Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Who Owns the Learning? Ch. 5-6 #CyberPD

As I read Chapter 5 and 6, I felt more comfortable as an educator. There were not any views that were shaking me up and I was excited to reinforce so many ideas that I have been thinking about this summer.  On pg. 68 “..the world from one particular viewpoint.” Solidified my decision that I will be starting a class blog for Room 228 this year.  As I reflect on the chapters and the bigger picture of the book, I realize that I need to “break down the walls” to begin to help my students explore empathy. We have explored empathy through conversation mainly around our read aloud and other picture books, but I had not considered exploration through the Internet. In the introduction as Alan interviewed top executives, he found this trait to be one of the most important ones that they are looking for in hiring their employees. I believe it is never too early to begin to open the walls and explore different locations through skype, blog about our class activities, which allow for global comments and continue to grow professionally by continuing to grow through PLN including twitter and #5thchat.

Throughout the book, Alan suggests "that teachers have a hard time giving up control and not bringing all the answers to the table" p. 69.  I personally don’t feel that way about the integration of technology. My struggle is with integrating it so that it is part of the learning and not an add on like whip cream and cherries on a sundae.  I am shifting in my thinking primarily because of a conversation at our district’s tech house last week. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, I was focusing on being restricted by the number of digital tools in my class along with getting hung up on the best app.  After the conversations which went something like “don’t focus on the tool or the app, focus on the learning outcome and if it is Internet based any device will be able to access it.” Those words shifted my entire summer thinking on July 11 along with reading this book, I am positive that I will have more to write about this topic because I only have about a month to make some huge decisions. But one has already been made Room 228 will be blogging next year and breaking down the walls. Thanks to conversations with Mary Lee, Karen and Cathy.

Thanks to Laura for hosting this week on her blog: Ruminate and Invigorate along with Cathy (Reflect and Refine)  and Jill (My Primary Passion). Together the three of you really encouraged me to stretch my thinking and connecting with other colleagues is amazing. I am looking forward to the twitter chat #CyberPD.


  1. Thank you for honestly sharing your struggle..." My struggle is with integrating it so that it is part of the learning and not an add on like whip cream and cherries on a sundae. ..." It is a struggle for many teachers, especially if technology is only available at certain times in their schools and sometime use that as an excuse. It reminds me of something you wrote earlier about using technology as a method that pen and paper can not do. The questions of audience and purpose, along with starting small...should hopefully begin to "break down the walls" and move toward empathy for you! Yay for the classroom blog! :) Again...thanks for pushing and opening my thinking!

  2. Maria,
    I too highlighted November's quote "that teachers have a hard time giving up control and not bringing all the answers to the table" (p. 69) because I actually do see this in the school's I've worked in. It has been a school culture that views the Teacher as Expert rather than Learning #1. This is such a shift in thinking - one that we need to work with administrators, teachers, students and parents to understand better. I am reminded of what Ian Jukes called Exponential Revolution - the creation of and access to information is exponentially increasing.

    See his example here:

    Technology is fueling this revolution, but the essential skills needed are still very human - critical thinking and evaluating, collaborating and being ethical users of information.

    Thanks for your thoughts!


  3. I loved that 'summary' comment you shared, Maria, about focusing first on the outcomes needed (sought) & then see what is needed to get there. Great to hear, and all the rest of the process will fall into place. Thanks!

  4. I too am often hung up on not having all of the access to technology that I would like (and I partially solve that by buying some of my own tools), but I totally agree with you that this should not be our excuse for pushing forward. I look forward to hearing more about the decisions you make about blogging with your class.

  5. Maria,
    It seems this book, last year's Opening Minds title, and picture books do go hand in hand in conversations of empathy. I have thought often about empathy within our community, but need to do more to extend beyond our community.

    As I have read this book I have often thought of our conversations around Making Learning Whole. The two seem very similar in underlying message. When thinking about global empathy I am reminded of "play out of town" and "learn from the team...and other teams."

    I am so excited about your class blog. I have a feeling this conversation will carry across the year.


  6. I can just about hear the crash from those walls tumbling down!

    I'm not new to blogging with kids, but taking it out into the world with definitely be a growth edge for me! BRING IT!

  7. Maria,

    I liked your point about not using lack of technology as an excuse. I think that we all use many excuses to avoid this type of teaching - not because we don't want to do it but because we are afraid. It is a big shift to make and so we delay it because it is so new and scary -- at least it is for me.


  8. I can hear the excitement pouring in throughout your post! Love it!! I have used a class blog for the past couple of years but am looking forward to using it in new, better ways to help us make connections that will tear down those walls. I just started building our Weebly site last night and can't wait to have my 4th graders work on it. Here's to learning and connecting together in the upcoming year!

  9. Maria,
    I am excited to hear about how your changes in thinking about blogging will grow your class and I especially like the idea of focusing on the learning outcome and everything else will fall into place. Excited to hear about how things go with the walls down...