Sunday, 14 August 2016

LCS - how do your students use their 'share' skills?

I was lucky enough to attend the first EdChatNZ conference back in 2014. Thinking back.. I remember sitting with the secondary school students as they completed their work and hearing them talk about their learning. It was a day I will never forget because when I saw those students talking so freely about their learning, I realised they were doing something I wasn't practicing. I knew I had to put this into practice myself and really wanted to get my students to do the same. This became one of my long term goals.

Adding a little context...
Two of my students emailed the CatDoor Company to see if they could sponsor us to get a microchip cat door for our school cat (as it is so cold at night). On Wednesday they got a response from The CatDoor Company who have graciously given Dusky a microchip cat door, new glass window for installation and installation all for free.  

During second block one of my students had just finished presenting his learning conversation to his mum and myself (yes he was brave enough to discuss his goals etc while the rest of the class worked independently), when Grant (from The CatDoor Company) came into class to talk with him and another student. These two students beautifully handled the business proposal which they explained through learn, create, share. While this conversation was happening I had two other students sit down and join in while a few onlookers listened as they completed their work. Once the business proposal had been wrapped up, the students decided to share some of their learning.  More students lined up to share tasks they had completed, discuss the different learning tools they use and explain how they help them learn.  They had Grant's full attention for a solid fifty minutes.

This is when I stood back and realised that my students were sharing their work independently... no support from me... without me... wait, without me?  Did someone say student agency!?!

YAY! I had achieved my goal.  My learners were sharing their learning by choice.  They had their own motivations, tools and ability to share. My reflection: it was a transformation over time, not a change that happened.  Change is a quick switch that can be CTRL-Z'd just like that, whereas transformation is a process where skills and learning is built upon. That is how I achieved my goal. After seeing my students respond so well to having Grant in the class my new goal is to invite in more experts into the classroom.  Either through social media or in person.  I really need to give them more authentic learning experiences where they can utilise their 'share' skills and reflect on them for improvement.

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