Thursday, March 3, 2011

Passion, Self-Directed Learning and Total Talent Portfolios

It is amazing how many of us already do many of these features.  I have added comments in read to the article below so you can see what we at Sullivan Heights are already doing in all fields.  And these are only the ones I do know about.  Continue on to read more.

10 Ways Technology Supports 21st Century Learners in Being Self Directed 

by Lisa Nielsen

New York educator and super-blogger Lisa Nielsen posted a very interesting blog post on the Technology & Learning Advisor Blog. As Lisa introduced her post, "Life in the 21st century provides a whole-new world of opportunities for self-directed, passion-driven,personalized learning." Here is a summary of her ten points.
  1. Personal Learning Networks  (Sullivan Heights has a number of them already going - through tweets, F-2-F meetings groups already set up - Developing Readers, Assessment, Barrie Bennett - and wikis set up by a number of teachers in our school).
  2. Tweet to Connect with Experts - Can't begin to tell you how many in the school are already on their accounts.  This site alone has a link to my tweet account. A tweet of this article created this comment.
  3. Skype an Expert - Although at present the district does not allow Skype in the district unless notified (it's the opening of the portal and the risk of hacking) there are plenty of other means for chatting to an expert - there is ComBat, Google Talk, Gizmo Project, IChat, your FirstClass chat ability, and more....
  4. Free Online Educational Resources - A number of the teachers in the school are using free Web 2.0 tools. The most common are Prezi, Globster, Inspiration online, StoryBird, etc.  This link goes to a listing of those tools with notes, assignments and some with the rubrics.  A number of blogs give listing of different free online resources, and there are constant tweets in regards to tools online.
  5. Online Learning - We have Surrey Connect in the district but many of the teachers have created online courses through Webnode.  Click on the link to see the beginning lessons on Plagiarism, Copy write, Photoshop, and more for the Information Technology Class in Grade 12.  The course has students at all levels, so to keep them engaged, there are different levels of assignments that the students can do at their time line. 
  6. Authentic Publishing -   Globster has the ability to openly post your poster and let others comment on it.  It is the same for TimeRhyme - a time line program.  Some students have their projects on web pages - teaching material for learning different search engines.  These site addresses are given out to teacher and students so that they may learn new search engines and how to search on them.
  7. Use YouTube and iTunes to Learn Anything - Students in the French class create PodCasts which are shared among all students to increase the listening component of their unit.  Teachers download and use YouTube videos with the program KeepVid.
  8. Passion (or talent) Profiles - A teacher created a tweet account for Sullivan Heights were all students can make comments there, add to knowledge, etc.  
  9. Develop Authentic Learning Portfolios When done write [sp] ePortfolios can be a powerful tool that not only helps remind students of all their accomplishments, but it also enables them to share these with the world.  In the 21st century, creating an ePortfolio is free and easy.  Student simply select a container (blog, wiki, website, Google site), decide how they’d like to organize it, and then post their work.  I strongly advise against using any paid for portfolio site.  It is important that students have ownership of their own work and that it can travel with them wherever they are.  When it comes to ePortfolios, Helen Barrett is the go-to person.  To learn more, visit her blog where she shares fantastic ideas or go to the side and see her at one of my blog listings.  She's excellent to follow  I am using Facebook fro portfolios of student Photoshop and InDesign work.  Students need to upload the picture or item they were working on and then they make a comment about their work.  What they learned, what they did well, what they need to work on more.  
  10. Empower Students to Assess and Learn Themselves  - We already use a number of different assessment and self assessment ways learned from Barry Bennett and by Karren Hume.  Through graphic intelligence students can assess what they have learnt (Assessment for learning) and assess their peers as well.  This manner of assessment (Fishbone, mind maps, venn Diagrams, to name a few), touches least complex manners of critical thinking and reflecting (time line, flow chards, word webs) to more complex and more powerful assessment (mind map, concept maps). Through graphic assessment you get critical thinking, deductive thinking and inductive thinking, all areas of Developing Readers. In the end visual learners can see the evidence themselves of what they have learned and what more they need to do.  In this way they create their own learning.
          Another way of empowering students to do their own assessment is the interviews that are conducted by a number of our staff when assigning grades to students (another means of Developing Readers - see a previous post). This manner of evaluate learning help learners learn better. It does so by helping both students and teachers to see:
  • the learning goals and criteria
  • where each learner is in relation to the goals
  • where they need to go next - they help to make these goals (taking ownership of their learning)
  • and ways to get there
We do all this, teach the 21st Century skills because they are out there and we need to keep up.  This video by Karen Hume's best explains this.  

    "Tuned Out" by Karen Hume from Karen Hume on Vimeo.

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