Posted by: Kris Woods | January 28, 2009

Are they learning what I am teaching?

Buffy Hamilton, media specialist at Creekview High School, has begun a meme of what she plans to teach not only to her students, but faculty and administration as well.  She includes the following:

  1. Literacy
  2. Digital Citizenship
  3. Collaboration
  4. Personal Learning Networks
  5. Authority
  6. Library as Information Commons

Buffy gives a comprehensive list with valid, effective points for any media program. Considering the new AASL Standards for 21st Century Learning include elements of skills, dispositions, responsibilities, and self-assessment strategies, I think I will concentrate on how I plan to work with students to meet and exceed these elements and standards.

  1. Think critically: Our schools have become assessment-driven to the point that thinking skills are not developed to the level needed for a student to become a contributing member of society who is going to make a difference.  Projects based on fact collection with no discernable component of asking why may increase the knowledge (but what is knowledge? Can what they “learn” really just be found in a couple clicks?) but does nothing with the ability to apply that knowledge in a new situation.  Collaborate to make every inquiry project connected to an authentic audience with a product created for purpose of use.
  2. Connectivity:  Are we connecting our students with the outside world?  The Horizon Report 2009 states, “increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate” (p.5).  Authentic audiences are a result of connecting with the outside audience.  How are we connecting with others?  Classroom blogging (real blogging) and wikis with comments and collaboration from the wider world; interaction with experts, authors; a social consciousness of students are goals I have for my students.  Service components are an integral facet of a well-rounded person.  Can students use social networking in the schools to create a school community dedicated to service as well as knowledge?
  3. Personal LearningSelf-monitoring of progress for students through use of data to inform students of where they are, where they need to be and how to  formulate a plan to get there.  In reading aesthetics, I can help by counseling students on their progress.  Are they pushing themselves to investigate new interests or are they jumping the hoops to say they completed the reading assignment?  What is their personal criterion for evaluating progress?  It is not the number of pages or the amount of books.  It is the internal desire to seek information, be determined to find it, use it to the fullest potential, and understand how to improve the process.  The goal is not the completion of the work.  The goal is the learning along the journey.
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