
    I think blogging is a huge ownership tool for kids and seeing how they progress when you get going is amazing. One thing that helped me is starting with a small group who became the "blog coaches" and then they were able to other kiddos-we followed the ask 3 then me rule. We were able to blog once a week-one thing I want to do better is commenting-didn't get to that enough...and would like to have more of a global focus on how to make a difference as well...
    Just like Pete the Cat always says, remember, "It's all good!"

  10. Maria,
    I too have found myself using my lack of technology as an excuse not to incorporate more into my classroom. I need to to stop using that as an excuse and start doing more.

  11. Maria-
    I know once you start, and starting small is a blessing, you won't ever look back! Just take the dive!