Why Unlearning is Essential to Learning.

Education in the 21st-century has undergone a dramatic shift regarding learning styles and teaching practices.  When asked to conjure an image of a classroom, there are innumerable people that would describe a scene wherein desks are in rows, and the teacher is in the front of the room lecturing as students take notes.  While this may have been considered best practice in the past, those in education have come to understand that that type of education was never appropriate for all learners and, even more important, today’s students learn differently than even the generation or two previous (Edutopia, 2012).  According to Ian Jukes (2013), students of the digital generation do not merely learn differently due to interest, but rather because their brains are physically and chemically different.  “Screenagers”, as Jukes named those of the digital generation, are among the first to grow with the experience of being digitally literate before acquiring a recognized language.  

With an understanding of how today’s digital natives learn, educators must work towards restructuring the classroom to fit their needs.  Despite having this information, the educational system still focuses on standardized testing to evaluate student success.  While our best and brightest student may shock and awe those state and national boards, the dilemma remains regarding students graduating with practical skills for the 21st-century (Crockett, Jukes, & Churches, 2011).  It is not enough to have students memorize information in class to regurgitate on a test later on, but we must cultivate their critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills as well.  Each of these skills will allow our students to be successful in a society that demands creativity, ingenuity, and digital literacy.  

While traditional communicative proficiencies are still critical in today’s society, the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn is now seen as a new type of literacy as well (Crockett, Jukes, & Churches, 2011).  As with learning to read and write, the processes remain the same, but the tools we use to perform these tasks evolve over the years.  This occurrence does not mean that we must eradicate our society of all irrelevant means, but instead, we must ensure that we are teaching proficiencies in a way that ensures they are not lost to the development of a new tool.   The difficulty with developing this new literacy is not merely that it is still seen as foreign to educators, but also it entails a mindset shift for all stakeholders such as administration, families, and students alike.  To thoroughly address our students needs, we must teach them to unlearn, learn and relearn constantly.  

This type of learning requires a great deal of higher order thinking fluencies, which are also essential to success in the workforce and higher education.  As students learn to unlearn and relearn, they are battling the preconceived notions of learning built by society and within their minds (Ritsema, Krukemeyer, & Knecht, 2011).  By opening our minds to these fluencies, we are encouraging self-awareness and deep reflection in education.  In return for these efforts, students will be able to take ownership of their learning, have pride in their work, and develop skills and fluencies that are relevant to their lives (Edutopia, 2012).  We are not only advocating for more effective and meaningful learning environments, but we are working towards ensuring our future generations will be successful in a society that continues to change every day.  

 

References

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Edutopia. (2012). David Thornburg on the evolving classroom (Big Thinkers Series) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/david-thornburg-future-classroom-video.

Ritsema, M., Kruckemeyer, K., & Knecht, B. (2011). Learning to unlearn: Transformative education in the city. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 20, 87-102.

Tanan DG. (2013, July 9). Ian Jukes understanding of the digital generation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kDt55RTTHo.

 

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Un viaje virtual

Hola a todos.   Hello everyone!

In my Spanish classes we have been studying the geography and culture of Spanish speaking countries and at Walden we have been talking about virtual field trips and how they can enhance the classroom experience.  The connection was almost too perfect!

Fast forward through some time and research and I came up with this graphic organizer for my students to use as they tour the art of 3 different countries.  Here’s the link to the organizer:  Mi viaje GO.

Here’s how this worked.  My students and I used the computer lab and went to Google Cultural Institute.  Once they were there, we reviewed how it worked briefly as they had used it in the past and I handed out their organizers.  As they ventured forth into the foreign lands, they were responsible for visiting 3 cultural sites of interest for Spain, Mexico, and a country of their choice.  They also had to identify one interesting fact and one area they would like to examine further.  After traveling to 3 different countries, they had a task on the back to answer their essential question through the use of a venn diagram.

It was a very fun and interesting activity for the students as at first they didn’t believe that there would be any difference between the countries.  Many even went further and “visited” extra countries and made great comparisons between Spanish and Hispanic culture with the U.S.

 

Behaviorism in the World Language Classroom

There are a variety of learning theories that educators study in the hopes of creating the most effective and welcoming learning environment for their students.  Behaviorism is one of the popular theories that teachers look to, but it can also be very misunderstood.  Many people have come to understand behaviorism as the spectrum of bad behaviors that may occur in a class and the following punishment that would be implemented (Laureate Education, 2015).  In reality, there is much more to behaviorism bad behaviors and punishment.  Behaviorist theory does work towards changing behavior, but it can be a very rewarding and meaningful experience for those involved because of the focus on operant conditioning and teaching individuals to behave according to their learned values and desires (Standridge, 2004).  It has also been found that the most effective method for extinguishing negative behaviors is actually through positive reinforcement of desired behaviors and ignoring the bad.

