A beautiful view along this lovely walk at Cottonmill Park.
Several years ago Colvin received this John Deere pedal tractor as a gift from a good friend, Marge. She found it at a garage sale for $5. He has ridden it every day since. Both back wheels have fallen off and have been fixed. He pulls his wagon and other trailers with it. He uses this tractor so much he has worn it out. He has modified it, adding a horn, stickers, ignition and many other “extras.” He has to keep it in the garage so it doesn’t get rain on it. It is amazing how much time he puts into this tractor.
This last weekend he came to the realization that he might be outgrowing his beloved tractor. And so has put it up for sale for $100.
I just loved this picture of the WordPress logo carved into a pumpkin!
In chapter one, pages 8 through 16 there are 8 statements about learning (i.e. “Learning is a Dialectical Process,” Learning is Non-normative,” Strong Emotions Affect Learning,” etc.) select two of these statements and find more information on the statement you selected, either from a journal article, a reliable website, another book, etc. Based on what is discussed in the book and what you find from your other resource, create a narrated PPT presentation that discusses the following (be sure to use your resources – the text and the extra resource you discovered to support your thoughts):
- In your own words, describe the concepts you have chosen.
- For each concept outline at least three ways educators can use this information as they work with their learners.
- Be sure to include a final slide that lists your references.
- This presentation should only be about 3 to 5 slides long, it needs to be narrated and you need to use other resources in addition to your text.
Learning is defined many ways. Based on what you have learned in chapter one and from other resources found in the Course Documents, discuss the following:
- What is your definition of learning?
- How does a learning centered approach compare to a teaching centered approach?
- Provide examples from either your experiences as an instructor and/or as a learner that demonstrate the use of a learning centered approach and a teaching centered approach.
- Why would a learning centered approach work best with adult learners?
What is your definition of learning?
Learning is a natural cognitive process of colleting and organizing external and/or internal information into meaning for an individual.
How does a learning centered approach compare to a teaching centered approach?
The focus of a learning centered approach is the process of learning and the individual learner. The focus of a teaching centered approach the expected outcomes of the teacher. The difference is how you rate the outcome. Do you measure the growth and meaning for the individual or do you measure the knowledge of content based on the expectations of the facilitator?
Provide examples from either your experiences as an instructor and/or as a learner that demonstrate the use of a learning centered approach and a teaching centered approach.
I teach a workshop on “Building Your Web Presence with WordPress”. I keep this a learning centered activity by letting students work through the process of planning their own site. They get to build and design it themselves and they walk out with something that is uniquely theirs. This wasn’t always the case. When we first started these workshops years ago, we had a plan for them and the material all packaged up nicely so it was “more efficient.” As I have since learned, it is much more beneficial to let them work with their own material. It sticks with them and has relevance. I now like to say “learning is messy!” The messier it seems, the more the student have the possibility to organize the information how it best suits them.
Why would a learning centered approach work best with adult learners?
A learning centered approach works well in most situations because it provides the opportunity to gather, process and synthesize on an individual level. Each person has unique ways of learning and unique reasons to learn. They are usually starting at different stages with the knowledge they currently have and by affording them chance to reach their individual goals, they are going to collect, retain and use the information in a much stronger and more personal way than other approaches.
I attended the NDE Adult Ed Conference in Kearney yesterday and enjoyed listening to Dr. Mosig from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Dr. Mosig spoke on the topic Stress Management. One of the handouts he gave us was this simple quote:
If you were to fall to your death from a very great height, it would be a shame not to enjoy the view as you fell, or to appreciate the wind in your hair, or the warmth of the sun on your face.
-Ngakpa Chogyam Rinpoche
Dr. Mosig did a nice job of explaining how, really, we are all headed to our death at some point. Why not enjoy the ride while we can?
As I explore the topic of using social networking for adult educators, I see many advantages to both the educator and the student.
For the adult educator, this is a wonderful opportunity to find others in your field who are also passionate about this topic (adult education) and maybe even the subject you are teaching. It is a professional development opportunity every time you connect with your social network. Colleagues are sharing resources, participating in discussions and debates, and sharing details as they struggle and succeed in their everyday journey. It’s a place to ask questions and make connections on a global scale. You have access to people and resources that are global, instant and diverse. It can become a rich community of sharing and support.
