iVie Public Service Announcement Unit
Check out my Digital Curriculum Project. I designed a unit to guide my students in making a Public Service Announcement under the same guidelines as the iVIE Film Contest held by SDCOE every year.
iVie Public Service Announcement Unit
Click here to read my comments and annotations on Lave and Wenger;s Situated Learning Excerpts. My reflection on the Close Reading activity is below, in QQCE form.
Quote: "Notions like those of “intrinsic rewards” in empirical studies of apprenticeship focus quite narrowly on task knowledge and skill as the activities learned. Such knowledge is of course important: but a deeper sense of the value of participation to the community and the learner lies in becoming part of the community." (111)
Although this quote is specifically talking about motivation I think it sums up the article nicely. The authors' main argument was that Legitimate Peripheral Participation suggests a shift away from teacher-driven factual learning, to a more student-driven communal kind of learning.
Questions: Although I can easily envision this working for college students (as we are doing in our own class), and maybe even high school, I am not sure how to envision it for all students. I agree with many of the statements and arguments the authors make, but I wonder how it would play out in practice? What about after-school clubs and activities as communities of Legitimate Peripheral Participation?
Connection: I was able to make a lot of connections to the text from my own experiences, as you can read in the comments. In relation to our class, My participation in the 20% has mirrored this LPP process somewhat. When I needed information about homebrewing, I joined a few Google+ communities to learn more. While I started as a lurker as a "newcomer", I gradually learned terminology and community norms to operate by, and felt more comfortable commenting on posts or asking questions.
Epiphany: I liked the statement,
We hope to make it clear. . .that learning through legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) takes place no matter which educational form provides a context for learning, or whether there is any intentional education form at all
Our students are practicing Situated Learning and LPP in their lives regardless of whether or not we are encouraging it in class. Much like Wagner described his son's passion for Minecraft and initiative in finding resources and communities, our students have passions that they are pursuing and it is up to us as educators to harness that motivation and bring it to classroom learning as well.
Ch.7: Knowing, Making, and Playing
Quote: “Riddles make sense only retroactively”. This summarized the book for me, because it is now starting to come together, at the end.
Question: One question you have based on the chapter.
Connection: I love the quote, “All systems of play are at base learning systems,” and it reminded me a lot of both EDL621 and this course. The freedom to play around or complete assignments within a game like system are an inherent way for people to operate. I think about how most students in elementary school tend to have a positive attitude until middle school or high school, which, coincidentally, is when school get more “serious” for the sake of rigor, but maybe that doesn’t have to be the case.
Epiphany: I love the idea of “Knowing, making, and playing.” It’s a concept or structure that I’d really like to incorporate into my lesson and unit planning.
Ch.8: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Quote: “...the process of knowing stops being about one’s relationship to others and becomes about one’s relationship to the environment.” I took this to mean more of a focus on the collective itself. Perhaps members come and go, which is something my students are used to, but the collective still exists. Collectives can be fluid and changing.
Question: How can educators teach to this”hanging out, messing around, and geeking out”?
Connection: Geeking out takes time and I wish I had more opportunity for it! Our minimum days were largely taken away this year, which makes staff development, planning and exploration hard. I wish I had more time for playing and making and geeking out on all these resources I’ve been finding, rather than just a few.
Epiphany: I think it is so interesting that young people have created this culture of connectivity, so much so that we are reading academic writings about “geeking out” and “messing around”. I think the acceptance and study of the shifting culture is great though, as that is the only real way to help them be successful in a changing world.
Ch.9: The New Culture of Learning for a World of Constant Change
Quote: “And as the game gets larger and more complicated, the new culture of learning works even better.”
Question: How to bring all teachers, and admin, up to speed?
Connection: As more people have posted in this cohort’s collective, it has become more and more useful and enriching.
Epiphany: This whole book should be required reading for beginning teachers and veteran teachers alike. I wonder what the varying opinions are.
This is my Storify for the second ed chat I took part in. The topic was automation, and how to use technology to be more efficient.
Ch.4: Learning in the Collective
Quote: “They [collectives] constitute, in effect, an ocean of learning, providing innumerable possibilities for how people fish.” I chose this quote because it really sums up what this chapter says, using the clever old analogy. No longer are we teaching specific skills, like fishing, but providing opportunities to be innovative and communities that support that kind of inquiry.
Question: What about introverts? As an introvert myself I wonder how much is being said for the lurker, the quiet participant, or is there no room for introverts in tomorrow’s world of school?
Connection: The information about collectives really reminded me of the need for digital citizenship. Collectives can be amazing but most of the examples from the book were mature adult collectives. I remember the comments Wagner made in his book about the communities his son sought out for minecraft advice, and I’ve seen similar behavior in my 11 year old step son recently. Can school force a collective on students, or is it more beneficial for students to seek out learning collectives based on their interests?
Epiphany: As I read this chapter I realized I’ve been through this process before. When I learned how to knit I found a website called Ravelry that was brand new and only allowing people in on an invite basis. The initial concept behind Ravelry was just a place for people that knit or crochet to keep track of projects, especially details like yarn and dye lots, and share patterns. Within a year, it had blown up in the fiber community, specifically for the forums. Groups existed that had nothing to do with knitting, like the Beer and Fiber group I’m in, or groups for TV shows where people will “knit-a-long” to the episode together, and post or use the chat feature. Eventually, the connections were driving the knitting just as much as the knitting was driving the connections.
Ch.5: The Personal with the Collective
Quote: “Substitute ‘new culture of learning’ for ‘jazz’ and ‘traditional forms of education’ for ‘composed, formal music’” when referencing how jazz demands a different style but doesn’t mean we throw away classical music. Whether discussing how blogs are more useful and dependable than the NY Times, or how the classroom has no way to measure success in collective, the point of this chapter was that there may be room for both, but there needs to be a greater emphasis on collectives than what exists now.
Question: What research has been done on creating online and real life collectives between schools and parents and/or partner organizations?
Connection: This chapter makes the point that “almost every difficult issue we face today is a collective, rather than a personal, problem” and immediately made me recall the lectures we watched on Jane McGonigal that addressed how collectives can help us solve both collective and personal problems, if it is a supportive collective with similar goals. It also echoes the story of the Ryerson study group.
Epiphany: This chapter talks a lot about the learning that takes place as a student and a learner, but I kept thinking how beneficial it is to me as a teacher and as a professional. It is just as important for leaders and teachers to be part of collectives that support each other, share, and challenge each other, as it is for students who are looking to explore and learn.
Ch.6: We Know More Than We Can Say
Quote: This chapter talks mostly about the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. The quote that sums it up best is, “traditional notions of learning can do little, if anything, with either this passion or this tacit knowledge because they are precisely the things that cannot be made explicit through answers.” I liked how this chapter recognized that there is a place for explicit learning, some things (like the example of the speed of light) are not going to change and are best just to learn as fact and remember. Generations before us have done the hard work, and it is a supported and tested fact. However many other things in school could be replaced with tacit learning.
Question: I would ask for more information about how to apply the “set of constraints” to explorative learning to create a problem.
Connection: The discussion of how sometimes the questions are more important than the answer is something I can relate to with the 20% project. Every time I answer a question I feel like I have 2 new ones. Many times when I give my students opportunities to search for answers to a problem or a question, they stop with the answer. I am learning to ask more probing questions, and get students thinking deeper about answers.
Epiphany: When reading this chapter I recalled reading this blog post earlier, I noticed that this chapter definitely relates directly to #2 and #4. There are some things that some educators have a hard time accepting, but just need to deal with. Times have changed and its best just to be flexible and do what is best to teach our students.
Ch.1: Arc-of-Life Learning
Quote: The quote that really sums up this chapter is, “...learning is taking place in day-to-day life through the fusion of vast informational resources with very personal, specific needs and action.” All of the stories were just everyday stories, just day-to-day life. The point of this chapter was to show that resources abound and the ease of access makes it so that people can learn and connect with minimal effort, if motivated to.
Question: Many communities can be positive but what about trolls and bullies? How do we protect our younger students, while still allowing for authentic connections?
Connection: Another quote that resonated with my own experience with the 20% project was that, “everything- and everyone- around us can be seen as resources for learning.” Just by participating in the project and talking about it, I have found resources in the unlikeliest of places. Not only can it build new connections but it can strengthen existing ones.
Epiphany: This chapter brought to mind my own site’s PLCs and how we are generally on our own to meet and discuss needs, share resources, and drive our own learning. At first this felt very strange and leaderless, but after short time we realized it was much more useful. For that system to be effective, leadership must support that and be responsive to needs as well.
Ch.2: A Tale of Two Cultures
Quote: “One of the basic principles of this kind of cultivation is that you don’t interfere with the process, because it is the process itself that is interesting.” I thought this best represented this chapter because it was all about “the process”. Classrooms of the past were too “mechanical” in nature, just a series of tasks to master, with little regard for the process. Whereas the type of learning students experience outside of school is entirely about the process of learning something. The author argues that by viewing schools as more of an environment the focus shifts less to adapting and more to being fluid and evolving.
Question: Will lesson plans and extensive planning become obsolete?
Connection: One of the most interesting thing about the 20% project is watching the various processes of learning of our peers. The community aspect is what is interesting to me, both different learners and communities of like-minded learners.
Epiphany: After reading this chapter I recall many teachers that I have worked with as a sub or TA before I got my teaching contract, and the best classrooms were always those that allowed organic things to happen. A discussion that led to something different yet valuable, a science experiment that perhaps failed but provided a valuable experience, but how do we create learning like this all the time in a consistent manner?
Ch.3: Embracing Change
Quote: "Change motivates and challenges. it makes it clear when things are obsolete or have outlived their usefulness." This chapter was all about why the ways of the past are being left in the past, whether we like it or not, in favor of more efficient and more valuable experiences. I think this is hard for the older generation to accept, as they've created their static repertoire of materials that haven't changed much, due to the encyclopedia-model type of teaching. It is hard enough for new teachers to wrap their head around, but as teachers try new things out the hope is that they will gradually embrace the change.
Question: Coming from a perspective of someone that works with at-risk students, I notice some of my students crave structure and look to school as one of the few sources of stability in life. How do we maintain comfort of stability of the classroom environment, while pushing students to explore, create, and learn in an ever changing digital landscape?
Connection: This course has been a huge change from traditional graduate classes. The fully online nature of it makes it different of course, but with the use of our community and our various social media requirements, I feel more connected with my peers than I did in any classes in college before. My teaching credential program was also at SDSU, also run as a cohort, and I did feel close to those peers. This is the only other time I've felt that way. and I have met only a handful of them face to face. Not only have I connected with my peers, but I find myself meeting people at conferences that I follow on twitter, and then following and communicating with them after through blogs or twitterchats. The learning process is so much more thorough and accountable this way, and I can feel the benefits of this "change" first hand.
Epiphany: My "a-ha" moment in this chapter came when I read the quote "What happens, then, when you are dealing with change on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis?" which almost perfectly describes the atmosphere of my classroom. At the juvenile detention facility I work in, my unit is mostly kids that got in trouble at various camps and are sent to us as a sort of "time-out". I rarely have a student more than 2 weeks, and sometimes it can be a few days or even a few hours. The old way of teaching is difficult, frustrating, and often inefficient. Perhaps this new learning process provides a solution to that.
Wagner's book left me with a lot to think about. The prompt for this final reflection really helped me to synthesize everything that was inspiring into specific actions I could take.
My 7 Survival Skills
I thought that Wagner had really nailed them, but in the last chapter I was really drawn to the 8 ideals of Francis Parker Charter Schools. My 7 are a mashup of Francis Parker's and Tony Wagner's.
1. Inquiry and Problem Solving
One huge concept from Wagner's book was the notion that we no longer need to focus on content. Our role as educators is to teach students to make sense of material, to ask good questions about it, and to know where to find the information needed. That also means letting students take the wheel on their learning, in order to really experiencing meaningful inquiry, like Wagner describe with his son's experience with Minecraft. The Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School agrees that it's important students "show intellectual curiosity and wonder about the world" (Wagner, 244).