The question remains, how does behaviorist theory fit into the 21st-Century classroom?  There are a variety of answers to this question that can range from new teacher and student roles, technology integration, and the reframing of the classroom set-up.  Technology has become such an integral part of society and as part of this movement, the educational world has taken notice and added a set of standards for students and teachers to promote digital literacy and collaborative skills.  These standards work with the behaviorist theory as there is a large emphasis on building social skills and etiquette.  For example, the ISTE standard three for educators states that teachers should inspire students to collaborate and contribute to the digital community in positive manners (ISTE, 2017a).  This standard essentially sets the stage for the educator to positively reinforce students for good behavior and etiquette as they work through the classroom tech.  As a student, ISTE has stated that students should not only be digital citizens, in which they must use the aforementioned skills, but they must also become empowered learners and global collaborators (ISTE, 2017b).  The behaviorist model applies to these standards as many of them revolve around B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning.  As students are able to navigate their way through class materials using technology, they are signaled to perform in specific ways based on their actions (Laureate Education, 2015).  For example, if one of my students is on Quizlet.com and uses the learn feature, once he or she has displayed mastery with some terms and not others, the program will direct the student to then focus on the weaker knowledge points.  The hope is that as the students progress, they will be able to conduct self-monitoring in ways similar to the programs they have used.  As the scholarly article promoted in my tweet earlier this month, classroom management has also shifted due to the integration of technogoloy and the behviorist theory.  In the article, Dr. Yedla (2014) emphasizes the need for clear expectations, descriptive tutorials and examples, as well as recognizing good behaviors often.  Technology does not necessarily change these needs, but actually makes them much easier to manage through providing students with better differentiation and quick, yet meaningful feedback.

As discussed in an earlier post, I intend to implement a variation of the Genius Hour in my classroom.  With more research into Genius Hour programs and how the behaviorist theory relates to these activities, it is clear that engaging students in project-based learning using various tech tools can help redefine learning and re-engage students.  As the blogger from my twitter feed, Jackie Gerstein (n.d.), writes, education in the 21st-century should encourage all types of learning and should not be refined to textbooks and lectures to rows of students.  Learning needs to be relevant and speak to the learner’s interests otherwise it is no longer meaningful or effective.  Even further, education is not one-size-fits-all and educators must find ways to ensure students are receiving an appropriate education.  Genius Hour and project-based learning does this nicely as they follow the tips given by Laura Moorhead.  As I tweeted, Moorhead (2014) also sees the need for a change in education to meet the needs of our students.  This can happen in a variety of ways, but what fits in quite well with passion projects is the open-ended aspect of the activities.  In my own classes, students will be given a scenario, such as being a travel agent that needs to promote a vacation to a specific country, but how they do so and the information they feel is relevant is open-ended.  These methods not only allow students the freedom to follow their interests, but also to think critically and collaboratively to solve a specific problem with their groups.  These projects are not only fantastic for engaging students in learning, but it also teaches specific behaviors that will benefit them beyond their schooling years.

 

 

Bibliography

 

Gerstein, J. (n.d.) What a 21st-century education looks like. Retrieved October 2, 2017

from

https://www.noodle.com/articles/what-a-21st-century-education-should-look-like-opinion

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017a). Standards for educators.

Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017b). Standards for students.

Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/for-students.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Behaviorist learning theory [Video file]. Baltimore,

MD: Author.

Moorhead, L. (2014). There’s no app for good teaching. Retrieved from

https://ideas.ted.com/theres-no-app-for-good-teaching/.

Standridge, M. (2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning,

teaching, and technology. Retrieved October 1, 2017 from

http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Behaviorism.

Yedla, S. (2014). A-Z classroom management techniques for teachers to teach technocrats.

Language in India, 14(11), 239-245.

 

Reflecting on EDUC 6710

      Technology has evolved rapidly and is integrated into every facet of people’s daily lives.  It has changed the way people socialize, learn and work.  While people may not be fully prepared or possess the adequate skills to utilize technological tools appropriately, education has taken a step towards providing a remedy to this situation.  To combat this problem, and to better reach learners, educators in the 21st century must embrace the integration of technology into the classroom and learn to become a facilitator of meaningful learning.  Teachers need to find ways to enrich the learning environment with these tools and afford students the opportunity to become digital citizens by using these tools safely and responsibly (Tucker, 2014).  

