"It's not about any one of them. It's about all of them pulling together." Alan November (p. 46)
Today is the second reflection for our #cyberPD title: Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age. Jill Fisch is hosting today's event on her blog, My Primary Passion, for today's discussion of chapters 3-4. Remember to stop by her blog to link your posts for today's reflection. It's quite a conversation that has been growing this month!
In chapters 3-4 Alan November discusses two roles for students in learning: Student as Scribe and Student as Researcher.
Student as Researcher: In this role, there is a student each day responsible for finding answers to questions in class. Again, a collaborative role for the greater good of the learning community. November reminds us, "We can't assume that if students can read and write, they can search the web. (p. 50)" Having a student as researcher provides opportunities to help students improve searching techniques, understand copyright, and teach them about effective research tools. "Student researchers learn to answer better questions, find real answers, and apply the information they uncover in their work. (p. 50)" Students also learn ways to curate an share information effectively and efficiently with others. November makes library media specialists everywhere happy with his discussion of the significance of their role in the process.
Do Individuals Own the Learning?
It is easy to get caught up in the role of learners in November's work, but I feel there is a bigger point he is making here. Originally I thought his point was that individuals own the learning, but more and more I feel his point is that groups own the learner. It is the collaborative community that strengthens the learning and grows the learner. It's the fact that what each individual does matters to the learning of the entire community. When I saw Terry Thomas and Jeff Anderson speak at NCTE in 2011, they talked about this collaborative, interdependent, zone of learning in which we can all accomplish greater learning together than individually. I found it fascinating to consider the way groups scaffold learning.
As I've followed this year's #cyberPD discussion I am struck by two things. The first is the way the group owns the learning. This year's #cyberPD hasn't been just about reading and retelling main ideas and key details, instead it has been synthesizing, sharing, pushing, and growing the thinking. Participants are using applications to create representations of learning, to share deeper thinking, and to find classroom possibilities. They're collecting posts they've stumbled upon that develop the idea of creating environments in which students TRULY own the learning. They're commenting to one another, asking questions, rethinking ideas. Michelle Nero talks about this in her post which discusses the impact of #cyberPD.
- Lesa Haney reflects on the structures of school in supporting learning.
- Amy Rudd's Intro to Video Scribe about ways to share information.
- Julie Balen's Video Scribe Reflection: Students as tutorial designers.
The second thing I've noticed is everyone is taking away different pieces (Jog of posts here); making the learning work for them. Do we let children do this? How often do we, in our age of standardized testing and response, expect everyone to come away with the same ideas? Yet, as readers is that even possible? Is it interesting? I'm fascinated as I move from post to post and read the take-aways of my colleagues.
In the Primary Classroom
Once again I was left pondering what this means in a primary classroom. Our notes are often created together on large charts that hang around the room. Our research is often completed collaboratively. I'm thinking there are ways I can use the ideas discussed by November to share learning more effectively beyond our learning community with a more global audience.
- Connector: (similar to work of scribe) finds connections to learning outside of our classroom and shares them either through blog, video, or audio.
- Photo Team: (similar to scribe) take pictures of learning and choose daily photo (or weekly collection) to share with others
- Reflector: (similar to scribe, but more about synthesis) shares learning in narrative video format or VoiceThread as a resource for friends in the learning community, but also to help parents and other classroom communities know about what we are learning
- Wonder Team: (similar to researcher) perhaps a wonder team could collect wonders, choose one to research, and search for answers to share with the community
These are some possibilities for helping to strengthen the learning within the community while sharing learning outside the community.