Additionally, an adult educator who provides social networking opportunities for their students opens the door for an endless learning experiences limited only by the student’s own sense of adventure and creativity. No matter the topic, the abundance of social resources will become an ever flowing river of resources to your students. They will have access to people following the same interests, experts in the field, and social filters only those working with the topic on a daily basis will have. I believe you will also find this is an environment some students will thrive in as they have an opportunity to express themselves in a different, typically non-threatening, medium.
Some important resources to investigate and try with your colleagues and/or students.
- Social Bookmarking – Delicious, Diigo
- Social Editing – Wikis, Blogs, Shared docs, VoiceThread
- Social Media – YouTube, Flickr
- Specialized Social Networks – Ning (Classroom 2.0), Dogster, GoodReads
- General Social Networks – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
As we work more and more in this online collaborative space, what tools do you find most useful and what do you feel are the key advantages of social networking to adult educators? Please comment!
October 2009 – Adult Education Conference Presentation – Social_Networking PDF – 6.6 Meg
The Personal Development Journal
I enjoyed reading Dr. Beyers message in the announcements forum on Blackboard and how it relates to our class so far.
Strength – Describe the strongest learning experience(s) you had thus far and why it/they were important to you.
My strongest learning experience from this exchange with Dr. Beyers was more about process than content. Although the content is ultimately what you are trying to get across, with out the process, it won’t stick.
Improvement – Reflect on how you could improve your learning in the future.
In the past, I have taking the “dump truck” approach to teaching. Take a ton of information and just unload on my participants and hope some of it stays with them. I can see now the importance of having a structured process for learning. Stages they go through and what the golden egg is in terms of the CBAM process.
Insight – What new discoveries/understanding did you get in the learning process? How will you apply it to what you are doing in your daily professional or personal life?
I liked the three points he shared from Dr. Brookfield: Students will either 1) reject new information, 2) accept new information, or 3) blend what they have learned with previous knowledge.
As I reflected on those three points I wrote Dr. Beyers the following:
… I would be interested to hear your thoughts or resources you have on critical thinking. I feel we focus so much on content (especially in K12) that we don’t have time to teach critical thinking. I would even go a step further and say we don’t spend enough time in the creative thinking realm. I work a little with Information Literacy as it pertains to the Internet and searching. The more I work with teachers and students, the more I realize how much content there is but the skills to wade through it all are not there. And in a global society, what may be an incorrect assumption or assessment of the situation to our culture, may be perfectly normal or acceptable in another. …
As far as using this in my daily professional life I plan to apply these processes to the planning of sustained training programs rather than one shot professional development opportunities. I would like to take my professional mission to “help others learn and share 21st century skills” and provide a framework for teachers to build their skills and knowledge.
In chapter four and in the article found at: http://www.mentoring-association.org/membersonly/CBAM.html the authors discuss the Concerns-Based Adoption Model. How do you feel these seven phases apply to you and what do you need to do to become a better educator? What phase are you in right now? What will you need to do to get to the final phase? If you are already in the final phase, what did you need to do to get there?
I can see the fingerprints of this model in all of the workshops and training opportunities I provide or have taken. It seems we can all be at different stages depending on the project, experience we have, and mentoring/collaborative opportunities given to that specific project. For most of the workshops I facilitate, I give the opportunity to get them to the consequence stage but fail in the collaboration and refocusing stages. Although some districts I work with have provided collaboration, I could become a better educator by providing those other districts a chance for peer collaboration and expert coaching. I can also see the importance of a needs assessment and objectives outline so participants can be clear on what the district goals are versus their own personal learning objectives for taking the course. I can see working with district administration more in determining what they need in terms of a sustained professional development program, providing them direction in this process, working together to create a needs assessment and putting the necessary items in place to build a successful program.
With the curriculum technology integration workshops, we try to provide sharing time for participants to travel to our building and build relationships with other teachers in the same curricular area. As the “Bridge” model (Sweeny, 2003) suggests, we are at the point of building trust so participants can feel less threatened as they integration certain technologies into the classroom. I see the collaboration and trust building needing to happen at ALL stages of the process. It is my experience that when an adult learning has a trusted peer to talk to and work with throughout the stages, they are more likely to reach the other side of the bridge (implementation of knowledge, skills, and strategies.) It is important to have this from the awareness stage through the refocusing stage.