      Walden University’s course, Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society, has introduced me to many web 2.0 tools and provided me with the opportunity to explore the endless possibilities of how they may be used in my Spanish classroom.  Following Dr. Thornburg through discussions regarding various aspects of technology integration in education was insightful.  He discussed how wikis are useful collaborative creation tools and asserted that Wikipedia is a credible source for information (Laureate Education, 2015a).   He also produced an enlightening metaphor comparing our current transition towards technology integration as being our emergence from the stone age (Laureate Education 2015b).  Beyond this course’s engaging resources, I was able to develop my skills with various technologies that I found to be very useful in an educational setting.  For example, social bookmarking has become a tool I intend to use for professional development uses as well as a tool I will pass on to my students during research projects.  Not only is social bookmarking helpful regarding saving valuable resources, but it can also be utilized to connect with others and share a great wealth of knowledge on virtually every topic.  While I learned a great deal in many of the course exercises,  Dr. Thornburg’s messages and the experience of social bookmarking stood out to me as being extremely valuable and insightful due to my inexperience with them.

      Before embarking on my journey with Walden University, I had thought of myself as being tech savvy and having the ability to integrate technology into lessons well.  Through the few courses I have experienced, I have come to understand that although I did enjoy using tech tools with my students and have a created a respectable repertoire of tools to use, I hadn’t had the understanding of what it truly meant to integrate technology into the classroom.  It is not merely using a few web 2.0 tools when it is convenient but rather taking the initiative to find tools that will best assist students in their experiential learning process (Laureate Education, 2015c).  I have gained a deeper understanding of the fact that technology use is only one part of this shift.  To be a successful educator, I must use technology purposefully to accomplish learning goals and provide students with the opportunity to develop the essential 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving (Laureate Education, 2015a).

      One Web 2.0 tool I intend to implement with my students this upcoming year is the classroom wiki.  Not only will the wiki allow students to collaborate and give them an audience to take pride in their work, but the wiki can also serve as an online portfolio.  Having the ability to post publicly and continually edit work empowers students to take ownership of their products and motivates them to maintain a higher level of growth (Baturay, 2015).  With the support of various resources, their peers, and myself, the learners will be able to produce work that will demonstrate transferable skills that are clearly identified on the wiki.  One obstacle we will have to overcome will be access to devices and internet connection.  While our building has WiFi throughout the building, we do not yet have 1:1 devices to access.  While inconvenient, the solution is as simple as reserving time with the computer lab or chrome carts ahead of time and allotting an adequate amount of time for each student to be successful, while continuing to challenge students who need it.  This type of activity allows students to build on their collaboration and creativity while satisfying the ISTE standards 6b and 6d which entail students creating and reworking resources to communicate complex ideas with a particular audience in mind (ISTE, 2017b).  As a teacher, working with the wiki satisfies the ISTE standards 7a and 7b which dictate that the educator provides a variety of ways for students to demonstrate proficiency using technology while designing and implementing various assessments that support individual student learning needs and styles (ISTE, 2017a).

      To assist students in their development of skills needed to be successful in the workplace or college, I have created two SMART goals to enable progress tracking with clear and concise objectives.  First, I will assist in developing digital literacies in at least three formats by the end of the 2018-2019 school year by using various Web 2.0 tools such as blogging, wikis, and social bookmarking.  Progress will be tracked by keeping a portfolio of student work demonstrating abilities using these different digital tools.  Another goal I have created is to increase the student role as a digital citizen by providing a blog for both my guide room students and senior class by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.  This goal will be measured by having guide room participants post at least once per month and for senior class officers to post twice per month during the school year.  These goals will help students become college and career ready as they will have more experience learning to use various types of tech tools and how to reach out to colleagues to provide information or ask for assistance.  

      Through the research performed in this course and the development of these goals, I have come to focus on one issue I that I would like to study further.  In my community, there tends to be little tolerance for different races and religions around the world.  Aligning with the MSED integration of technology and Walden University’s mission to enact social change, I would like to research how I could utilize these technology related tools and strategies to educate our students and community about diversity and increase tolerance for difference thus enacting positive social change.  It is clear that tools such as social media can be utilized to create harmony as well as prevent peace, but how can technology be used to alleviate the tensions we feel starting in our community and branching out to promote social change?  This is a question that I have been working with for some time and hope to continue to work with to solve.  I believe that with the assistance of Walden University’s graduate program, a solution is in sight.

