This post was started nearly two weeks ago… Life got in the way, but my new motto seems to be “better late than never!”
cc Flickr photo by Mark Brannan
On February 8th, I had the opportunity to attend my school district’s Innovative Learning Designs EdCamp. Although I had never attended an EdCamp myself, I was familiar with the concept of participant driven learning and the expectation that participants would share with each other. I wouldn’t say that I learned a lot of concrete things in my two sessions (i.e. the proverbial “something I can use tomorrow morning”) but I definitely came away with lots of reminders and lots to think about.
1. Sharing is Key!
I have been reflecting so much on this concept for the past several months thanks to Dean Shareski and #ETMOOC. It is so important that we be willing, as educators, to share our ideas, our efforts, and our experiences. If we don’t share with each other, how will we ever learn to be better? There was a lot of awkward silence at my first session, and that’s ok, and partly to be expected for a bunch of EdCamp newbies… but I think we need to be willing to just jump in and share! Tam Manery from Bear Creek (@TManery) did just that, and her sharing helped me to clarify in my mind what personalized learning could look like in Math. A topic and subject area that, quite frankly, I used to love but haven’t been loving so much this year, was rejuvenated! That’s the power of sharing. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Risk Taking Is Essential for Learning
It’s ok (and I would even say necessary) to take risks and to experience a sense of failure. I think that too often, we want to wait until we have “mastered” a concept before we try it out in our classrooms. However, I really do think there is something to be said for diving in head first! I have learned so much more by simply trying something than I ever could by planning and thinking about it. If things go miserably wrong, I have learned a valuable lesson about what does not work. If we expect our students to take risks in learning, we have to model this ourselves. We worry that students may not be “ready” for things like passion and inquiry based learning. My question is: How will we ever truly know unless we give them the opportunity? Mistakes are inevitable, but they are incredibly valuable learning opportunities.
cc Flickr photo by pcgn7
3. Technology is Not Innovation
It is not about the technology, it is about transforming the way we approach teaching and learning. Technology should be second nature, invisible, embedded into everything that we do… NOT because it is cool and fun (which it is) but because it provides students with amazing opportunities to create and to share their learning. We must always remember this!
The day was a great reminder of what “Innovative Learning Designs” really means.
What have you shared or tried lately that was innovative?