Week Three Reading Reflections
According to Larry Rosenstock, the CEO of High Tech High Network, in San Diego, California, stated in an interview: “Everything else has accelerated but schools have not; so schools have become more disconnected. The walls between schools and the outside need to be more permeable”. This statement is the perfect summation of the issues educational institutions face today. Teachers continue to engage in traditional pedagogical models that are turning students away from deeper learning. Most older generation educators are stuck in their roles, seemingly afraid to venture into the new ‘digital’ world. It appears as if they feel threatened by their students’ vast knowledge in the digital era. What they are forgetting is that technology has been around much longer than we believe it to be—it is only more readily accessible to the younger generation in recent years. This economic shift has caused a rift between student and teacher as the latter struggle to keep a hold of agency, and fight against digital education and what they know. Rather than encourage and being open towards new and innovative learning, some educators are happy to do what they’ve always known. After having read Transforming Learning Everywhere, A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, and the Ministry of Ontario Capacity Building Series Inquiry Based Learning, it is clear that these learning models are mutually supportive, and can only benefit students learning. However, it is vital that teachers everywhere are also supported and given the right resources and tools in order to implement said pedagogies. In Malloy’s Transforming Learning Everywhere, Dr. John Malloy emphasizes the importance of inquiry based learning being a personalized learning experience that enable students to collaborate and communicate with their fellow peers, teachers, and most importantly, outside the classroom. Why is this important? Because while students experiences are limited, thus halting the possibility for further inquiry, participating in blended learning and virtual learning allows them to reach out into the digital world, and come back with information that can propel their inquiries. Malloy states: “HWDSB is not engaged in a technology project; rather, we are engaged in a process to enhance instruction, to invite students to engage in rich learning tasks and to rely on student voice to drive the learning environment in classrooms and through technology.” This statement is critical for all learning institutions to adopt—the belief that this is not just a ‘project’, but rather a complete shift away from traditional pedagogical values and beliefs. Malloy also believes that, technology, while it “enhances” and “influences” how students learn, is simply a tool that needs to be put away at times in order to “engage in rich discussions”. I believe this a vital aspect of creating new pedagogies—that we are able to step away from the ‘tools’ and engage with ourselves, in order to reconnect and reflect. This reflection and consolidation will allow students to come full circle in their task to take ownership of their learning. David Price (2014) states in a Canadian Education Association article: “teachers are expected to be designers of learning, not simply deliverers.” However, throughout Malloy’s document, it was difficult to place what role teachers would be involved in within the classroom. It is repeatedly, yet vaguely, mentioned that they would “supporting” their students. In my opinion, this role should be more actively explained so that educators are confident in their part within the new pedagogy. The Ministry of Ontario’s Inquiry Based Learning model, explains the essence of inquiry as “require[ing] more than…answering questions or getting a right answer. It espouses investigation, exploration, search, quest, research, pursuit, and study. It is enhanced by involvement with a community of learners, each learning from the other in social interaction.” (Kuklthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p. 2) This model is allows equal opportunity and responisbilit for learning between teacher and student. Not only does it identify the educator as a provocateur, this document also clearly highlights the role of the teacher within the classroom. Engaging in “authentic inquiry” puts the learning in the hands of the students, and allows opportunity for self-correction and further questioning. It is important to remember that students have limited experiences, therefore their thinking and exploration is also limited. The role of the educator would then be to encourage students move ideas forward and intervene through repetition, rephrasing, and expansion so that all students are on the same page. I felt most comfortable with this model of learning as it provides a clear outline for the role of the teacher—a seemingly worrisome concept in the ever changing digital world. The model follows a clear, step by step guide: engage in discussion of ideas→connect the questions to the curriculum (the big ideas)→bring the class together to ensure understanding→reflect. By allowing the “spirit of inquiry” (when all ideas are appreciated and are at the centre), ideas can be more readily discussed, particularly when explored in multimodalities. A Rich Seam, co-authored by Fullan and Langworthy, more actively integrates the use of technology within their pedagogical model. Rather than seeing technology as a support and a tool for students in their knowledge, it becomes a means to master the knowledge and encourage deep learning goals. The model is quite simple to follow: pedagogy as a foundation→technology as the tool for deep learning→achieve something new (Fullan, 2014). While using technology to create deep learning, teachers must also understand and accept that they may need to play the role of the student and learn from their class about technology. Will Richardson states that educators should be “master learners”. In order for students to identify with their teachers, they need to be able to trust them, and feel that teachers are engaged with them as learners. I feel that while I understand and appreciate Malloy’s model the most, my core pedagogical values and beliefs lie within Fullan and Langworthy’s model. More specifically, I identify with their belief that teachers become the learners and create a trusting relationship with their students. A lynchpin quote that best sums up all three pedagogical models, and highlights their mutually supportive values was taken from the IBL document: “When students are invited to take part in the learning process from start to finish, they experience a sense of agency and responsibility for their learning, an approach that lends itself to greater student engagement and intrinsic motivation,” (Ryan & Deci, 2000). I think that all three models encourage students to become actively involved and engaged from beginning to end with their own learning. By transferring agency to students, educators are placing ownership for learning in their hands, which creates natural, genuine interest that generates wonderful ideas and inquiries. It is left up to the educators to correctly guide and engage students to unlock their full potential, and become teachers, while accepting that they may need to become students in their own classrooms.
1. Malloy, J. (2014). Transforming Learning Everywhere (policy document) 2. TLE Graphic (Visual Model) – Note reference to Fullan Text below. 3. Fullan, M. & Langworthy (2014). A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. London: Pearson. 4. Ministry of Ontario Capacity Building Series (2013) Inquiry-Based Learning