You can find last week's conversation at Jill Fisch's blog, and the first week was hosted here. Other #cyberPD information:
- Our Event Jog: Collection of all #cyberPD posts
- Our Pinterest Board: A collaborative board with #cyberPD related pins
- Final Chat: Our final Twitter chat, #cyberPD, will be Monday, July 22nd 8PM EST
"WE" Own the Learning
I suppose the digital shift began about four years ago for me. When I think about the changes since this time I realize the biggest change hasn't been the digital tools, it has been the learning community. Yes, we use Kidblog, Shelfari, Weebly, Pixie, PhotoBooth, and other tools for learning, but sometimes students still prefer markers, crayons, pencils, and scissors. Our attention isn't on the tool, but on the message we want to share with others and the best way to share it. All the changes have really stayed grounded in solid pedagogy from authors like Debbie Miller, Fountas & Pinnell, Katie Ray, Donald Graves, Stephanie Harvey, Regie Routman, Troy Hicks, and many others.
The shift toward digital learning has required us to consider purpose and audience more thoughtfully. This shift has resulted in students having more ownership of their learning, more choice in creating, more ways to collaborate, a great number of tools for communication at their fingertips, as well as a new learning dynamic which is much more student-to-student and much less teacher-to-student. Now students work more for one another and our community has become much more about the learners in our classroom. I hear them asking about friends' posts, requesting friends to read their latest writing, and going to each other for answers. I've loved it!
As I've read November's book, I've realized this shift isn't enough. Reading this book has made me realize that I now need to make the next shift toward more global learning and collaboration. Not only do we need to support each other in learning, but we need to share our learning, and rely more on the resources available beyond our classroom.
In last year's #cyberPD event Peter Johnston reminded us in Opening Minds,
"A group can have intelligence that can be more (or less) than the sum of its members' intelligence. Group intelligence is related to...the average social sensitivity of the group. (p. 96)" Peter Johnston
November reminds us that our "group" needs to go beyond our classroom, "We need to start teaching our students global empathy by developing their ability to understand and appreciate other points of view (p. 65)." One doesn't have to watch the news for too long to know why global empathy is necessary. What are some ways to "connect...students to the world and to provide them with authentic experiences of working with people from different cultures (November p. 66)?"
- Skype is one way to grow our learning community by working with other classrooms and experts.
- Class Twitter account (@snowleopards1M) will also allow us to follow authors, other learning communities, and content experts as well as to share our learning with others.
- Weebly will continue to house our shared blog. I like the way Weebly Pro allows me to have private pages for families, but public pages for sharing, curating, and collaboration (see more here).
- ePals: I don't know much about this, but do plan to check it out. I'm thinking, however, that collaborating with others classes on Twitter may accomplish the same thing.
- #globalclassroom: This is another group I need to learn more about. I'm thinking Deb Frazier can help me with that.
The Work & Legacy of Contribution
Participation in #cyberPD always been a positive learning experience, but this year seemed to be a perfect illustration of November's point. The book taught me much, but the conversation really pushed my thinking as participants shared their take-aways, applied the learning to their educational situations, researched more about topics, discovered applications that might work for learning communities, and gave them a try. Most of all, participants shared their learning with all of us. Each step pushed the entire group farther faster. I will spend the next weeks pondering all they have taught me and know the legacy of this work will live on for me to revisit on our jog and on Pinterest.
When I begin this school year I will be searching for ways to "redefine the role of the learner as a contributor, collaborator, and leader in the learning culture (November p. 6)" and the global learning community.