Technology for Learning: Part One
we held our third MLTI leadership session. Participants focused specifically on what technology for learning looks like in action. We explored five elements that are associated with learning environments that put students at the center and discussed what it takes to create meaningful learning environments that engage learners in knowledge construction, conversation, articulation, collaboration, and reflection (Howland, Jonassen, & Marra, 2012). Below are some of the highlights from the very rich discussion.
In learner centered environments, learners are:
1. Actively Engaged— they are using technology as an “invisible part of learning”
2. Collaborating— they are using technology tools for collaborative work with peers and others
3. Constructing Learning— they are using technology tools in ways that facilitate the construction of understanding and to demonstrate knowledge
4. Engaged in Authentic Learning Tasks— they are using technology tools to support active participation in projects that have meaning beyond the school walls.
5. Goal-Directed— they are engaged in learning that is self-generated and using technology tools to set their own goals, plan activities, monitor progress and evaluate results.
In learner centered environments, teachers/mentors are:
1. Actively Engaging Learners— they are modeling the use of technological tools in ways that support active engagement and facilitate higher order learning.
2. Creating the Context for Collaboration— they are modeling and helping students use technology to make connections with experts and peers in the learning environment and in other locations.
3. Creating the Context for Knowledge Construction-– they are providing higher order learning opportunities and supporting learners to use technology to build knowledge
4. Creating the Context for Authentic Learning— they are providing choices in technological tools for learners that best meet their personal learning tasks and to make connections with experts and peers in the world.
5. Goal-Directed— they are supporting learners in the creative ways of using technology tools to plan, monitor and evaluate their own higher order learning.
The group shared insights, questions, and stories about their efforts to lead schools in this direction. For example, participants wondered how the current standards-based efforts mesh with a vision of learner-centered environments where the learner is more “in charge” of the learning.
And of course we shared our thoughts about what the leaders are doing to move schools towards a vision of using technology in ways that support learner centered environments. And in this discussion the word “culture” arose several times. So, what do leaders need to do to shift the culture to support and move this vision forward? We just touched the tip of that iceberg but here are some of the ideas that are beginning to emerge.
In learner centered environments, leaders must:
1. Be intentional. Know what you want the school to “look like” and find ways to talk about it so that others can “see it” too.
2. Understand that changing culture is HARD WORK and cannot be done alone. Find others to help support you in this effort.
3. Take time to understand what the current culture is in relation to this vision. Be “planful”, diligent, and patient as you shift the culture to become learner centered.
4. Model, model, model. Be the learner/teacher/mentor that you want to see in the learning environment.
5. Build relationships. Without trust, there is no foundation for changing culture.
As we left the session, everyone articulated something that s/he is planning to “try out” as a result of the discussion. On March 11, we will re-convene to continue this important discussion and also view some examples of how technology can support learner centered environments.
Hope to see you there!
When: March 27 8:30-11:30
Where: Burton Cross Bldg., Augusta and Available Through Webinar
Slides from the February 13 presentation:
List of additional resources shared by participants:
Links related to Marzano:
Link to Jenny Magiera’s Blog with examples of how technology is used to support learner centered environments
Link to examples of how technology is being used to support learner centered environments in Singapore
Link to some articles from the Connected Principal on this topic:
A blog post on 5 instructional shifts to promote deep learning
Link to site for authentic, collaborative learning opportunities