Think about something new that you have learned lately. Something that required more than five or ten minutes to learn. Something that you had to practice and work at a little bit . . . or maybe a lot.
Do you have a learning situation in mind?
Now consider these questions:
- Did you choose the topic?
- Were you curious about the topic?
- Did you go joyfully into a study of the topic?
- Was it something that you “just had to learn”?
Which of these describes your learning curve for the situation you have in mind?
I’m ready for a two week learning adventure that “kicks off” my summer learning. But with a little reflection, I came to the realization that it definitely kicks off my “out of town/state learning” but not my summer learning.
On Monday of the last two weeks, I worked with Lisa, one of our Technology Specialists, on a “class” that we were offering for local teachers. We had talked, planned, and talked over the course of several months. After the first of May we got serious and talked about what our product would look like. The expression on my face had to be priceless . . . reading apps/tech tools, writing apps/tech tools, and Google drawing. My knowledge level: kinda, kinda, and not a clue.
The class: Exploring and Reviewing Technology for K-5 Reading Instruction
Our goal: Find meaningful quality resources to support quality core instruction in K-5 reading classrooms. We originally thought of reading, writing about reading, and fluency as key areas where data would support that technology might be able to support growth in learning.
How would we do that? Well, we began talking about the criteria for “technology to support reading”. Yes, student engagement is important. Yes, learning is important. Yes, the 4 C’s are important (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity).
How do teachers currently make decisions about WHAT tools to use? Is there a better way to make decisions about TOOLS? We weren’t able to answer all of our questions, but we did learn a lot as we explored and reviewed technology. We modeled a bit of “app-smashing”. In a technological world that changes just about as fast as the temperature or the price of gas, one of our goals was just to increase OUR own knowledge of what tools teachers are using, how they learn about them, and how they know students are learning!
So here’s an example of some of my learning in May to get ready for this class.
New Learning: Google drawing, Canva and a format for sharing. I lucked out on the format and was able to begin with “make a copy” of a similar task card already created by our talented media specialist Tricia. (Here’s a link to view the document in real size.) The goal of this task card is that students could have some choices and follow the directions to try out the challenge.
Teachers would have this version of the card in order to make a decision about whether this would work, or even more importantly, even be appropriate for their students. In some classrooms there are many devices with all students having google accounts. And the lower tech classroom may have fewer devices and no student google accounts. (Google link here.)
New Learning: Continued work with Google Drawing, Canva and considering teacher tips.
Still considering: What’s the best way to “show” an appropriate amount of information without overwhelming teachers or students? How do these drawings work for you the reader/writer?
When I was working on these Google drawings, my learning curve felt like it was almost a straight vertical line – no curve at all, especially when my content for the cards was also new. Because I was familiar with many digital sources of print, that content was the easiest. However two boxes and different colored backgrounds caused more learning about Google Drawings.
It’s summertime and the school year (work year) has ended. But this learning was in the last month and applied in the last days of the year. Teaching, working, and learning up until the last minute . . . and even to infinity and beyond.
Am I always learning? How do you know?
Are you always learning? How do we know?
What’s your plan for continued learning?