I believe teachers need more resources for re-vamping the classroom. I believe teachers need more professional development. I believe teachers need more room to change lanes very quickly, while going a hundred miles an hour.
This cohort is giving me the resources to create a platform for teachers to do just that.
This course has helped me to organize my thinking, not only for my capstone, but as an educator and person.
The Clark readings helped me to map out how to make my work in Touro useful to my fellow educators. Before this course, I was just focused on creating a capstone around differentiated instruction, but did not have a vision of what the purpose of it would be. Being an educator who appreciates practical application, the Clark readings inspired me to create a map for how educators could create more dynamic differentiated instruction, which is easier to execute.
This course has helped me to create driving inspiration questions: "What do teachers need to know?" (TPACK) and "How can I be a bridge for my students?" (Dervin). These questions will be my focal point as I move into the Capstone course.
I have noticed that in the Silicon Valley, where I have spent all of my teaching career (up until this point) is very focused on the the "T" in TPACK. We are all so focused on iPads, BYOD, 1:1, Prezi vs. Powerpoint, Khan Academy vs. Brick & Mortar schools, etc, etc, etc. The technology has been the emphasis. My perspective is that the training, pedagogy, and content have fallen to the wayside due to the onslaught of information during this technological revolution.
My project is focused on the pedagogy. My question has been "What is differentiated instruction and what does it look like in the classroom?" Once I researched that, I wanted to know how could we be doing it better. The question, which the TPACK video addressed is, "What do teachers need to know?" has arisen for me again and again throughout this course.
What this cohort has made me think about:
In the world of endless information at our fingertips, what is my job as a teacher? For me, Technology is just a tool to deliver Content via a successful Pedagogy. The technology is not the key, the pedagogy and content is. Teachers need to know how to successfully deliver relevant Content, which has to be more than just dates, names, places, and raw facts. Teachers need to evolve to deliver that content in ways that inspire students to grow and move beyond the traditional classroom setting. We are training students for a world that is evolving faster than ever before. Focusing on the Technology is a mistake, as that Technology will be quickly replaced by something else. We must focus on create a dynamic classroom experience which will enable our students to think critically and adapt to the rapidly changing environments they find themselves in every day.
You may consider the elements of ‘SITE’ and the needs of your learners or audience(s). How does SITE apply to you as a learner?
“...advocates the creation of learning and instruction that integrates the learning of skills with the context in which the learner will be able to apply those skills...This module considers the learner’s motives and goals, techniques for accomplishing these goals, and and the kinds of literacy or “information know-how” that the learner will need to master in order to understand and use these techniques.” (Site Model 3)
My goal as a teacher has always been to create critical thinking, problem solving learners who can tackle real world problems. This is the kind of learner I am and I struggle teaching concepts I myself would not want to participate in. I need to know "Where am I going to use this in real life?" In the age of Wikipedia and YouTube, people can learn almost anything they want, without ever opening a book. The traditional models of learning are becoming quickly outdated. The SITE model and the Pebble in the Pond approach is to meant to create a model of real world applications. If I am teaching my students how to write a research paper, what skills am I giving them that will be something they can use in real life.
Let’s take the controversial example of Wikipedia. As adults, we rely on it all the time, for any answer. Google and Wikipedia are now seamlessly integrated, so that if you “Google it”, you are probably getting a Wikipedia answer. Many of my colleagues have banned the use of Wikipedia from the classroom for research purposes. I have to disagree. Banning the use of Wikipedia only compels a learner to seek out alternative sources of information, such as Yahoo Answers or Prezi (all user generated, not verified, and usually inaccurate). How is this helping a learner be able to navigate real world? In the real world, no one is going to say, don’t use Wikipedia, it doesn’t happen. Instead, I teach them how to view different types of sources, how to determine if a source is reliable, how to understand what kind of source Wikipedia is. These skills are much
Reading these articles was helpful, as I could see that I am not working in a vacuum. SITE speaks to me very much as a learner and an educator.
