How do you use the learning theories in your everyday practice to support student learning?
Are you starting to notice different things in your classroom/school?
I find students are more open minded about what we are learning and why we are learning it (buy in!). I think connecting ideas from class to the real world is the key in constructing knowledge.
On the other hand, I find that standards can be very ‘academic’ and not clear on how they connect to the real world. At times I feel like I need a translator to help me understand what the standard* is saying (in a subject I’ve been teaching for awhile and have academic background in) and then a professional to help me relate said standard to the real world. Perhaps those with PhDs (experts) in writing curriculums and standards need to think more about real world connections too and how those of us who aren’t experts may have trouble making sense of it all?
*I am working on unpacking the NGSS so my views are based on using new standards. It is year 2. School is using the Pearson Elevate Series as a curriculum resource for more support.
Connectivism acknowledges that the half life of knowledge is decreasing and it’s impossible for everyone to experience everything but we can get close by sharing experiences. I think we need more of this, especially when it comes to science teaching and scientific literacy. I don’t know many professionals in the field but I have heard about Skype A Scientist! I am looking forward to using this program soon. I also follow many women in tech/stem/and science communication on Twitter and it is a new world of possibility. They are easy to find when you take notice.
I also think it’s really important for the whole school community to demonstrate using these theories in practice and educating parents and new staff on using them. If a few teachers are using these theories into practice but no one else is, it can lead to backlash from students and their parents, especially when teaching in other cultures. Has this happened to you?
Have you begun modifying what you do in your classroom/school?
I’m trying to look for more and more real world issues to relate to the content that students also can relate to. I’m always looking for activities for students to experience and reflect on. Finally, I want to use more authentic audiences but sometimes I am concerned about how to do this with Child Protection Laws and the internet. How do you and your school find ways to incorporate authentic audiences while still providing child safety?
How has your understanding of learning theories affected your planning and implementation of online learning (if you have been affected by COVID-19)?
From connectivism: keeping lessons and assignments short and sweet without taking away from the meaning or learning, modeling for students what it looks like to discern important from unimportant information, encouraging students to use class connections to answer questions or to add on to ideas. How?
- use peer feedback to improve work (each student has their own tab on a class shared spreadsheet)
- use class collaboration to decide on assessment rubric (small groups decide on Hangouts, each group types ideas on class shared Padlet, video conference with whole class to decide on final criteria)
- encourage students to spend the first few minutes of a lesson reading over Classroom/slideshow learning goals/resources and jotting down any questions they have and then follow up by class video conference. After main greeting and summarized intro, any students with more questions can stay in the conference and the other students can leave and start on their assignments. Students can also post questions to Hangouts for me or better yet, other students to answer!
- Adding additional instructional videos to Classroom and Hangout for those students who show up late or are absent during virtual class.
- Emailing absent/late students within the first 10 min of class inviting them to join the lesson.
- Doing a fun review activity for the first 10min of the lesson like Quizlet Live using their unit vocabulary, Quizizz, or Pear Deck flash cards and then trying them on Gimkit (more than 10min). This gives me time to take ‘attendance’ and to write emails reminding students that we have started the lesson.
- Using Hangouts and making small groups; students can practice with each other or give feedback. I also check in by voice conference with the different small groups to see if they are using accountable talk while I’m on mute. I let them know beforehand that I’ll be adding myself to their conferences. It’s helpful that other teachers in my grade level are doing the same thing as students are familiar with it.