As far as the Bellevue Adult Education program goes, I would say I am at the information stage. I am still figuring out how this all works and am ready for the next stage of integrating how this impacts me and my plan to use the material in my everyday workshops. I can see progressing through each stage and what that might look like over time. The management stage of putting my learning into practice. The consequence stage and figuring out if it is working or not. I see this stage cycling with other stages. If it doesn’t work, do I need more practice? Do I need better planning? Do I need more information? Or do I need to start over with new awareness. The next stage, collaboration, like I mentioned earlier, really needs to happen in all the stages. The ability to talk and collaborate with others in all stages brings a rich perspective I don’t think you would get without that experience. And finally, refocusing, or as I see this stage, evaluating your progress and seeing what you need to do next. We often have “retreats” for certain projects at our ESU and I really see this as being that stage.
I have always been fascinated with developmental psychology and all that it brings to education. In searching for a suitable interviewee for this assignment, it was a pleasure to find a friend who works with autistic children and is talking a course in Relationship Development Intervention. Marie Sullivan is the Special Education Program Coordinator for Kearney Public Schools and, as an adult learner for much of her post-secondary education, brings a wealth of knowledge to this assignment.
As Marie and I sat down and started talking about her program, I could tell she is passionate about the program she has chosen. I am glad I chose Marie for this interview as she has some unique perspectives and contrasting ideas on some of the introductory material presented throughout this module.
The first question I asked Marie was how she viewed education and learning as an adult learner. Her response was, to my surprise, that she loves the theory and potential of what she is learning, whether it is from this program or another. This fits well with the concepts surrounding the Training Model present by Fogarty and Pete (2004). Marie is not talking this program for anything she can apply immediately at work but knows the knowledge gained will give her foresight and vision to make better decisions. Marie also states she doesn’t like classes that are “recipes” but rather likes knowing the background and research to help better understand what she is learning. She enjoys the struggle of applying the strategies herself and doesn’t want her instructors to show her how to accomplish tasks but rather work with her in solving problems. This is relevant at the management stage as it pertains to the CBAM model of the stages of her developmental process.
The next question, “What was your role in learning as an adult?,” really drove home the fact that Marie enjoys using her prior experiences and applying them to her situation. She is proud of her knowledge and experiences and it is only natural to apply these experiences to new information. She notes younger students, students who are in college right out of high school, don’t have the diverse experiences in which to compare and contrast new knowledge. Younger students have to store that knowledge for future use where adult learners can apply previous experience to the situation and attach a social or emotional “tag” to help remember. She also feels she knows the kind of person she can learn from and so seeks those individuals when researching a new learning opportunity.
As we dove into the question of what she looks for in curriculum as an adult learner, she didn’t hesitate in telling me that it isn’t as much the curriculum as it is the belief system the instructor has. She feels that if the instructor holds similar beliefs, she is more apt to appreciate the instruction. As a part of this question, I recalled the telltale comment made that adult learners like to have some evidence of expert support that gives them understanding, to which she commented: the more she learns, the more she realizes the research data supporting a particular course can be skewed. Having a belief system supporting the learning objective is more important, in her mind, than having an “expert.”
Marie shared a couple of ideas that are helpful to her in the class setting. She likes when instructors show video of real life examples. She likes having a wide range of examples to help her relate to her experiences. She also likes having the opportunity to discuss her learning with others of similar interest. This touches on a couple of the many points brought out in this module. As far as The Five Critical Qualities of Professional Development presented by Fogarty and Pete (2004), Marie works better in a well integrated environment (p 67-68). She also proves the model of success that can come from collaboration as out lined in the CBAM.
Marie also reveals that building trust is one of the key attributes of successful instruction. This can take on the form of a hindrance or help in the learning process. She talked about “productive uncertainty” and that if the instructor builds a level of trust among his/her learners, they are more likely to take risks. But, she said, on the flip side, there may be too much uncertainty and this creates confusion and frustration and starts to break down trust if not noticed and dealt with. It really becomes a dynamic, one-to-one, trusting relationship with a facilitator and/or mentor that make a learning opportunity successful.
Several telltale comments and other models in the introductory book can back Marie’s comments. Marie wants an expert facilitator. She wants an instructor who knows not only the content but their students as well. She also wants to look information up on her own to verifying the instruction. I felt that building relationships for a trusting learning environment fit with several of the presented models in requiring a collaborative, respectful, mutual and informal climate.
As our time was nearing an end, I ask my final question, “What would be your best advice to educators working with adult learners?” After a moment of contemplation she summarized our interview with the thought that an instructor should be a guide on the side. Someone who helps facilitate learning. She feels they should gain her trust and move to explore topics together as apposed to having a one-way street where the instructor is pushing the information. And lastly, she feels facilitators should tap into her rich experiences and help apply those to her learning.
