3 ways to de-privatize our practice
My first teaching job was in the library at a large, open-concept elementary school in Howard County, Maryland. The library was the hub of the school. During my classes teachers, administrators, and para-professionals walked freely in and out of the library, occasionally stopping to watch our progress.
And it was terrifying.
I felt scrutinized! But, after many months of these informal observations, I began to relax, and then having all of those eyes on my teaching was hugely helpful.
My mindset shifted from helpless vulnerability to hopeful vulnerability; this was an opportunity to learn from experts.
At TechJam this past autumn I was fortunate to run into a number of student groups who were there to show off projects. That forum, and others like it, gives learners a space to share, interact, and learn from each other. One group I met was from Big Picture South Burlington (@BigPictureSB), a community of learners working in the Big Picture model within South Burlington High School. Big Picture is all about authentic real-world learning, and this group of students had chosen to enter the ChampBot Challenge at the Champlain Mini Maker Faire. Talking with the students and their advisor Jim Shields during and after got me thinking about a number of issues related to collaboration, constructivism, and student choice in STEM education. Continue reading
We’re flipping for Flipboard — and your students will too!
Flipboard is a free mobile app for the iOS, Android and Google Play tablets that allows you to “flip” content into self-curated magazines. Translation: you grab webpages, videos, tweets or images, and pull them together into magazines.
The magazines are the important bit. Haven’t you ever wanted to helm your own? Even if you haven’t, it’s a sure bet your students have and do. So how can you make Flipboard about learning?
For a lot of kids, science can be something you learn about, instead of something that you do. This is understandable – a lot of experiments that students do in the classroom aren’t exactly leading towards new discoveries. Even if it’s an amazing reaction or a wonderful simulation, it can be hard for students to feel as though they’re really “doing” science. This is where things like citizen science projects can come in.