This summer, the ISTE Independent School Special Interest Group has selected Cathy Davidson's work, Now You See It for this summers selection.
We will use this discussion forum as the anchor for our discussions. Each week, a discussion prompt as a starter for conversation.
In July, one of the #isedchat Twitter chats will be devoted to discussion of the book.
At the end, we will be planning a culminating event for all to attend.
I look forward to the conversation
Hopefully you have had the chance to get and start Now You See It. Time to post the first discussion question.
In Location 415 (I do not know the page number, as I am reading on my Kindle) Cathy Davidson states:
The process of unlearning in order to relearn demands a new concept of knowledge not as a thing but as a process, not as a noun but as a verb, not as a grade-point average or test score but as a continuum.
Later in location 1072, she notes:
Are we teaching them in a way that will prepare them for a world of learning and for human relationships in which they interweave their interests into the vast, decentralized, yet entirely interconnected content online?
So my question is, what are you doing in your classroom or in your school to support unlearning and then reconstructing to provide opportunities to build their own learning and connections for their individual interests?
Hi Vinnie, and other ISers. Hope summer is going well for all of you. :)
This will be a decidedly "un-techy" response to Vinnie's huge question, but here goes...
I think the process of learning, and 'unlearning' as Cathy refers to it (isn't unlearning always part of learning?) is useful as a practical matter for K-12 teachers. Depending on when we catch students in their developmental continuum - I get them toward the end, in 10th-12th grade - we can move them toward seeing learning as an ongoing and never-ending process by asking them to reflect frequently on how they learn. I often ask students to think about a learning moment they've had outside of school, and what made it effective, and then how they've continued to learn in that domain. Often, they describe learning how to ride a bike, or to ski, or something like that. Then we move to a more social kind of learning that involved other people, like a sports team or hiking group or something. Usually, after some discussion, we begin to see that learning improves with feedback from other people and that powerful, transformative learning is connected. I then ask them to think about this in an online context, and share my experiences of learning online. Do students have that experience, I ask, like on Facebook or Twitter or something? That gets us to understanding the 21st century, where information/knowledge is networked and abundant. Just having this discussion helps my students understand that I don't see learning, and nor should they, as a thing to achieve for a grade, or as a destination to reach. It's ongoing.
For the last two years, I've begun the school year with my students reading some of Marc Prensky's essays about learning in a digital age (http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/). I want my students to understand that I see them as participants in a digital age. My pedagogy follows this understanding - class becomes cooperative, inquiry-/project-based, and blended (brick-and-mortar+online). I expect that they will create community online, and share their work with others. Their assignments allow them to pursue their interests within our content area.
I think that gets a bit at Vinnie's question. Looking forward to the discussion.
Plug: we're having this conversation in 140 characters or less on Twitter, via #isedchat on Thu, July 26 at 9pmET. Hope you all can join.
Two quotes I found interested:
p. 153-4 "If kids cannot pay attention in school, it may be less because they have ADHD and more because we have a mismatch between the needs and desires of students today and the national standards-based education based on the efficiencies of a classroom created before World War I"
p.152 "Following Columbine, study after study posited corrosive moral, social, and attentional effects of video games - and, by extension, the Internet - on our children's lives." The idea that Columbine was such a turning point for national attitude towards gaming. I was living abroad at the time, and while I knew of the event and saw Bowling for Columbine a few years later, I guess I didn't realize the national impact that that had.
Do any of you use video games in your classroom?
I have used game creation software like Scratch and Game Maker along the same lines as that amazing school centered on gaming that she talks about (starting at section 1610 on Kindle) - but never a whole curriculum based on gaming. It's been more of a year-end reward for students, with the goal mostly being encouraging higher-order logic skills through self-designed projects ... and having fun. For the most part, the kids who create the most elaborate projects have had the most experience at home with gaming ("vidiots", as one parent called her kids), but they all learn the thought processes for beginning computer programming.
I love her ideas in that same gaming-school section about making boss-level challenges for the students to encourage them to bring their theoretical gaming skills to life. It's very deliberate and engaging, although I admit I'm at a loss for how to make something like that a reality in my classroom.
Is anyone out there making use of gaming in this or other fun ways?
That's great that you are integrating Scratch and Game Maker. My goal is to get Scratch into our middle school curriculum somewhere.
I started using SimCity for about a 4 week unit when I taught 7th grade science to talk about civil engineering, systems thinking, and sustainability. The teacher who took over this year has continued the project, but I'm not sure he really believes in it. I think he listens to the feedback from parents that it's a waste of time and not educational and from kids that it's hard and isn't sure how to justify it, even though I've given him loads of research and talked him through the arguments for it.
That was one thing I found interesting in using SimCity - not all kids were happy to play the game. They were confused why we would do this in school and even sharing my reasoning didn't convince them, and then when the game turned out to be complicated and messy, they were frustrated. I know a lot of my students would have much preferred to sit in their chair while I talked, take notes, pass the test, get the A. Even students that I saw having fun or figuring it out would claim that they hated the project.
SimCity sounds like a cool way to dig in to all of those topics you were covering. You'd think the kids would have grooved on that. Kids' responses to what I think are brilliant classroom ideas often surprise me - I guess they're keeping me "real."
Thanks for talking about how kids don't always get on board, especially when something that looks like it should "just" be a game turns out to require actual work. That has always been an issue for me with going between interactive websites and web-based research - "What? READ? But I'm on a computer!" That shift in expectations for kids is so tricky for them to overcome. I wish I had a Mary Poppins-style bag of tricks for overcoming that double-clutch reaction from students, but no luck so far. :-) One thing I have loved about designing games with Scratch or Game Maker is that the act of creation may cause some frustration, but never those issues of mismatched expectations between teacher (be active! engage!) and student (I can passively let this wash over me...).
I love what you said about students later claiming they hated the project. I have seen a similar effect on the other end of the spectrum - often the kids who do the least (just a couple of characters that do something very minor that seems hilarious to them) think it's the best thing we did all year. Go figure!
Great to see you here Julie, fellow OESian! :)