Deep Learning

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Margaret Wheatley

Loving on Children

One of the things that my school really cares about is that all children feel loved. We don’t just talk about it, but we truly stand by this through our actions and words. The children come first.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Our principal reinforces, “Do what is best for the children.” Whether that means trying something new in the classroom, purchasing a new learning tool, allowing a student to carry around a stuffed animal, if it is good for the students, she is supportive. 

Our school cares about individuals, families, and relationships. Because of this, we are able to make changes on the outside as well as within our school community. One example of this is through the implementation of Conscious Discipline. Last year, our principal introduced Conscious Discipline to our elementary teachers.  This approach to social and emotional learning has a strong foundation in safety,  connection, and problem-solving. This was something she felt passionate about, and she wanted to learn alongside the teachers to implement the practices of Conscious Discipline in our school.

Don’t change individuals, change groups. 

Michael Fullan

We have now spent over a year learning about Conscious Discipline. We’ve moved from learning about it to teaching our students how to use the foundational skills in their own lives. Slowly we are starting to see changes. We see changes in the way students communicate with each other, how they work together to solve a problem, and how they care for each other and the world. This is the perfect example of what Fullan says, “if you want to change the group, use the group to change the group.” Change doesn’t happen quickly, but when people work together the work continues on. It doesn’t stop when the principal for example that taught us about Conscious Discipline leaves. We will continue to LOVE ON ALL CHILDREN because this is what the group (the school) stands for.

When children feel loved, safe, and connected, they can learn. They can also collaborate and communicate more effectively, which will lead to deeper learning.

Fostering Learning Partnerships

Another way my school fosters deep learning is through community service. Early on, children are shown what it means to be change agents and to care about the community and the world around them. We do this by getting students involved in helping humanity. For example, our 5th graders are leading a fundraiser for Movember to raise awareness about cancer; especially those affected in Vietnam. The school is also launching a whole school community service project this year that will transform a local community center for the local people. Parents, teachers, and students will be involved in this work. These are just a few examples of how my school truly demonstrates character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.

In my classroom, I work to develop relationships with my students from day one. I believe I am a partner in their learning. I want them to feel supported, safe to make mistakes, and listened to. I want the learning experience in my classroom to feel like an equal partnership with me. To me this means:

  1. Students and teachers work together to make students’ learning a contribution to their community.
  2. Students work actively with problems, ideas, materials, and people as they learn skills and content.

In working to achieve these goals, I learn alongside my students. At the same time, students take more responsibility for their learning, while learning how to become more independent, self-regulating learners.

Key Ideas from the Resources

My take-aways from this week’s learning on deep learning boils down to using the 6 C’s.

 

Frameworks for Learning

Simply adding technology to K-12 technology integration environments does not improve learning. What matters is how it is used to develop knowledge and skills.

-Zucker and Light, 2009

Technology Frameworks

Successful technology integration requires students to have access to a variety of tools that match the task at hand and provides students the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of content. Successful technology integration can accelerate student learning in a way that was once unimaginable. To transform student learning it is important to merge technology with content to create an enriched lesson or unit plan. Most importantly, don’t teach technology as a separate class. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Technology is just one piece of the puzzle.

When planning for technology integration and examining our practices as educators, we must keep in mind how and why we are using technology to enhance student learning. The technology frameworks: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition Model (SAMR Model), Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework (TPACK), and Technology Integration Model (TIM) can all be helpful models in guiding teachers towards using purposeful technology in our classrooms. Let’s take a closer look at the key components of each model!

Comparing Technology Frameworks

         SAMR                           TIM                    TPACK
Picking the right strategy for the lesson on hand

How can educators engage and empower students through technology?

Focus is on levels of use of educational technology (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition)

Makes learning engaging

Offers pedagogical choices available to a teacher in designing a technology-infused lesson

Illustrates how technology can enhance learning

Focuses on planning, describing, and evaluating technology integration

Five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal-directed, authentic, and collaborative 

Five levels of technology integration (entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation)

Merge technology with content to create the perfect lesson, don’t teach technology as a separate class

All about knowledge (technological, pedagogical, and content)

Makes learning more effective

Pedagogy and content are most important.

Solid teaching strategies and solid content knowledge drive instruction and tech components enhance learning.

Practices in my classroom

In my current classroom, we have 1-1 Chromebooks. My students use a computer almost every day to enhance their learning. If I were using the SAMR Model, I’d say I swim between Augmentation and Modification. One of my goals is to swim a bit deeper over to the Redefinition tier.

One way I am going to push myself to do that this week is by connecting with individuals in different areas around the world who have survived extreme weather events like tsunamis or earthquakes. My students are researching extreme weather events and one area of their research is to read first-hand experiences. I know several people who have survived some of these extreme weather events and I thought it would enhance student learning to talk to some of these people about their experiences.

Last week, students collaborated amongst their extreme weather research groups to create a quick presentation (one day to put it together) that would teach their classmates about their reading topics. First, I taught them the CARP Design Principles, then I showed them an example presentation that I designed on droughts. After that, the students used my template to create their own slides.

Using Google Slides, the students were able to collaborate and I was able to offer feedback using the comment feature. Learning for all students was enhanced. The visuals and words in the slides were especially helpful for the audience especially because they are all English Language Learners. Originally, this was met to be a quick activity as students will continue to research a second weather event. However, I wanted to deepen students’ understanding of their topics by teaching each other. By putting together a presentation I was also able to teach students the CARP Design Principles as well as presentation skills.

Takeaways

For each model, there are different components that I find helpful. The SAMR Model by Ruben Puentedura makes it easy to think about the role of technology in supporting learning. It is helpful in identifying where a learning activity falls on the SAMR Model. 

Retrieved from : https://hookertech.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/samr-pool.jpg

The TIM Framework offers different approaches to integrating technology. The matrix framework of this model makes planning for technology integration easier because there are lots of videos and lessons for teachers. Seeing examples that fit into each cell on the matrix helps teachers see what each cell looks like in action. I find the website really helpful!

Photo Taken from: https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/the-invisible-technology-integration-matrix/

Lastly, the TPACK Model focuses on technological, pedagogical, and content. At its core, solid teaching strategies and solid content knowledge drive instruction, and tech components enhance learning.

image ©2012 by tpack.org

After examing each model closely, I like the Technology Integration Matrix the best. I find it to be “user friendly” and the example lessons and videos help me generate ideas easier. Currently, my school does not use any of these technology integration frameworks. However, I am thinking it could be something that we start discussing. This year for the first time we have a S.T.E.M. teacher for elementary (who was once a COETAILer ). Hopefully, this is just the beginning of technology integration at our school and the development of our program will continue to grow.