Technology may not make the difference in how a student learns. What makes a difference is the learning environment: how the teacher designs learning, and how they use and integrate technology appropriately. In some cases, maybe no technology is appropriate. In-class discussions may work better. Think-Pair-Share where students are looking into each others’ eyes works well and may increase their self-esteem. Maybe going outside or on field trips. However, there are wonderful opportunities for technology where there is no access to valuable resources.
Add video conferencing for a field trip to a museum outside of your school, state or country where your students could talk to the curator. Add web conferencing to connect classrooms in collaborative projects. Add a website to publish interactive projects and links to resources. Technology allows you to connect, share, and learn beyond classroom walls. If used correctly, the technology with multimedia and interactive capabilities, the student can become more engaged in the content and wanting to learn and share.
No matter what the teacher does, it is important to start with the student. I believe that each student can learn. The problem is motivation and engaging students in the learning process. Much of the curriculum is designed around what we believe children should be doing by a specific age. I believe we need to rethink how we learn, when we learn and how the brain works. Having a teacher present content in front of a class with or without technology where we force feed facts into our students is not going to work anymore. Today, students have access to all the facts they need on the internet. The problem is how do they know these are facts, opinions. or lies. Our students need critical thinking skills to determine authority, bias, and credibility of the facts they find.
What if we redesign our learning environments so students can work together and even alone, at school or at home, from anywhere, anytime and at any age. The Internet, social media, and cell phones are changing the way we live, learn, work, and play. When you look at how students are interacting online, they share everything, play games collaboratively and connect with whoever they want. What if…
- teachers learned how to be the facilitator of their students learning?
- curriculum designers made up of curriculum specialists, teachers, librarians, and students designed critical thinking strategies that scaffolded what students were learning?
- students had individual learning plans based on prior knowledge and not their age?
- classes were composed of people from age who want to learn the content?
- students would have to provide evidence of learning with artifacts, reflections, videos, audio files, and interviews from peers, teachers, and parents?
- learning environments could be designed around a concept where you could use multiple places on-site and online?
My 2 year old granddaughter has been using an iPhone since she was 8 months and knows how to call me on Skype. She knows her ABCs and counts to 50. She sings the lyrics to several songs in key. She understands sequences and how things build upon one another. I believe she’s brilliant because I’m her grandmother and she is smart. However, she has parents that work with her and give her opportunities to learn. I believe all children can have this opportunity to learn early, to reshape how they learn. All children have gifts and can reach their fullest potential.
Technology will be part of our childrens future because they already have cell phones and access to the internet, no matter if we teach them about technology or not. Even if we continue to ban these technologies, our children will find a way to get access. What if…
- we designed community learning centers where the entire community was involved with the learning process?
- our students were also the faclitators and helped other students learn?
- each learner created their own learning plan based on their learning goals?
- each learner requested support from different mentors or facilitators based on their goals?
Around the world schools may continue to look like they have for over a hundred years. That’s all we know and continue to build. Yet, if we want our children to reach their fullest potential, we need to redesign learning environments that meet their needs so they have rewarding futures. Putting them in the traditional school environment will give them the same education that we had and the same opportunities that we give our students today. It’s time for all of us to put our heads together to think of new ideas of learning environments for all learners.
Since Facebook made changes to their privacy issues, users have made some drastic moves like removing themselves from Facebook. Trust is a big concern online. Dan Martell in his study on Flowtown by Pew wrote:
If you cannot trust your network, then what type of information will you be sharing? How can you trust your network or an online community?
I was one of the lucky few who was given an advance copy of Seth Godin’s book: Linchpin: Are you Indispensible? His book hits home for me especially involving education. To see all of the interviews, go to http://www.squidoo.com/the-Linchpin-Posts. I asked him how his ideas fit with schools today and how we can better prepare for our students’ future:
Q. Since I work with educators, I am curious how you see teachers leading this change to more of a gift-giving and artist model? How do you see teacher education in the future as it relates to this model?
