Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Change as a Teacher to Benefit Today's Learners


It's a well know fact that I have been teaching for 20+ years and I always tell people that one of the best parts of my job is that I rarely teach the same way twice and that the pedagogy and teaching styles are constantly changing. 
(And thankfully the fashion has changed as well!)

Students have also changed quite a bit from when I first started teaching in 1990!  Today's students have more of a voice in the classroom, they are digital natives and they are greater producers of content than students from the past.

There are many things that we can do to better meet the needs of this new generation of learners.  
Here is a list of some of them:

#1 Objectives
Everyday we post the objectives for our lessons.  We make sure to incorporate the objective naturally into our lesson and help students to understand the purpose for their learning.  Here is the ultimate way to post objectives in the classroom.  I need to do this!

#2 - GAFE - Google Apps for Education.  This year I worked particularly diligently to incorporate more of the Google Apps into my lessons to meet the learning outcomes of our curriculum.
One of my favorites was the use of the research tool in Google Docs and Slides.  

Because GAFE are constantly being improved and updated, I make sure to read Google's Blog daily and recently I also took the time to become a Google Certified Educator.  Next stop is to become a Google Certified Trainer.

#2 - Keeping up with new trends in digital technology.
This year I implemented digital badges, new student response systems, coding and supercharged my flipped videos with tools and apps that add engagement to the lessons.

Digital Badges are an online representation of achievement or skill. Remember your Scout patches? Well just imagine those in a digital form. You can learn more about Digital Badges by clicking here.  I will also be facilitating a webinar for Intel's Teachers Engage at the end of April. Click here if you would like to register for the free webinar.

Student Response Systems- I have been talking about these a lot this year.  Learn about Kahoot and Geddit  just to mention two of them.  SRS bring a new digital way for students to participate and communicate in the classroom.

Coding has hit the education world like a storm.  This year I introduced my students to Scratch and allowed them to experience coding for themselves.  And soon we will be programming a Sphero robot.  More about that in a minute.

Supercharged Flipped Videos - To bring a new dimension to my flipped lessons, this year I incorporated a few new tools such as eduCanon, Teachem, Blendspace, HapYak and Movenote

#3 - A 21st Century Classroom Redesign.  Yes, we are still working on our redesign project. It takes time to reform a classroom.  Our student desks have arrived from our Ripon Education Foundation Grant and we are in the process of putting them together one by one. Meanwhile, Judy, the treasurer of the organization presented me with a certificate.  It was a great moment.  We are so blessed!

#4 - My Next Adventure - Over the next few weeks I will be taking on the challenge of using robotics in our classroom.  My good friend, Naomi Harm, has graciously offered to send our classroom a Sphero.  This sphere can be programmed using an iPad. This is going to be a wonderful adventure!  I can't wait to share our learning experience with this robot.

I hope you will give one of these adventures a try and bring a new dimension to your classroom to benefit today's learners.  After all, things have changed quite a bit from the past:

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