My name is Marijana Dvorski and I work as a preschool teacher in public kindergarten Različak in Zagreb. I am currently working with children 1 - 2 years old. They learn with us how to live outside their families, first steps, first words... I am a longlife learner interested in educational policies and implementation of it, especially in kindergartens.
Kindergarten Različak is in the center of Croatian capital city Zagreb. It is nice and progressive place for children to grow up. You can see more details here (in Croatian only): http://www.vrtic-razlicak.zagreb.hr/
Why and how should we change our practices and classrooms?
According to Deirdre Butler - Senior Lecturer in Education at dublin City University society has an outdated understanding of what a teacher should be. Nowadays, teachers have to be supported that they can take risks, that they are allowed to fail and to learn from the failures. Teachers have to be supported to design exciting learning environments. Rapidly changing attitudes, cotexts, job requirements in society require learners who can teach themselves and easily adopt to new situations. Our schools should be learning organizations for both teachers and students. According to Bart Verswijvel, Pedagogical Advisor at european schoolet flexible classroom spaces have the potential of incorporating more learning styles. Flexibility is crucial in regards to physical learning spaces.
Changes in schools are too slow compared with changes in the world.
Are we ready to go outside our comfot zone in teaching, how many of us have support in our schools to use different teaching tools? Are we ready to take a risk inside our classrooms and try different approach? I might notice that not all the teachers are ready to move on from traditional way of teaching and many schools and kindergartens are far away from learning organizations.
Learning zones in the classrooms
Many preschool classrooms in Croatia are organized with learning zones according to the idea that accademic segregation of subjects might not correspond with the reality of daily life. Learning zones enable students to work and play independently but also in collaboration with others. It would be great for students to have similar learning classrooms in schools - we should make context to enjoy the fun of learning. I would like to have more appropriate furniture for the little ones in my classroom(lower furniture with space for different didactic materials). I really like that there is enough space for moving around different zones in the classroom. We change learning zones from time to time.
The Learning Objectives for this module are:
1. Understand the concept of future classroom scenarios
2. Explore the Future Classroom Toolkit that provides ideas and tools for developing a future classroom scenarios
3. Consider why it is important to involve stakeholders and which stakeholders you would want involve for your process of innovation
4. Discuss a variety of trends and challenges that are impacting on our work as educators
When innovating our practices it is important to think about the trends and challenges that will impact our work in the future and also to listen to all our stakeholders.
From future classroom to future teaching
1. catering for diversitiy
2. education for employability
4. digital divide
6. learning communities
7. personalized learning
8. special needs
9. Innovation. A step forward.
José Luís Fernández: A flexible learning space to support students with different learning styles and needs to create, collaborate and interact, enhancing them to make the most of their capacities, with the help of technology, furniture and design.
Future Classroom Lab is a pedagogical approach, a proposal to definitely break spatial barriers where our students can become the center of their own learning. This is a move towards the future of learning where mentors (teachers) design the learners’ personal and intellectual growth.
Developing a clear vision of how we would like to change what happens in our schools and classrooms is an important first step to introducing innovation. Therefore, before even thinking about buying new technology or re-designing classrooms we need to think about where we want our individual journey of innovation to take us.
To develop such a vision won't just be helpful for shaping our process of innovation but it will also be a powerful way to convince others to join our path of innovation. If we have a very clear idea of where we want to go and why, it will be much easier to convince our colleagues, students, parents to join us on this journey.
Learning zones in future classrooms:
Verbs of action that promote active learning:
Creating learnig zones: what for?
Basic steps in creating future classroom lab
1. physical space available
2. set up a working group responsible for the creation plan of actions
3. develop your idea of future class lab with the wodest consensus possible
4. prepare the space for future classroom lab
5. deal with technological and furniture companies
6. responsible group for the management and maintenence of future classroom lab
Resources for Future Classroom Lab
- descriptions of learning and teaching wich provide a vision of the future of education -
How to go about creating a vision of Future Classroom Lab?
Future Classroom Scenarios Toolkit:
- The toolkit should help you to establish a path through the process of innovation
- Some key steps that are identified in the toolkit and that highlight certain areas of importance
- term classroom - it is not just a traditional room in the school but anywhere that learning takes places including at home or other places outside the school
- trends are the building blocks of a Future Classroom Scenario - trends such as increased use of certain technologies, changes in interactions such as those created by social networking and other factors such as policy priorites and curriculum developments all need to be considered by educational practitioners in their planning and operations
Maturity modelling - valuable way of a teacher or for school administrators to identify how advanced or innovative their classroom or school is, and what they may want to do to encourage greater innovation.
The role of trends & stakeholders
One of the first steps when developing a new vision for our teaching and learning should be to talk to those people who will be impacted by these changes. The earlier these people are involved, the less likely we will face opposition to the suggested changes and the more likely the changes will have a substantial impact. This means we need to consider who are our stakeholders and how do we involve them.