Q. Education tends to be a top-down driven model where administrators, standards, policies, and test scores drive what teachers teach. How do you see education changing with this model where the individual sets their agenda?
Q. Do we need to continue the industrial education model (school buildings open 9-3, students at specific grade levels, teachers in classrooms, and summers off), or do you have new models for education based on your ideas of giving, sharing, and artists that set their own agendas?
I’m curious what you think of this new type of artist that we will need. Comments are welcome and encouraged below.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in change, the future, and what type of person we will need for our future. Check out my Squidoo Lens: The Future of Learning. You can set up your own Lens. This article was cross-posted on The Environmentalist
There usually is one manager of an online community. The manager can be called a community manager, a team manager, or an eCoach. The members of your community will need to trust you to feel safe in your community. Here are seven tips to ensure a trusting relationship with the members of your community.
1. Personalize your Community
Ask your community members to fill out their profile, add a picture, and share information about themselves. Encourage members to introduce themselves right away in the discussion forum. Personalize all communications you have with each member. If you send out automated emails, use a program that includes their first name at the beginning of the message.
Feature different members or projects weekly. If your community is still small, try to keep track of a few of the people a week and promote what they are doing. If your community is large, it is difficult for one manager to select and feature members. Encourage different members manage a welcoming committee so the community builds on its own.
2. Lead by Example
As the community manager, you set the tone of your community. You are the person who your members look to for guidance. You are modeling what you want your members to do for a healthy virtual community. If you nudge your members to participate, pretty soon they will start nudging each other. It is important to welcome your new members by offering advice and pointing to relevant information. What you want to do is promote the purpose and value of your community through your behavior. Hopefully, the purpose and value will rub off on your members and they will follow your example.
3. Be True to Yourself
Be authentic. Don’t try to be someone or something you are not. Your community has figured you out as the leader probably from the time they signed up. They will eventually see through any activities that don’t reflect who you are. Don’t lie to your members. Don’t tell them that a new feature will be available soon when it will take a lot longer. If you say something that offends a member, and you believe in what you are defending, hold strong in that position you are taking and explain why. You will not be able to please everyone all the time especially if your community scales up fast.
4. Share What You Learn
Every community has a purpose built around a topic. Whether your community is about cooking, digital storytelling, or home schooling, try and learn as much as you can about the topic. Your members will be more willing to trust someone they perceive is helping them make better decisions. Take the time to understand what your community’s personal challenges and issues are, and attempt to address them yourself or encourage others to provide solutions. Investigate what the community might be promoting and share tips and guides on how best to use it. Dish out advice and showcase your most active members that add value to your community.
5. Learn from Mistakes
Even the best of us makes mistakes and online community managers will make mistakes. Always try to correct your mistake if it involves one member or the entire community. Mistakes usually happen because you are overly tired. The problem with being an online community manager is that the community is open 24/7 and it can be difficult to achieve a balanced life.
So you may get some negative feedback which can be a positive thing for an online community. This is where the community manager can respond to the comments which shows respect and that you care about the community. Find your community evangelists and ask them to jump in to the conversations.
6. Be Consistent
It is real easy to spend more time with one member over another especially if one of the members is an evangelist for your community. However, if you constantly showcase this one member and forget others, you may be accused of favoritism.
7. Let it Go
It’s not a good idea to beg your members to stay in your community, if they just don’t want to be part of your community anymore. There could be a lot of reasons that they want to leave, but, sometimes, it is because they don’t visit that often and belong to too many communities. They may not like another member or the purpose of the community.
If someone wants to leave, do not ignore their request. Remove them from your community, and ask them why they want to be removed so you can determine if this is a problem for others in the community and possibly resolve it.
This post was adapted from Social Media Today: How to Build Trust in an Online Community
Building a trusting online community can take weeks maybe months. Trust is vital to the health of your community. Follow the list above to nurture a positive and open environment. Cross posted on The Environmentalist.