What do you make of this image of the “Perfect Online Teacher”?
Many of the gadgets excite me as a teacher- I love the creative possibility of teaching in the 21st century. I love watching kids take off on an online project, carrying it forward in ways I wouldn’t anticipate. There are limitless ways of students demonstrating their learning, and this not only provides deep and meaningful learning experiences, it is also motivating and just plain old FUN! Sir Ken Robinson artfully discusses the sad trend of conformity in our approach to education- similar to a fast food production line. I have observed online education to breathe life, energy and creativity into the learning environment…and that excites me! This week, my students were working with the webtool, Tagxedo, a recent favorite of mine. As they designed their word creations as their “Mother’s Day” gift, I loved seeing their excitement as the words came to life. Online learning is thick with potential!
One of our greatest challenges is building a new paradigm and enabling our students to navigate successfully in our fast-changing world. While the world wide web has much to offer, the need to develop critical thinkers has never been greater. More than ever, our students need to be developing the ability to evaluate and breakdown what they are reading. In an age of information overload- moving from the 1.0 to the 2.0 to the 3.0 world, our challenge as teachers is to equip our students with these critical thinking skills. I appreciate the “Return Home” label on Inspector Gadget’s shoes. As mentioned in “Teaching and Spinning a Web of Meaning”, we must retain what is most important and foundational to teaching. We return home to what we know about learning styles, intelligences, and having the foundations of literacy and numeracy skills.
Another challenge that comes to mind within this new climate is learning to adapt our instruction to the 21st century learner. As the Oblinger article pointed out, our kids are conditioned for immediacy. They have zero tolerance for delays, and they are geared for multi-tasking. I see this as a challenge for educators, as we attempt to find a balance between adapting to meet their learning needs, but also teaching students discipline, patience and good listening skills.
As the Inspector Gadget image reveals, it is both an exciting, and challenging age to be a teacher!
Part Two: A Response to Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy (Churches)
I find Churches revised model both practical and effective. I have previously found this model to be useful as a resource when considering various webtools in my teaching practice. At its most basic level, it is a solid bank of ideas for a teacher to use throughout the planning process and encourages improved intentionality in teaching for higher-order thinking skills. As mentioned in “Teaching and Spinning a Web of Meaning”, one of the most significant shifts in the 21st century is moving from a focus on understanding content to remaking and creating content. Also, in his TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”, Sir Ken Robinson stressed that creativity is highly undervalued in our current education system, stating that it should be viewed with equal importance as literacy. I see this reflected well in Churches model and find that his digital taxonomy speaks well to the needs of 21st century teachers.