Monday, July 9, 2012

ISTE Field Trip - Alan November's Digital Learning Farm

Many of us would all agree that students learn best when they have a vested interest, a desire or passion in what they are learning. As educators, we are forever working toward capturing that passion in our students by providing learning experiences that are authentic, challenging and relevant to the lives of those we teach. Alan November would take that one step farther, reminding us about the human need to make community contribution and encouraging us to bring this concept to the forefront of lesson planning. This was the backdrop to his ISTE session: Digital Learning Farms - Students as Contributors and it was amazing. Everytime I hear Alan November speak I walk away with something valuable and this session was no exception.

Creating digital learning farms instead of school classrooms comes from the idea that children used to contribute to the family farm via chores. Everyone on the farm had a job to do and these jobs fullfilled a human need to contribute to the community as a whole, giving purpose to the individuals behind the work. Success of the community was dependent upon each and every individual no matter the age. November suggests designing classroom, or digital farm, roles for students to build on this concept. (Check out his article on November Learning for more detailed information.) The roles are:
  1. Curriculum Reviewers
  2. Tutorial Designers
  3. Collaboration Coordinators
  4. Official Scribes
  5. Researchers
  6. Contributors to Society
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano published an incredible chart of iPad apps relative to these jobs on her Langwitches Blog

He then went into describing how the first week of school might better be spent teaching the skills needed to perform these functions throughout the year. In other words spend the first week of school building the capacity for all kids to contribute. My notes are chaotic - there was so much good stuff coming out of this man's brain. Below is my attempt at capturing his brilliance.

Notes:  Digital Learning Farms - Alan November
  • Farms - everyone has a role, contributes
  • Wouldn't it be great if schools worked this way
  • Youtube video on Daniel Pink's book, Drive.
  • 3 things to increase motivation- purpose, autonomy and mastery
  • Purpose - work you do must not only be for yourself
  • Autonomy - individual can make their own decisions
  • Mastery - go deep into a subject, develops passion
  • These three things are largely missing from school for children.
  • How to avoid the pitfall - what do i need to do to get an A and then they do no more
  • Put teachers who are passionate about teaching into this type of system that doesn't motivate and then you have disaster on all parts. It isn't the teachers fault.
  • teacher built a library of student designed tutorials. Question - are we underestimating what students can do. None of the tutorials on this website have been graded.
  • NEVER GRADE CREATIVE WORK - It is demotivating
  • Look at prime factorizationAnother kid says I want to learn this from this video and this kid because my teacher explains things like I already know them. Plus, the video has a rewind button.
  • What is going on? Kids will work hours instead of minutes because they have purpose (created for an audience) indicated by the many students who state - thanks for listening
  • Create an opportunity for your work to be valued throughout the world
  • Assign work that allows children to add value to the world
  • First five days of school -
    • Day 1. Build capacity for all kids to contribute- every kid learns how to use a screen casting tool so we can teach children how to design tutorials
    • Day 2. Official scribe for the day by using ipad to take photos and video to document and reflect on learning collaborating on notetaking together
    • Day 3. Advanced research skills - teach how to get the best content from anywhere in the world so students know what quality looks like
    • Day 4. Teach children how to think globally by becoming global researches - teach diigo and contribute to a library of researchers. Diigo is an important source for students to use in this world to think globally. Diigo also avoids the pitfall of every kid out for himself by creating a community of learners building a library of resources
    • Didn't get day 5
    • Teach children how to:
      1. Collaborate on notetaking
      2. Build a database on the best student work created
      3. Make documentaries
      4. Build a library together using DIIGO
  • Flipped classroom - have the kids working harder than the teacher..
  • have videos designed by kids instead of the teacher
  • Every day one student is the official scribe
  • Do everything we can to enhance conversation with one another
  • - best first grade website because it is filled with videos the first graders produce. The kids cant read but they can navigate the internet and listen to youtube videos published by kids
  • Austrailians are buying a laptop for every 6-12 student in their country.
  • Asked teacher - What is the biggest waste of your time? Teacher answers science fair
  • Answer - type in award winning science fair projects in google and show it to your class
  • Use the :sg after the search to find singapore science fair projects
  • Teach kids to go out and find the best examples of student work before they do it themselves, teach the world codes so you teach kids how to search the world for quality
  • This would be a good tech tuesday - google search tips
  • Kid searched iranian hostage crisis. Point out there are no sources from iran. Would you agree there are iranian points of view different from our own. Show kids how to search via country code lists
  • Change the search because iranians wouldnt call it iranian hostage crisis better search : "american hostage crisis":ir
  • You must get the other point of view or you will mess it up, you will never understand what you are doing.
  • It is no longer sufficient to not teach other points of view.
  • Site:k12.*.us. Follow this after a search to find teacher websites
  • We should be teaching kids how to look up stuff
Google Search Tips

Search Operators

Cheat Sheet For Search Operators

Google Guide for Queries

A Google A Day

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1 comment:

  1. Great Article. I love the "farm" analogy. It makes so much sense. I wonder how old you can really start this at. I am thinking maybe 2nd graders. Thanks for sharing about ISTE