 

References

Baturay, M. H. (2015, January). Online english language learners’ perceptions of portfolio assessment. Teaching english with technology, 15(4), pp. 16-28.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017a). Standards for educators. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-educators.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017b). Standards for students. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015a). Skills for the 21st Century [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015b). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 1 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015v). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 2 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Richardson, W. (2015). From master teacher to master learner. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Tucker, S. Y. (2014). Transforming pedagogies: Integrating 21st century skills and web 2.0 technology. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), pp. 166-175.

Bringing Blogging to Spanish Class

           Integrating technology into the classroom has been a hot topic in education for the 21st century.  One tool that has been shown to have a great impact on the reading, writing and critical thinking skills of students in the classroom is blogging.  The idea behind using blogging is that students will learn to create content for the public to view, review ideas from other online users, and respond to posts and comments critically and respectfully (Arena, 2008).  It is true that blogging goes beyond the act of journaling as students write for a bigger purpose when posted online.  Students must carefully choose a topic, write a thoughtful reaction which will provoke others to react in some way, and continue in a meaningful and engaging conversation with these ideas.  Teachers that have started testing out blogs have said that despite the preconception that blogging is only for mature students, it is beneficial for students of all ages because it requires more reflection before submitting their work.  Rather than the teacher being the only person to read their thoughts and put a grade on it, their peers will now be able to read and respond to their work.  Students having work visible to others places a greater importance on composition, which motivates them to edit their writing and think about how their thoughts will reflect their abilities and opinions (Laureate Education, 2015)

           After reviewing the benefits of using social networks such as blogging in the classroom, I began brainstorming how I could utilize this tool in the 8th-grade Spanish classroom.  I currently teach the first year of foreign language for our students, which entails a lot of simple language and diving into different culture.  I have always wanted a way to add more culture to our routine, but due to testing requirements, I always had to sacrifice culture for language instruction.  For this upcoming year, I intend to create a classroom blog for students to comment and post through.  As the teacher, my only contribution to the blog itself would be to supply reading materials and feedback to each student.  The concept is for the students to read about cultural events and controversial topics, such as the end to the Spanish siesta, and discuss their reactions with their peers.  Also, to emphasize the importance of collaboration, students will also be responsible for group postings that would teach the class about different countries or festivals.  We would start this project as a whole class and go through the process and responsibilities of blogging step by step.  Although many students already use social media, the idea is to learn how to use it appropriately, understand the impact of posting information and reactions to the internet, and eventually to construct posts that go beyond simple journalling and reach into the realm of meaningful and thoughtful reflections and responses.

           The creation of this blog not only helps to engage the students in a format that they are more comfortable with, but it also meets many standards set forth by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  As an educator, blogging allows me to design and implement learning experiences that are relevant to the digital age (ISTE, 2017b).  This means that the works students complete through the blog are tailored to the various learning styles of my students, and it provides them with the freedom to pursue curiosities they encounter along the way.  As students become more comfortable with these tools, they will be working towards becoming global collaborators (ISTE, 2017a).  As members of the digital world, students will be able to use their tools to explore global issues and work collaboratively to problem solve solutions.

           Another standard that I am pleased to be able to work with is the promotion of digital citizenship and how to use these web 2.0 tools appropriately (ISTE, 2017b).  Through our immersion with blogging, students will begin to understand the implications of posting content to the internet, which will hopefully encourage them to reflect upon their practices when it comes to social media also.  Becoming digital citizens means that our students can use these tools safely, legally, and ethically, especially with social interactions online.  The hope is that students will be able to respect the opportunities provided by this global network, but also be aware of their personal privacy and security (ISTE, 1027a)

           Overall, I am excited to explore the possibilities that web 2.0 tools such as blogging have to offer our students.  Classrooms that support the integration of technology offers more than a new platform for students to utilize, but it provides a new source of flexibility, creativity, and promotes critical thinking skills that reach students of all levels and needs (Domalewska, 2014).  Not only do I believe these activities will become an important and engaging aspect of our classroom, but I feel that it will also motivate students to continue their exploration of new information outside of the school setting.  

 

References

 

Arena, C. (2008). Blogging in the Language Classroom: It Doesn’t “Simply Happen”. TESL-EJ, 11(4), 1-7. Retrieved July 10, 2017, from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ898140.pdf

Domalewska, D. (2014). Technology-supported classroom for collaborative learning: Blogging in the foreign language classroom. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 10(4), 21-30.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017a) Standards for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-teachers

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017b) Standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Spotlight on technology: Blogging in the classroom [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.