I flew away from the Shanghai with more questions than answers. Ready to learn at Learning2.0 conference last week, I was invigorated by the new world we teach in. I can’t tell you how many wonderful tools I tried or about the awesome ways people are using technology in their classrooms. But what I really did was evaluate many of my practices in the classroom and my understanding of how technology works in an education setting. So to state that things are changing, would be a understatement.
I often wonder what my first group of students would think about the way I have changed as a teacher. Things that seemed important back then (staple in the right spot, gum chewing, and seating plans) are no longer even thoughts in my mind. After teaching in international schools, I can feel my classroom management muscles atrophying. There is more flexibility and responsiveness in my teaching and a willingness to say “I don’t know” that was lacking when I started. I used to have Bloom’s Taxonomy flashcards on my desk and thought on a regular basis about moving up to the higher order skills. I now have ten years worth of tricks and assessments up my sleeve. I am proud of my projects and assignments and we do reach higher order thinking skills, but perhaps not as consciously as I should.
Bloom’s Taxonomy has also changed. Creating is now the peak, which to my mind sounds exactly right. And the tools in the classroom have also changed. I am inundated with new Web 2.0 programs and methods for teaching everyday. Andrew Churches attempts (heroically) to classify technology skills into this new hierarchy. And then I found a Web 2.0 Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy visual. And these are my thoughts after Learning2.0….
You’ll see there are a lot of questions on the page. I’m hoping COETAIL might help me answer them. In reality, I’m sure COETAIL will just have me asking even more questions. But you might be able to see which of my ideas solidified after Learning 2.0. I really think trying to put these tools in a box is almost impossible*. And, I think most of those tools can be used in more than one level of the hierarchy and it’s much more fluid than this diagram suggests.
I used to think just using technology would mean my students were engaged in learning. That is not true. What is important is how the teacher uses these tools**. My kids don’t want to reflect about their learning anymore on a blog entry than in a paper journal. And you should hear them groan when I remind them to use Creative Commons. It’s my job to help them take ownership of their learning while at the same time challenging them to try something they may not like. Web2.0 tools and laptops don’t automatically make this balancing act any easier.
When I first started teaching, I used to tell my students I wanted them to be agents of change in the world. I want them to DO SOMETHING important. And if I can help them develop the skills necessary to do that, whether they be Web2.0 or a posterboard and marker, then I am on the right track. And if I can make connections with others to help my students reach out to the world, then I am also on the right track. And that idea is one that hasn’t changed in the past ten years.Photos used by permission from creative commons Historic Strawberry Schoolhouse – dunce chair in the corner
* Here is another version of Web 2.0 Bloom’s Taxonomy. I found it interesting where the two creators placed Wikipedia – one in understanding, one in evaluating.
** This picture is a perfect example of the tool not mattering. I spent way too much time trying to find the perfect way to annotate this picture using technology. Then I realized, it would be so much quicker to just write it out and take a picture on my iPhone. No spell check makes me nervous though.