I enjoyed interviewing Marie and having her share her knowledge and experiences with me. She helped me think about and define some of the early concepts of our initial reading and how I might start the process of applying my new found learning throughout this course.
Assignment 3.2 – Please post your assignment to the discussion board, naming your post “assignment 3.2” (15 pts.)
Joyce and Showers’ research is discussed in chapter three, regarding their findings discussing the critical elements of effective training and how that has an impact on student achievement. Based on this brief discussion and your experiences, discuss the following:
- What are some of the most common roadblocks you have seen to getting educators to change how they educate?
- What are some of the practices you have experienced or witnessed that can help educators move beyond these roadblocks?
- As an educator yourself, rank the five elements (from which you find most important to least important) that Joyce and Showers have indicated are needed. Indicate why you have ranked them as you did.
- If you had to select only three elements as THE MOST important, which three would you choose and why?
What are some of the most common roadblocks you have seen to getting educators to change how they educate?
This is a complicated question. As I think about this question, I have to ask myself, who are the “educators” in this scenario. I get the opportunity to work with educators on many levels from classroom teachers to school administrators, from district level technology integration specialists to regional and statewide technology trainers. The influence I have in their professional development ranges from presentations to direct coaching and everywhere in between. For this assignment, I will discuss my interactions with typical classroom teachers.
The number one roadblock in getting classroom teachers to change is attitude or TTWWADI (That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It). There are many classroom teachers who do not embrace new technologies or 21st century learning at all. We are in a huge paradigm shift in the way we need to teach and some don’t yet see where they fit into that shift. Classroom teachers, as wells as the other groups I deal with, are also affected by administrators who ultimately decide when to give their teachers the time to participate in effective technology professional development, and providing funding for effective 21st century professional development.
Here is a great video I use in some of my workshops depicting how hard it is for some teachers to change.
What are some of the practices you have experienced or witnessed that can help educators move beyond these roadblocks?
One of the best ways I have found for teachers to embrace teaching in a technology rich environment is using a process I found in the program “Building 21st Century Schools.” Using this program I pose the teachers with a challenge, usually some form of “How can you use technology to enhance learning and engage students using [insert 21st century skill such as “collaboration” here]?” At that point, they write some initial thoughts. Then I have them review resources previously gathered that would help them expand their initial thinking. This is usually in the form of websites, articles, videos, audio or other material. I then have them write down their revised thinking after reviewing the material in reference to the challenge. After they have completed their revised thinking, they break into groups and discuss (group discussion) the challenge as a whole. It is during this time I have them write down two goals they have in terms of the challenge.
This process has worked SO well in the past that I try to incorporate it more and more into what I do on a daily basis. I am not sure WHY it works but I have a feeling it has to do mostly with them having control over where they want to go with what they have been challenged with. They get to decide their course of action and they get to do it with the comfort of their peers. The key to the process is having a good focused challenge question and having resources that are relevant and trustworthy. After that, just facilitating to make sure they are staying on track and are doing what they are supposed to do makes this a simple but yet extremely effective tool to remove challenging roadblocks.
As an educator yourself, rank the five elements (from which you find most important to least important) that Joyce and Showers have indicated are needed. Indicate why you have ranked them as you did.
5) Theory – Depending on your audience, this may scale a little differently. Generally, this will be important in the whole scheme of things but least important in this list. I see several people may rely on the theory and feel that is most important in deciding what skills it is they need to drive home. One of the reasons I feel Marzano’s (2001) work is so popular in K12 education is his background theory and research. Although this is important data, the real crux is how the teacher implements the strategies and if they are used and when they are used.
4) Demonstration – I have seen this debated several ways. Lots of teachers I work with like to have a couple of examples of how a particular technology might work for them. This gets the wheels turning and they can then run with the ideas and integrate into their own setting. I have also heard several people use the example of an art teacher saying to their class, “Today we are going to be working on drawing a tree. Here is what you do. Blah blah blah. And here is my example.” Then showing the class their work, albeit with years of background experience, it is intimidating and ruins any chance of allowing individual creativity. The trees always end up looking like the teacher’s! There needs to be a good balance of giving possible ideas and allowing for individual creativity.
3) Practice – Hands on practice! Do it in a safe environment. This is what I call “playing in the sandbox.” They need a safe, trusting place to make mistakes.
