This quarter, through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, my classmates and I are building skills towards becoming peer coaches in our respective schools. As I describe in an earlier post, peer coaches work with a collaborating teacher to help them to recognize their amazing abilities through questions and periods of reflection, allowing the collaborative teacher to solve their own challenges with the help of a safe, supportive cheerleader on the side. One essential aspect of the peer coaching role is exploring the lesson improvement process, where the collaborating teacher and the peer coach examine a current lesson plan and find ways to enhance what is already being taught. As I move forward with the idea of lesson improvement, I am left wondering how to balance the role of coach without crossing into the position of “expert.” In Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, author, Les Foltos, warns readers that “teachers want a coach to be a peer, not an expert” (Foltos, 2013, pg. 19). Teachers don’t want someone to telling them what to do, they want a friend and a colleague to talk though a lesson and share ideas that could enhance … Read More
This week I explore the first and sixth ISTE Coaching Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University. Through my studies, the terms “21st century skills” and “21st century learners” continue to pop up. These phrases have been used in abundance over the last decade, but what do they really mean? And how do I, as a school librarian, help incorporate them into the classroom? In an effort to succinctly articulate my musings, my question this week is as follows:
What are 21st century skills and how can they be incorporated into the classroom in a meaningful way that enhances the curriculum?
Before I can explore the implementation of 21st century skills, I needed to pause and illustrate what a 21st century learner might look like:
The National Council of Teachers of English define a 21st century learner as someone who is able to:
- Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology,
- Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought,
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes,
- Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information,
- Create, critique,
I have written a number of posts this quarter chronicling the planning, design and execution of my Global Collaborative Project (GCP). Today, I take a moment to reflect on the project and how I was able to address the five ISTE Teacher Standards through the completion of this project.
When the GCP was first introduced by the professors, there were a great deal of questions because the nature of the project is so open-ended. As I look back on the last several weeks, I realize the freedom to pursue a project based on my own interests and curiosities helped me to stretch and grow so much as an educator. As the librarian of a dual-curriculum school, I am always looking for opportunities to connect students with the world and other students of bilingual schools. When I stumbled across Mystery Skype, I knew it had the potential to be a great learning experience, but my school had ever done anything quite like it in the past. With little idea of what I hoped to accomplish, I jumped in with both feet and my fifth graders happily followed. They were thrilled to be participating in a new endeavor, they seemed to … Read More
In my last post, I shared my plans to conduct a Mystery Skype session with my students, as part of a Global Collaborative Project. After several failed attempts and a great deal of research and planning, the students successfully participated in their first session. Check out the highlights, challenges, and their (very honest) feedback:… Read More
This quarter we are exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards and in order to take that learning to the next level, in knowledge and practice, we are planning and facilitating Global Collaborative Projects (GCP). I introduce the project and give an overview of my plans in a previous post, check it out here. In this post, I outline my design for the project and review the 6 A’s of project design:
6 A’s of Project Design
|My students attend a small non-secular school where they participate in a Hebrew immersion program for half of their school day. I was talking to a student recently and they mentioned that it was hard to do their Hebrew homework because they didn’t have anyone at home that spoke the language and could offer assistance. This lead me to realize that my students are part of a very small community and it would be a great opportunity for them to see that there are other students from around the world, that they have things in common with.
By connecting my students to another Jewish day school, they can learn about another school, while noting the various similarities and differences. This can help them
In my final week of exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I examine the fifth standard: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. In an effort to move into a coaching and mentorship role, I reflected on the following question: “How can teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources?”
I work at a private school where many of the teachers are not formal educators; they come to the school with a strong background in the school’s cultural and religious beliefs, but not in classroom teaching. I have noticed that many of them do not pursue professional development opportunities that could help them advance their skills in classroom management, assessment, or effective teaching. Blogger and widely respected technology integration specialist, Vicki Davis states, “Professional development is a vital part of improving your technique as a teacher. Learning best practices and practicing best practices are both important. You can make a school better by improving its teachers. Effective [professional development] can do that” (2015). With this in the forefront … Read More
This week I explore the fourth ISTE Teacher Standard: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and I examine how I can implement the following question into my own practice: “How can teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices?”
My school recently revisited our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) after not having revised it in over two years. We found several discrepancies and have noted that several parents, while they signed the document, still had an array of questions about the one-to-one laptop program and what the laptops should (and shouldn’t) be used for both on and off campus. With this in mind, the school’s Tech Task Force debated the idea of requiring students and parents to attend an orientation in addition to just signing the AUP. I reviewed the policies and procedures of several other schools in an effort to find what works best for the majority. It seems, there is no majority. All schools approach this issue differently, with varying levels of success. What works for one school, doesn’t work for the … Read More
This week I explore the third ISTE Teacher Standard: Model Digital Age Work and Learning through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and I try to answer the following question: “How can teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society?”
My classmates, professors and I discussed the idea that this particular standard covers a very broad range of topics and can be hard to digest, therefore, I made sure to pay particularly close attention to the sub-standards this week:
a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
b. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.
d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning (Source: ISTE Teacher Standards).
After ruminating on the standards for a bit and looking at my own current workplace challenges, I decided to focus … Read More
This week I am diving into the second ISTE Teacher Standard: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and I am attempting to answer the following question: “How can teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the ISTE Standards for Students?”
My school is in the midst of redesigning our middle school enrichment program. Currently, students participate in classes where all the students are learning about the same topic (graphic design, robotics, coding). While this is a great program and some of the students are very interested and engaged, a large handful of students have no interest in the topic and, therefore, are very reluctant to participate. Several discussions have revealed that the enrichment program needs to be revamped for next year, where students have more choice in determining what their area of focus will be. One idea, suggested by an outside consultant, would be to use digital badge learning to allow students to have individual choice and ownership in their learning.
The … Read More