I experimented just a little in the transfer of control from teacher to students with a unit we just did on the play "The Crucible". We started with a KWL chart about colonial America and the Salem Witch trials. Each class came up with a list of questions they had about the time, and then I gave them time to research 5 questions that they had. The lesson was super engaging for them, as they created their own learning based on reviewing their own prior knowledge and choosing what to pursue. I could take it a step further and have them design project that responds to the accusations as if they were mayor, incorporating inquiry and problem solving. Even further could have them identify and research groups that may be singled out similarly in modern society.
As Wagner points out, most of our students today have only experienced leadership "that relies on obedience versus the kind of reasoning and persuasion that is the new leadership style demanded by business"(Wagner,26). Working as a team, perhaps without any distinct leadership at all, is a growing trend in all fields today, due to the successful models put forth by tech businesses in Silicon Valley. Collaboration becomes even more important as more schools go to blended or fully online courses, in which students lose some proximity to each other, as a way of maintaining a sense of community rather than isolation.
For my classroom, collaboration has to mean more than just group work. I like projects that teach students how to give and receive feedback on projects, as that is a real world skill they will definitely need to learn. I also like students working alone on parts of projects and then bringing the pieces together cohesively. The opposite idea is also worth exploring: students working together to collect resources and then producing separate individual projects. All of these scenarios can be seen in college courses or career paths.
3. Imagination and Creativity
I included this as an essential survival skill for emotional health. I didn't really find my own creativity until I was older, but I felt like it really helped me find "me". At a time when students are forming their own identities, it is counterproductive to their overall health to deny them artistic and creative outlets. Imagination helps develop the first survival skill, problem solving, by letting students explore far-fetched solutions even if they fail.
I'd like to incorporate more open ended projects in my class. I have learned so many tools in this program that allow for various way of expression, I'd like to hand that knowledge off to my students and allow them to choose mediums that best suit them. I need to explore ways of getting students to recognize their imagination and creativity. I find that many of my students actually shy away from creative projects because they want to easily complete assignments and move on. Projects that make them imagine and be creative take longer, and take more effort, especially if they have low self-esteem and don't think they are skilled enough.
4. Expression: Written, Oral and Emotional
The concept of teaching students various ways to express themselves. In the last decade the world has seen the rise of a new way of communicating, rather many new ways, thanks to the internet. Wagner found in his interviews that "it's hard for [teens] to create focus, energy, and passion around the points they want to make."(Wagner, 35). Knowing how to communicate effectively and choosing the most effective method of communication, is essential to survival in any path.
I think community involvement plays a big role in this survival skill. Students need an authentic audience to experience their expression, otherwise it's just busy work. Presenting work online, or as part of a contest or challenge, showcasing long term projects to the community, or involving internships are all ways that make their expression of their learning meaningful. I'm trying this out by having my class create projects for 2 contests with authentic audiences, the Start from Scratch animation project and the iVIE film festival in the PSA category.
Organization is an incredibly important skill today, in a world where students have all information from all of human existence basically at their fingertips at all times. Wagner claims that the "overwhelming amounts of information raises fundamental questions about the nature of the curriculum in our schools today" (Wagner, 38). Just like teachers used to do "binder checks", there should be a new way of teaching information management in the digital curriculum.
Not only is it important to learn organization at a micro level for resources, Francis Parker Charter believes setting goals and time management is also a part of the organization survival skill (Wagner, 245). For students to learn to manage their time, they need more freedom to make choices and manage their own learning. Our exploration into gamification in EDL 621 was an interesting approach that I could see replicating. That environment could incorporate the element of choice, goal setting, and time management into a system of level and rewards (or consequences).