2) Feedback – In the sandbox, they need feedback. This is a simple concept but very sensitive also. Again, a trusting environment is needed and clear definitions of expectations outlined before a learner can objectively receive good feedback. According to Marzano (2001) in Classroom Instruction that Works (p. 96-97) feedback should be corrective in nature, should be timely, should be specific to a criterion and lastly, is also effective using peers.
1) Coaching – The most important factor of coaching is that this is an on-site, on-going process of real world design. It is getting real world coaching in the field from the experts or peers also working through the process. This is evident in any sporting event. Coaches coach the athletes as the plays happen and the other athletes will pipe in with cheers of joy or correction, whichever is needed. In front of the audience this has a great impact in the learning process and on the scoreboard!
The only downside I see to coaching is the time and resources it takes to effectively accomplish this step. It takes real experts taking real time to work through issues and reassess the learning. It is hard and time consuming and you need a facilitator who is dynamic and trustworthy to pull this off.
If you had to select only three elements as THE MOST important, which three would you choose and why?
I have two answers to this question. The first is what I currently model as most important. That is demonstration, practice and feedback. This is what most of my workshops entail. The reason I using these three most is time and resources. I only get so much time with them and to touch as many people as we do, this is the only way we can effectively give them the training. Money and time aside, coaching would be the first added to the list and then theory.
The next answer is that they all work together so trying to pick any three from the five is unfair to the process.
Select a course, topic, or training module that you currently conduct. This is your opportunity to look at it from outside the box. Using the Five Critical Qualities of professional development, analyze your course, topic, or training module. Discuss the following:
- Describe the course, topic or training module you have selected to use as your example.
- How is it sustained over time – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
- How does it integrate the job-embedded quality – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?
- How is it interactive – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
- How does it make use of groups and team support (collegial) – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?
- How is the learning integrated to help reach different students – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
For this assignment, I am using a model we implemented as a statewide group staring in 2004. The project is called “The Learning Web.” I have based many of our other professional development opportunities for teachers around this model as it has worked very well. We have several “Curriculum 2.0” type workshops that have this same feel. By curriculum 2.0 I mean we have “Science 2.0,” “Elementary 2.0,” “Language Arts 2.0,” etc. Although not exactly the same, these still pull on the strengths outlined by the five critical qualities of professional development.
Describe the course, topic or training module you have selected to use as your example.
The Learning Web – ESUs statewide have received funding through the Enhancing Education Through Technology grant to implement a staff development process known as the Learning Web. A team(s) of five educators from a school or district in each ESU will create a project that uses technology to integrate a proven instructional strategy for increasing student achievement and supports a school improvement goal.
How is it sustained over time – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
A learning web team attends the NETA (Nebraska Educational Technology Association) conference in the spring of the year to start the process. At this conference they go to sessions that might interest them and are introduced to a myriad of technologies they may choose to use in their project. In the summer, each ESU holds a summer institute for the teams. This consists of time to develop a plan of action for a project they will implement throughout the year. It is also a time for learning different technologies that they may use in their project. Throughout the year the teams implements their plan with the help of a facilitator and will receive training in specific technologies or implementation strategies throughout the year. At the end of the year, teams are encouraged to submit their project as a presentation to the NETA conference for others to share and ask questions.
How does it integrate the job-embedded quality – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?
Each team develops a project independently. The project must meet the criteria of relating to their school improvement goal (usually reading), and also tying in Marzano’s Instructional Strategies. The team’s end product us usually a lesson plan or series of plans that they integrate into their classroom right away.
How is it interactive – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
Although the teams may be from different curricular areas or different grade levels, they are encouraged to build a project they can all work together on throughout the year. An example of this would be the facilitator may need to help them figure out the best way to use 5th grade writers to help kindergarteners write a podcast script they will record for the school website.
How does it make use of groups and team support (collegial) – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?
Each step in the process is built upon the strengths of the team, from choosing what sessions to attend at the first conference to building the final presentation for the conference session at the end of the year. Each person has a role and is given opportunities to communicate and collaborate with each other and the facilitator.
How is the learning integrated to help reach different students – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
Each learner is introduced to a wide variety of topics using a range of multimodal approaches. At the beginning of the learning web, most topics are the typically “dog and pony” shows. They introduce topics to peak the learners interests. At the two day summer institute, the teams are encouraged to participate in the hands on opportunities to learn new technologies. They are modeled throughout the institute with the thought that they may choose this as a technology to use in their project and may need further training at a later time. Information shared is text based, provided online on a multitude of websites, shown in video and audio formats, and also shared in kinesthetic opportunities. We are trying to arrange the learning web into a website that could using more online discussion and sharing of resources throughout the year.
