Cindy Martin got me thinking with her recent blog post Reflections on Instructional Methods
My research groups do not need to work on a project. They need to work on the skills needed to do a research project. I do not need to feel pressured into producing some elaborate end result with them, we need to work on the process in a manner that allows them to own their own learning and for me to own my teaching
I feel like I have been going down this same road for a while but have not quite managed to put all of the pieces together. Some of the reason for this is probably my long standing preference for teaching ‘on the fly’ as opposed to planning ahead of time, but I also think they are tricky pieces to fit together. So, I thought that in this post I would just list the pieces and see if I can get them to fit at a later date.
Piece #1: Personal Learning Networks
This is the piece that I have only just started to become aware of. In the Digiteen project Vicki Davis had her students use an igoogle page to aggregate feeds from different sites and in their reflections it was evident that this had really helped them. The Common Craft inspired video below also presents a really powerful argument for including networked learning skills in the process skills we are teaching our students.
Piece #2: The MYP Design Cycle.
My school is an accredited IB Middle Years Program school and as the Technology Teacher it has been my job to teach students about the design cycle. I have found this cycle to be an invaluable tool for helping my students deal with the different challenges inherent in doing projects. Kim Cofino does a great job describing how this cycle can be used in her post entitled Creating Independent Learners: The MYP Technology Design Cycle.
Piece #3: The Teacher
Chris Betcher’s blog post called Is Teaching a Dirt Word? has gotten me thinking about the role of the teacher in a process centered classroom. I think that in order for me to be really effective in a classroom that is becoming more and more student centred and process oriented I am going to have to become more clear in my own mind about what I am teaching (it’s certainly not content).
Those are the pieces so far. Now all I have to do is complete the puzzle.