Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lessons from Teenagers - a reality check!

Lesson 1:

This morning I arrived at school early to figure out how to take Google Docs and put them into MyPortfolio.  My Hub kids, when asked what they wanted to know more about, had identified using 'MyPortfolio' for evidencing their learning.  So, I was going to show my Learning Hub how to set up their Goal Setting page.  An hour later I had reached frustration point:  my 'model' I was preparing was full of empty 'embedded media' boxes!!!  Plan B:  show them how to set up a page and then consult one of my more expert colleagues on what I was trying to achieve.  

After our Hub 'check-in', Sugata Mitra's Ted Talk about his 'hole in the wall' project and 'creating a school in the cloud' provoked a great discussion around what constitutes education.  It reminded us that engagement in learning happens when dispositions of curiosity, resilience, inquiry are ignited; not when you are put in a Modern Learning Environment with all the mod-cons.  It was also a timely reminder that learning doesn't just occur when there is a 'teacher' present.  

This unwittingly unfolded into me then demonstrating setting up a page in my portfolio and expressing my frustration at what I had not been able to achieve.  Instantly, one of my students announced that he knew how to do it, took over my laptop, had me sign onto another machine and taught (guided) us through what to do.  Not only did I learn a valuable skill, I picked up a few effective teaching tips.  

What unfolded out of this learning moment for me was the reminder that 'the answer is in the room'.  But also, to be a learner alongside your students and to facilitate learning; not expect to be, or try to be the fountain of all knowledge. 

My Hub are now in the process of identifying what we need to know and want to know and are co-constructing a plan for the term which involves different hub members facilitating the learning. 

It continued to be a day of 'lessons' for me and even more self reflection. 

Lesson 2:  

This afternoon two girls, who I had formed a relationship with through a common passion for music, came and asked me if I could access some sheet music for them.  They wanted it as soon as possible, but were busy working on their Big Project and I had offered to help.  They did look at me strangely when I suggested I could pop over to the music store and have a look, or ring them up.  But they left me to it.    I sat down at my desk and had a 'great idea' - I would google it.  In 5 minutes I had found the music, purchased it, downloaded it and delivered it to them.  I was ecstatic - more about how amazed the girls would be at what I had done!  They were grateful, but not at all surprised that I had worked a small miracle (or so I thought) in 5 minutes flat.  

Slightly miffed, I engaged my thinking brain.  My 42 year old lens had slipped back a decade or so to how I used to access such resources.  Accessing what we want, when we want it at the touch of a button may still be awe-inspiring to me, but not to our kids.  Lesson learnt:  keep up!  I really enjoyed Pete McGhie's recent blog about 'knowing your learners' and the importance of being "proficient at many aspects of youth culture".  

So, to sum up my day:  I am a life Long Learner - every day!  The answer is in the room.  Teen culture - keep up!

1 comment:

  1. Great reflections, Lea! As I was reading, I was thinking - oh, I could have helped you out, but then I was so pleased to see problem solved by one of your superstar student experts 'in the room'. My hub are also working out what they can teach each other - I loved Kylee's 'workshop Wednesday' idea!
    I loved Pete's blog, too.
    What will your tags be for this blog? Looking forward to learning more about MyPortfolio tricks and tips with you.