We also need to consider what is happening outside of our schools. It is very easy to fall into the trap of staying inside our "school bubble". But if we are serious about innovation it is important to consider what is happening outside of school because at some point it usually has a big impact on what happens inside of schools. That is why considering the role of trends in society, technology, education, politics, etc. should be a fundamental part of this exercise.
Which group of stakeholders you think is most important to involve for achieving successful innovation in the classroom? Of course, the more stakeholders you can involve, the better, but in reality we often have to make choices about who we focus our efforts on.
Why involve a wide group of people in scenario building? All of the stakeholders are affected by what happens or doensn't happen in the classroom. They all have views and if changes happen without consulting them they're likely to be opposition and resistance. Different views of different people help to avoid what it is callled "group think".
" A general direction in which something is developing or changing." - Oxford dictionary
A gradual change over time, not always immediately apparent, having potential long term impact.
Why look at trends (according to
1. to step back from the day - to - day and to take a helicopter view of what's going on in the classroom (away from preoccupation of day - to - day routine)
2. to assert some control over the future - trends either shape the future classroom and stakeholders are at the mercy of them or, they can be harnessed to create the future classroom stakeholders wish to see
It is important to remember that with trends we don't just mean education or technology trends but also economic, social and political trends.
The Learning Objectives for this module are:
1. Understand a variety of ways how technology can be used in schools
2. Evaluate the level of pedagogically effective use of technology in your classroom or school
3. Develop and share ideas of effective and innovative use of technology in the classroom and school
4. Discuss lesson examples that integrate technology
Use of technology
Just by bringing ICT into classrooms does not automatically lead to new teaching and learning practices. In order for ICT to become a tool that helps us to develop 21st Century Skills, we need to really think about how, where and when we use it in the classroom.
Learning supported by technology can take place anywhere and anytime and at some level learner takes much more responsibility and control of their own learning.
Online tools recommended to develop creativity:
Using technology means working on kids` motivation, their attention, their interests. It greatly encourages collaboration.
Innovation Maturity Model
Module 4: Learning activities for 21st century skills
The Learning Objectives for this module are:
1. Explore how the general vision of a scenario can be broken up into more concrete and short learning activities that teachers can use to achieve the scenario.
2. Develop an understanding how the 21st Century Learning Design Rubrics can help to create rigorous learning activities for 21st Century Skills.
3. Identify suitable learning activities for the Flipped Classroom scenario.
The Concept of Learning Activities:
Good questions to ask and important to answer:
1. Will it work for my subject, for my students?
2. Do I have the time or resources to do this?
A learning Activitiy simply describes what the teacher does and what do students do. a learning Activity generally does not include learning objectives and is not curriculum specific. So a good learning Activity is something that could be used in a range of different lessons such as history, or science, or anything else.
An example of iTEC learning activities
Collecting data outside of school
Students go outside of school to collect data. The data can either be in the form of multimedia or scientific observations. Either the entire class goes outside, or only some of the students.
Mental notes about learners
You record mental notes about learners. These notes are based on your observations of their working habits, personality traits, social connections, hobbies, and special skills. The mental notes aid in forming functional teams and also support your interactions with your students. You use the TeamUP tool to record your notes.
You divide the class into small teams of 4-5 learners that are optimal for collaboration. Each team has their own topic of inquiry that is related to the theme of the course. You let the learners suggest topics they are interested in and use the TeamUP tool to match learners and topics, using information stored in mental notes.
Independently working individual learners or teams of learners post periodic status updates for other learners and you to be able to follow the independent activities and progress.
Learners view each other’s work and provide feedback, praise, and criticism. Peer feedback can be used when students present their project outcomes, but it can also be used as part of a knowledge building activity, when students are discussing about a challenging topic.
Working with outside experts
Students receive additional and/or deeper knowledge from an out-of-school expert of a relevant field. In addition to a video interview, the expert may be involved in following teamwork and commenting on it.
The Edukata Process
Another very useful tool to help you build learning activities for Future Classroom Scenarios are the 21st Century Learning Design (21CLD) Rubrics developed by the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project. The 21CLD rubrics help you to identify, understand and build learning activities that allow students to develop 21st Century Skills. The rubrics incorporate a framework for coding learning activities along a number of questions to ensure you are embedding 21st Century Skills in your teaching practices.
Learning Activities for the Flipped Classroom Scenario
Tool for Teaching: Socrative
Learning stories - provide examples and have set of learning activities. Learning activities are designed to be able to be used by different teachers, different subjects in different classrooms.
LEARNING SCENARIOS - general description based on emerging trends in education, society and technology. It describes the context and environment in which the learning takes place, the interaction between the teacher and the students, the tools and resources.
LEARNING ACTIVITIES - they are based on the learning scenarios - foming teams, collecting data outside the classroom etc.
You present a design brief to your class that ties to the curriculum and the local community, but leaves room for interpretation. You inspire the students by providing them with the motivation for giving their best and by telling them about the ownership and freedom over the task. You present your schedule, and negotiate the assessment criteria with the class. Students form teams, discuss, question and familiarize themselves with the design brief. The teams refine their design brief, particularly in relation to whom they are designing for, initial design challenges and possible design results. Students record reflections and document their work online.
