Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Reflection on Learning and Practice [Activity 2]

My takeaways from MindLab

This course has opened my eyes to the benefits of digital tools in the classroom.  Prior to MindLab, I was aware of tools such as Kaizena, Explain Everything and GAFE but I had no idea about the potential benefits of using them in the classroom .

As part of this course I have learned how to use these tools in the classroom and presented an assignment on Kaizena.  I researched this tool and was surprised about how effective Kaizena is, yet it is not widely used in digital classrooms.  Just when I thought I knew everything about Kaizena, how it could be used for teachers to provide feedback/feedforward and had seen the potential impact it could have for our ESOL learners, I was guided (through feedback from my assignment) towards how this tool could be used for students to peer-review each other's work.   One of my take-aways from this course has to be 'empowering our learners'.  I am no longer looking solely at ways to develop my teaching capabilities.  Now I am seeking ways to empower my learners and set them up for success.

Another take-away is the power of collaboration.  In my classroom, 'Collaboration' is a term which has been loosely been defined as 'working together'.  Through MindLab I have refined this definition to include not only participation, but critical reflection and challenging each others beliefs and understandings.  That the end product isn't just a 'target' to reach together.  Rather it is a journey to see how we reach the target together and then how far the target can be stretched, altered and applied in context.  This was evident in my work with Vicki Archer.  The challenging conversations and deeper understandings that were brought to light during our collaborative work on assignments has stuck with me more than the other assignments I completed on my own.

The third take-away is based around my Leadership skills and where to next.   When I look at my grades throughout my studies with MindLab, I am definitely lacking Leadership skills and an understanding of these.   I sometimes default to 'learner mode' and listen, then act on instruction, as opposed to stepping up and assuming role as leader.  However, with the discussion around leadership styles, I now have an idea of how to transition into the role of leader, but I will still need to research and further unpack the capabilities of a strong and effective leader and the leadership style that suits me.  This is my next step and I hope to lead Science and Reading programmes next year.

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