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. —Isaac Asimov
Your heart pounds. Beads rolling off your forehead. Butterflies are floating in your stomach. Your muscles are tense. These might be signs of anxiety you feel all caused by the thought of having to change. Albeit, some of these might be extreme depending on the amount of change we are enduring. All of us go through change on a daily basis. Some change affects us differently than other types.
As a technology trainer working with teachers of an older generation, I see change dealt with on many different levels. Some embrace the changes technology doles upon them at increasing speeds as they know the importance of teaching students how to learn in this environment. Some take the challenge on reluctantly. They are usually resistant to learn a new skill knowing is it just going to be outdated in another year/month/week. Then there are those that won’t embrace the change at all. They don’t even know where the power button is on their computer!
In reviewing the questions for the assignment, I had to see where I fit in this spectrum. In working with technology, I deal with change on seemingly hyperspeed. I love things coming at me as fast as they can. I would have to say, if I fear anything, it would be a lack of change. My greatest fear is that I become stagnant. That I might become unuseful. That is why I strive to enhance my knowledge and skills so that I might share them with others and help them be productive in the 21st century. So to answer what would I do if I weren’t afraid, I would say I would relax and take more time just doing nothing! I would slow down and just let life happen instead of always trying to push the envelope. In a healthy environment, there is a good balance of relaxation and pushing forward. This is something I try to accomplish but lean toward the push.
The anticipation of change can be stated in so many ways. “Get on the train or be left at the station” is one of my favorites. I’m not one to watch the train go by. I would rather jump on and see where it takes me. I love the adventure of something new. Something unknown. But I realize not all people enjoy this same enthusiasm and so I do have to throttle down at times. This enthusiasm has helped in the past when trying to inspire a group to a new challenge but when working with a new project that requires their involvement, gearing down and making them feel comfortable with the change is most important.
When working with others in a situation that requires change, I feel the single most important technique we can provide is to let them know well in advance that something is going to happen. Then, letting them be a part of the change process so that it does get carried through is essential.
I have two recent examples I’ll share. The first is a change we are implementing at ESU 10 replacing the software teachers use for their web presence. In the past we have used a package called Manila. We trained on this for nearly 6 years and have had probably 3000 teachers go through training and get accounts. Many advances have taken place in these six years and so we started the process to find something more relevant to todays technological pace. In doing so, we did surveys of our teachers to find out what they wanted and needed from their web presence software. We then found several software packages that we felt we could train on and support. At that point, we shared our findings and had them tell us what they felt would best suit their needs from the list we provided. After installing the solution and working out the initial bugs, we started training users and are up over 500 teachers using the new solution after only several months. We plan on getting them all moved over within the year and I feel it has been successful because they helped provided the direction and path knowing we had to move to something different.
My next example is of a school going to a one to one environment. This is a laptop for every student. The school is normally one for much controversy and dragging of feet and so I had a particular challenge in getting them ready for this change. I used a process I learned from Microsoft’s “School Leader Development: Building 21st Century Schools” initiative. The process goes something like this: 1) Pose a Challenge, 2) Record Initial Thoughts, 3) Review select material to learn more, 4) Record Revised Thinking, 5) Discussion among group with sharing and group goals.
I was totally amazed at how the results turned out. The hardest part for me was coming up with a challenge and collecting relevant materials for them to review. My challenge to this group was “How can you use new technologies now available in your district to enhance learning and engage students, specifically in regard to using online collaborative environments?” At that point they wrote their initial thoughts on a discussion site. Then they were instructed to look up several resources from a list provided to them on learning and using online collaborative environments. After reflecting on their initial thinking, they posted their revised thinking on the discussion board again. At this point, they started group discussion and their assignment was to, by the end of the time I had with them, come up with at least two goals for the next year in regards to the challenge. I was amazed at not only the goals they were coming up with but the plan to implement and make sure it was a success. This was a great example of how one can facilitate change having the right tools.
To sum up my assignment, I believe if we simply follow Gandi’s example, we can make an impact on adult learners. Follow his advice and become the change you want to see. Put yourself in your students shoes, change along with them. Grow and be inspired as you journey down the path of life.