“Twitter is so out,” said my 14-year-old daughter when she heard me talking about my day with George Couros. I took the statement with a grain of salt because I know teenagers aren’t known for basing their findings in sound research. However, it opened the door to conversations about how my own kids use their personal devices for learning – at home and at school.
I used to be the teacher who gave the stink-eye anytime I saw a phone in my music class. ‘How dare you bring that portal to the outside world into my classroom?’ Although I’ve come a long way since then, I’m still a questioner. I will question the why and the how these devices are used in the classroom. Mostly because I have no idea.
Example – my innovative teacher fail story:
About five years ago I had a student, Cody. Cody was an energetic, fun, big personality, grade 5 student. Cody LOVED Michael Jackson. He asked me repeatedly and excitedly over the course of the year if we could learn about Michael Jackson. The teacher in me loved his eagerness to learn, but for some reason I could not wrap my brain around how to facilitate this request in the classroom. I was thinking like a “giver of information” and not a facilitator of creativity and curiosity. That year came and went, and, sadly, I had done nothing to encourage Cody’s excitement to learn.
Fast forward 8 months. I had just come back from a leave of absence. Cody was now in grade 6. He and the rest of his class began asking me, “Can we do PowerPoint presentations this year! When can we do them?!” They sounded almost urgent. They so badly wanted to learn using this tool. Upon further investigation, I learned that the substitute teacher, during my absence, had figured out what I couldn’t. With certain tools, in this case PowerPoint, students can direct their own learning. And when they have the incredible opportunity to cultivate their curious nature, there’s no stopping them.
As I continue my journey as a teacher, I hope I can walk the path of innovative education with the creativity, curiosity and excitement that Cody taught me. Who better to learn from than our own students?
Earl Grey School
Cluster Group 1971