As a teacher who is finds it a necessity to be up to date with new educational concepts, I was excited to find a course that entailed hands-on tasks as well as pedagogical theories.
An added bonus was that a colleague was willing to participate in the course as well, which meant shared transport and a likeminded brain to bounce ideas off.
During the last 24 weeks of study there have been many "aha" moments but in particular the following three points are things that I have learnt about myself as a learner...
# 1 Working with, collective, collaborative learning.
Being able to work collaboratively with either a group or another person has been enjoyable. Although this is a normal form of learning in my classroom it is not one that I have come across during my personal experience in education.
Being able to collaborate on "in class" activities and during assessment tasks has meant that I have often had to commit to work and time schedules rather than last minute opportunities.
# 2 Assessments, accountability reflective learning.
I have found the assessment tasks rather cumbersome. It has been quite some time since I last had a time frame and a deadline to hand work in. What has inspired me to complete these tasks, was the way in which we were encouraged to use a different presentation platform rather than the old traditional written essay.
Many of the presentation platforms that I have been introduced to, I have shared with students in my class and they are now using these with ease. Kahoot for example is a favourite and is spreading around the school with speed.
It has also inspired me to branch out of my comfort zone and try new presentation tools that I would not normally use.
# 3 Hands on, tactile, kinaesthetic learning.
Being able to complete tasks in class has helped my understanding of programs and feel more confident in using them in a class situation. While I would normally sit and listen to someone talking about their product/program, I was never that confident to use it in class as I was not willing to make errors in front of my students. These errors are now described as learning opportunities in our class.
Some on the boys in my class are loving using scratch and I can see this becoming a favourite tool to use in class and in personal time as well.
Changes to my practice.
# 1 Providing more opportunity for collaborative learning.
During this course, I have been given the opportunity to work collaboratively with my peers and this has made a far greater impact on my learning than if I was left to my own devices. Collaborative learning has been a small part in my class. Usually students collaborate in class and their thinking is that they are "cheating" or "copying" so is done quietly rather than out in the open. So I though, if collaboration has a positive impact on my learning, what would my students think of collaborating in open? So I changed the way I delivered my lessons. Many lessons became collaborative, where students were able to use Goggle Apps for Education in their lessons. It was ok to talk about what they were doing, it was ok for them to be working on one document in class and then adding to it during their own time. AND it was ok to submit one piece of work as long as a self and peer evaluation was completed.
# 2 Being adventurous and taking more risks.
This led to me taking more risks and being more adventurous with the way I ran my classroom programme. As stated above the new mantra in our class became - Mistakes are learning opportunities. Before, many errors where not seen as a learning opportunity. Now I had to think about revisiting the learning intention and and changing the way I delivered the lesson to my students. Was there a better way? Not only did I need to convince myself of this, I also had to convince my colleague as well.
I have always put my hand up to be involved in new initiatives at school but only ever in a role of team member. Now, I am working towards a Self Directed Learning programme for next year. This means that I am now not following a leader in a new initiative in school but am leading from the top.
# 3 Awareness of communication skills and leadership skills.
Being put in a position of leadership is intimidating when there has been no professional development on "how to lead". The only leadership professional development that I have been involved in is a course that was led by David Anderson. The reason I was asked to participated in the course was I had just taken on the new role of P.E coordinator for our school. I don't think there are many opportunities for PD in leadership and many people go through their teaching careers not knowing how to be an effective leader. The leadership module of this course has opened my thoughts and has made me delve into my own leadership qualities and to reflect on the leader I want to be.
Bergmann, J. & Sams, A. (2012). Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day.
Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education. https://books.google.co.nz/books?isbn=1564844684
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, NY: Random House.
Hargreaves, E. (2007). The validity of collaborative assessment for learning.Assessment in Education, 14(2), 185-199.
Powell, S.D. (2005). Excerpt from Introduction to Middle School.
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