Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Rethinking How Teachers Teach and How Students Learn

With 30 year experience of teaching, 24 of which have been in international schools in Europe and Asia, Maggie is a diligent blogger reflecting her thoughts with practices on education and IT technologies which we enjoy reading and get inspired. Her blog “Tech Transformation” (by Maggie Hos-McGrane) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

teacher PLN, teacher PLCThe concept of Personal Learning Network(PLN) had been popular for over one year, especially it’s very easy to start building PLN with so many social media and web2.0 tools. But Maggie’s reflection on “PLN vs PLC” is about the importance of building a community of practice within your organization.

“Whether or not I have chosen these people, the fact remains that they are my colleagues and it is my responsibility to connect and collaborate with them so that the educational needs of our students are being met in the best possible way.  

I’ve been thinking about this and asking myself why it seems so much harder to develop a community than a network.  I think in part it is because as teachers we do not always agree on the best way forward especially when, despite all our efforts, we have students who still experience difficulties with learning….”  

Creativity comes from being connected debated the impact of social networking, she used Pew research result and this animation to support her thoughts. It resonates with what Steve Jobs commented on “creativity”, he thought his creativity came from connecting dots.

Rethinking how students learn is about 21st century skills :

The big difference between 21st century education and education that went before it is the embedding of the skills into the curriculum.  In my mother’s day, for example, and even when I was at school, we didn’t do much problem solving or decision making.  Those skills weren’t seen as important because when we left school and went to work most of us expected to be told what to do….

We need to ensure that 21st century skills are embedded into all curriculum areas, into all teaching, into all assessments and into the professional development of the teachers who are planning the new learning environments.

And the Part2 of this topic she shared more of her reflections on digital literacy as 21st century skills, according to the framework devised by Henry Jenkins which doesn’t focus on technology but on the intellectual activity that students use when working with ICT.

  • Play – experimenting as a form of problem solving – I know this is something I’ve heard discussed a lot at school this year.  Our new Assistant Principal has certainly stimulated a lively debate around the value of play and there has been a big difference in the way our outdoor spaces have been used by our Early Years students who spend the first part of every day outside exploring various activities.
  • Performance
  • Simulation
  • Appropriation – remixing media content – again this is something that I’ve seen students doing much more of this year.
  • Multitasking – the ability to shift focus as needed – I’m really interested to see this included as a digital literacy since multitasking is often seen in a negative way as leading to not doing anything particularly well.
  • Distributed cognition
  • Collective intelligence – pooling knowledge with others – this has become a reality this year with many of my classes as they are using Google Docs to collaborate on their research.
  • Judgement – evaluating the reliability and credibility of information sources – something we have been able to working very hard on as an ICTL department now that the library and IT teachers meet as a department every week.
  • Transmedia naviation – the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities – in our case we are having students create stories in multiple ways too.
  • Networking – searching for, synthesizing and disseminating information
  • Negotiation – respecting multiple perspectives – a very important aspect of what the IB refers to as international mindedness.

Please follow and enjoy her reflections on education and technologies, or have thoughts collisions there.


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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