18 May 2015

What Does Learning Look Like?

This chart is created by Like to Write 
In the pursuit of designing learning and what it could possibly look like, I am forced to re-visit the multitude of readings about learning in the 21st Century. I have previously articulated my reticence of these texts as we are too far into this century to pull the 'time to change' card. It should have changed in my books by now.

We know and have now known for a longtime that the world is changing rapidly and that we cannot begin to predict what the world will look like in 8 years let alone 50. Collectively, it sounds as though everyone involved in education acknowledges that we are preparing all children to be active participants in a globally, connected world. But it seems that some view the 3Rs as the old band aid that needs to be ripped off quickly and cleanly while others see them as the enablers that must be central to early learning. 

The key competencies refer to real skills such as growing as critical thinkers, goal setting  and knowing what to do when the going gets tough. Managing themselves to get through those hard places so that they can achieve well by picking themselves back up and carrying on. Surely, these competencies are not 'extra' things to cover in the learning environments? Each of the key competencies is evident in the process of learning and it is this that needs to be the focus in our habitats not the content. 

The devices are a perfect vehicle for facilitating the learning process. This suggestion is not to be confused with creating another stand alone curriculum that involves learning how to use the technology. Nor is it about teaching with technology tools. Instead, it is about the children creating and constructing with the technology. 

Knowledge is accessible and totally ubiquitous and this alone has placed a greater emphasis on the need to shift our practices. Children don't need to think of things, but need to think about them. This takes us to a whole new level of thinking including analysis, synthesis and evaluation. 

We need to develop the children's communication skills so that they are able to communicate in our media rich world.  They need to be able to use their learning to solve problems and to record this digitally including texts such as news broadcasts, gaming, blog reflections. The engagement that these tools provide give licence to the children to create texts that reflect their individuality. 

The use of platforms such as google docs allows for collaboration. It is important to note that collaboration is not just about helping each other or giving each other feedback. Truly collaborative tasks will enhance student learning by closely modelling how they are likely to work as adults. 

We need to be aware of our role in helping children to understand the process of learning and the grit needed to achieve longterm goals/ projects. We need to ensure that learning is authentic and meaningful for the children.