Student teams explore the context of a topic or question either by observing relevant practices or environments using digital cameras, notebooks and microphones, or by searching existing works that relate to the topic or question by collecting relevant examples that they can use in answering the question or explaining the topic. They share their collected media files on their blogs and record a reflection. You guide their search and support them in the qualification of their material. Note that viewing and qualifying video material can be time consuming. Spending time viewing videos that contain inaccurate information, can be a detour from which a pedagogically meaningful conversation may arise, and may provide students with a first-hand experience about the appearance of an invalid source. Some students, for example younger ones, may need more guidance in performing this activity.
Teams analyse their findings on a given question or topic using mind-mapping techniques. They identify relations, similarities and differences between the examples and/or media files they collected. Based on their collected information and analysis, the teams refine their answers or explanations to the given topic or question. Then the teams record a reflection. Open ended questions can be challenging for students to answer initially. However, after passing the initial threshold, students are likely to have inspiring ideas.
Students and the teacher record, post and share audio-visual reflections and feedback of project progress, challenges and future steps. The students slowly build a shared collection of ways to tackle challenges, which can be used after the project ended.
Based on a design brief and design ideas, student teams start making a product. They create their first prototype, and discuss it afterwards. The discussion especially relates to how well the design addresses the identified design challenges. They then record a reflection and document their activities. Careful guidance through the learning activities and the process of creation is indispensable for students to keep their minds on learning potential curricular requirements. Highlight the reflection after this activity and ensure that everyone focuses on addressing the needs of an audience. To avoid free-riders or unequal workload division, carefully divide tasks and roles within teams.
After having created a product as part of their work (prototype, presentation, design, etc.) student teams meet with 2–4 “experts”. These “experts” could be future users, readers, or recipients of the product created by the team. Expertise may be interpreted broadly, for example, a construction site worker can be considered to offer deep insight into the everyday practices of people on a building site. Other students or teachers can also be considered as “experts” in certain areas. The student teams communicate their ideas using prints, drawings, models or other supporting materials. The “experts” are encouraged to modify and comment on the product. After the meeting the students analyze the comments and decide how to interpret them for their re-design. They then refine their product, especially in relation to the challenges, context and added value of the result, record a reflection and update their documentation. This activity can happen more than once at varying time investments and can be conducted online or face to face.
Students create a video with English subtitles presenting the results of an investigation, a product they have created or some other piece of work. In the video they also address their learning achievements and possible future steps. They share this video with other students in the school, their parents and their identified audience to transfer their learning, to communicate the background of their project, to let others know about the possibility to remix their work, and to receive feedback for improvement.
Students collaborate with students from other schools. Ad-hoc and serendipitous collaboration, driven by the students is encouraged.
LEARNING STORY CRITERIA - School Education Gateway
When you create your Learning Story try to apply as many elements from the course as possible. For example, try to integrate some of the Learning Activities and technology tools that were introduced throughout the course.
Here is a list of criteria you should consider when creating your Learning Story. You will also use this list to provide feedback to your peers in the 2nd task of the final assessment.
- The Learning Story develops 21st Century Skills: for example, activities develop collaborative skills in addition to acquisition of knowledge
- The Learning Story uses technology to develop 21st Century Skills: for example, technology is used as a tool to produce something (a film, animation, presentation, etc.) or is used for students to collaborate more easily inside and outside of the classroom
- The Learning Story is well aligned with its learning outcomes: activities and assessment clearly link with the defined learning outcomes and allow the teacher to determine by the end of the Story if the objectives have been achieved
- The Learning Story is balanced: there is a good mix of activities with at least four different Learning Activities used (TLAs in the Learning Designer) and none of the Activities taking up more than 35% of the time (see the pie chart for this)
he Learning Objectives for this module are:
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of peer review as a tool for teaching as well as a tool for professional development
Develop your Learning Story further so that it incorporates the key elements covered during the course
Reflect on the topics covered during the course by evaluating your peers’ Learning Stories
THE CONCEPT OF PEER REVIEW
The concept of peer review is deeply enshrined in the work of academics at universities. Much of their career depends on writing peer-reviewed articles. In teaching, peer-review or peer observation is less common (this applies also to university level teaching, probably even more so). However, if done well, it can be a powerful way to improve our teaching practise as it results in collaboration, reflection and often is a stimulus to try out something new.
The key benefit of such a process is, that it does not only benefit the person receiving the feedback but also the person providing the feedback. Reviewing or assessing someone else's work requires a reflection of one's own work as well as a reflection of what works and what doesn't. Peer review is therefore an effective form of professional development for both sides taking part in the review.
Peer review is of course also an effective activity for students that promotes collaboration, critical thinking and self-reflection. Take a look at the video below from MIT where professors and students tell of their experiences of using peer-review in teaching and in academia. It introduces a lot of interesting ideas about the value of peer-review.
However, peer review for professional development or as an activity for students is not an easy activity and it needs to be done well in order to be effective.