6.Initiative and Entrepreneurship
When I taught career skills I would start our Entrepreneurship unit with an episode of the show "Shark Tank". Students were awe of these entrepreneurs and the millionaire investors and this whole world of venture capitalism. When students see that with a good idea and passion they could make a great life for themselves, they are inspired, and it's something you don't see often in other "core" classes. Entrepreneurship teaches kids to take chances, but also to research to minimize those risks. Encouraging entrepreneurship also encourages failure, in a positive way. In Wagner's book, Mark Chandler form Cisco says, "I say to my employees if you try five things and get all five of them right, you may be failing. If you try 10 things and get 8 of them right, you're a hero" (Wagner, 33)
Encouraging initiative is an important survival skill at a basic level, as Wagner points out that in the real world, "no one is going to tell them what to do" (Wagner, 33). Even at the most basic of jobs, the survivors are those who can improve conditions or efficiency. Again this is a skill that is hard to teach, but I think the idea of involving community really shows students models of this in action. Internships may allow them to get hands on with it.
I included this after I read Francis Parker Charter's belief that "in both school and daily life, you review and think about your actions and the work you produce" (Wagner, 245). No matter where their life takes them, the power of reflection is huge and can help them to make better decisions in every aspect of their lives. It also teaches that failure is a part of learning. To really dig deep into learning students have to take chances and risks, and may not always get it right. It's important that they can articulate what they got wrong and what they can improve.
I already try to include a lot of reflection in my class, but mostly about their relating their content learning to their lives and asking questions. After reading this, I'd like to find a way to incorporate more self reflection opportunities for students.
What can you commit to in your classroom/school this year?
I have always been interested in project based learning, but after switching subjects this year I haven't had much time to design robust projects like I had before. I will commit to more project based learning that incorporates these 7 survival skills in some way. I really liked the structure of the 3D Game Lab in EDL 621 and I feel like it would fit my class well. I'd like to design projects and units in that way, because there are ways to incorporate all of the skills in some facet.
How will you measure your success?
I understand that because of the constraints of life and completing this program, I may not be able to fully overhaul my classroom. The projects in the course and EDL621 have already been helping me, so my goal will to have at least 3-4 online, robust, modules of work that address all of these 7 skills by the end of the year, so that I can build on that next year.
Chapter 3 of Wagner's book, The Global Achievement Gap, is a concise description of all that is wrong with testing. Nearly every point he made I have heard from various teacher's over the years, which is to be expected from such a "gap" between policy makers and teachers, the people forced to put these policies into action.
In the context of his early chapters, it was interesting and amusing that he included actual test questions, proving just how little they reflect any of the 7 survival skills. Though the current "highly punitive approach" (Wagner, 90) to assessment is wrought with flaws, I agree with Wagner that assessment itself isn't necessarily bad. He writes, "...the fact that schools are now being held accountable at all - and accountable for the success of all their students- is a new and very important concept in public education.
Some of my teaching this week required a little review of the civil rights movement, and it is still mind blowing to me to see footage from only 55 years ago when some schools really separated students based on race. We've certainly come a long way, and the fact that we are holding teachers accountable for every student is huge.
Another idea I loved from chapter 3 was Wagners focus group of recently graduated, college enrolled, students from a New England high school. The findings were intriguing,but made sense. Answers implying more writing and research skills, more time management strategies, are all things I probably would have told you straight out of high school. As I read, I wondered what if that information was shared with students still at the high school? Perhaps incoming 9th graders, or maybe 10th grade as they get more serious about applying to colleges. Students will learn more when they recognize the benefit themselves, and hearing it straight from their peers could prove powerful.
Chapter 4 was all about teaching as a profession. As I read about Wagner's own experience, and the experiences of his fellow teachers, I was thankful for my own experience at SDSU. Twice a week when we held our student teaching seminar class the first 30 minutes we devoted to "joys and concerns" where we each had to share something that was positive or worrisome in our practice. Our two instructors offered advice, but we also discussed with each other and found many of us had similar questions or concerns and it was really relieving. We even had an assignment to view another student teacher's class an evaluate them. It could have been improved upon, we only had one isolated observation, but it was refreshing to see that was valued and encouraged.
I am also part of a district that recently started doing learning walks, which have been a profound experience just like the comments in the book assert. Looking at a series of classes in a short amount of time gives a great snapshot of what is happening on a daily basis. Our learning walks center more on data and less on judgement or critique like Wagner's seem to, but I'm hopeful to be one of the newer generation of teachers that Wagner discusses.