… to try new things in new ways??
Probably most of you already heart about Sugata Mitra and his great experiments in India. What a smart idea to give children some computer, leave them with a question and see what will happen:
Sugata Mitra – Here a great TED talk:
As a result of his experiments over the last 10 years he developed a concept about how to set up his ideas of teaching and learning: SOLE
– Self Organized Learning Environment. You get ideas to set up a classroom, to give them good questions to inquire into, you get an idea of the role of the teacher and a student manager as well as some examples of results of the students.
The video and SOLE made me think a lot about Grade 5 (Exhibition) – Sharing the Planet. In German we decided as a team to integrate with Ecosystems, more or less like an own unit. From the beginning I felt hesitation. It’s so hard for me this time to make it meaningful for them. We decided it’s meaningful because Grade 5 haven’t done enough Science before they will move to middle school. Not a good reason in my opinion. The TuningIn was already quite difficult for me and for them as well. Most of them found questions but 2 students mentioned that they know already “everything”. A sign for me?
Again: How radical can I be? I’m tempted to just give them the laptops and few main questions (Lines of Inquiry) regarding ecosystems and follow the idea of a self organized learning environment. I could think about my students and even differentiate the questions depending on their level of German. Although I’m pretty sure that they are able to find answers anyways.
Must – question:
How does a ecosystem look like?! (FORM)
How does a ecosystem work?! (FUNCTION)
Answer at least one question:
How is it connected to other thing? (CONNECTION)
How does it change? (CHANGE)
Present the results which shows your understanding and which you can share with others.
But: Will it be more meaningful for the students? It might become more meaningful because they determine the way of learning, their interests and also pace of learning.
How much do I risk?
How much do I risk if I fail?
How can I explain and justify to my colleagues that I want to try new things in a new way?
Thanks to a train trip from Padova to Munich I had a lot of time to think … and I really would appreciate some thoughts from you! Thanks!
So I took the risk and it was a learning for me and for them. I showed them (Grade 5) the following picture:
After that they got clear instructions regarding building the groups, the inquiry questions, the links and search engines for information as well as the form of presentation.
They were able to describe that it is their responsibility to take over ownership about their learning.
I observed students who were able to build teams, to work in teams (3/4 of them) and it was a very positive and most of the time productive working atmosphere in the classroom.
The student manager took her job very serious. She documented the team work by taking pictures, how and where students were searching on the internet, how they took notes and what form of presentation they choose. Almost all students went to her if there was any issue. She also is producing a document which shows her reflection. I’ll use this document for reflection.
The students choose different kind of presentation forms which motivated them a lot.
I just had a quick reflection on the work starting with the following question:
Was there anything which was difficult during the inquiry? And actually the students confirmed my concerns and my observation:
It was difficult to find the information.
It was difficult to understand the information.
It was difficult to write the notes.
It was difficult to put the understanding in own words (verbal and non-verbal).
My outcome / questions are:
Reading comprehension is a very, very important skill. What are the reading strategies for reading on the internet? Are they different or the same?
At what age should students be able to search on the internet for information?
How does a good framework/scaffolding for becoming a good searcher look like? Does something like this exist already? When to start?
Anybody any experiences to share???
That is enough for the beginning. My mind goes crazy at the moment. On Wednesday I go a step back and I’ll give them a text on paper – let’s see what the outcome will be.