I consider my audience both my colleagues and future schools I will work at. This program is helping me develop my methods and objectives as a teacher. My project should speak to how envision creating a classroom that is accessible to all kinds of learners. ( I would like to note here that I saw a reference to this in the Clark reading, which pleased me immensely. Clark discusses that one should use a variety of media in their trainings, as this is more effective [Clark 19]).
The kind of resource I want to create is one that can be used by my colleagues to re-invent how they design lessons for their classroom. The readings this week go a long way towards helping me conceptualize that idea so that I can make it more concrete for my capstone.
I am playing with the idea of using Clark as a format, creating a training manual on how to build a Universal Design Lesson Plan. Walk my colleagues through the design process and help them visualize how it could be used in their own classroom. A Universal Design Lesson is simpler to design than a traditional Differentiated lesson and, I believe, more effective. It could be a very valuable resource.
I really appreciated this set of readings, for two reasons.
Reason #1: I believe that there is not enough professional development for teachers. The lack of professional development leads to ineffective teaching, inadequate use of classroom time, and the exponential cost of having an ineffectual teacher in a classroom.
Reason #2: These readings helped me to conceptualize how to design lessons. One things I saw, that is inevitable, yet our most precious resource, is that there must be an investment of time. "...that instructors can simultaneously develop and deliver effective training...as a result there is minimal lesson development, under the assumption that the delivery process will generate effective instruction automatically." (Clark 22) In order to be effective, we need the proper training and time to develop our instructional methods and materials.
My husband works at Google. In Google, there is a program called G2G. It is a Google internal program that strongly encourages employees to work on their professional development. Classes include:
Public Speaking, Training Facilitation (how to teach a class), Writing More Clearly, E-Mail Writing Skills, in addition to technical courses such as Statistical Thinking, C++, and How to Write Better Design Documents. Taking one of these courses will show up on your Google internal profile, and while not mandatory, will give you points in your next employee review. Google is investing time and money to create valuable and effective employees. Teachers are expected to make a lot of these jumps and figure it out as they go along.
Upon reviewing Sensemaking and Dervin, I had this take away:
*Create a bridge for the student and the information they seek.
My job is not only to create a bridge, but explain to my students that they need the bridge. The students walking into my classroom do not always know what they need to know. I have to facilitate that process and get them. At the Passover Seder, there are four children whom we address the story to: The Wise Son, The Wicked Son, The son who doesn’t know how to ask, and the simple son. A majority of my students “don’t know how to ask”. I must help them get to a place where they can either love me or hate me, but they will at least know what the question is.
Key pointers I learned from the readings:
Okay, let me start off by saying I think that Dervin is a terrible writer. She writes the introduction to the article like an operating manual for an industrial plant. Then, she defines the term sense-making, by using the terms “sense” and “sense-making” (62, 63). I decided to wikipedia it. Thank goodness I did!
Sadly, this was the only way I was able to have any kind of comprehension with which to move forward in reading this article. When I got deeper into the article, it became more comprehensible, but remember, I had my wikipedia definition in hand. I believe that definitely colored my ability to process the article better. Look at that! I am “sense-making” all ready.
All of our assumptions, biases, and questions will be based on our perceptions, experiences, and feelings about the world around us. Accuracy is a tricky thing in human hands, as we are not machines just computing data. Our visions is skewed by the fact that we are thinking, feeling beings. Our “truths” cannot be trusted without careful guidelines.
“...individual behavior is at worst chaotic and at best capricious and recalcitrant. In fact though, it may be quite systematic if studied from a process perspective.” (65-6) While it seems as if there is no order to the madness of human behavior and interactions, when studied methodically, it is possible to discern some method to the madness. This is what I believe Dervin was trying to get at.
The question of how we make sense and give meaning to experience is quite a fascinating one. This article killed the possibility of the beautiful conversation that could be had around that with dry and procedural language, diagrams and flow charts.
If I were teaching this to a high schooler, I would explain it in a more experiential, hands on, sense-making activity. I would pose a series of questions about a new/ambiguous situation. I would have them answer the questions on their own. Then, answer the questions as a group. Finally, we would discuss what was similar and different By doing this, it demonstrates Dervin’s points that while behavior seems unpredictable, there are patterns and order to the madness.
My questions would be: