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Posts Tagged ‘transparency’

The case for a fourth grader’s digital footprint

September 29th, 2011 No comments

1. Positive digital footprints, 2. Communicating with digital tools, 3. Transparency for parents and family, 4. New ways of thinking about Web tools, and 5. Effective digital citizenship” (Posted by Jenny Luca on Aug 26, 2011 in Creating Global Classrooms)

I sent a note home this week introducing my parents to blogging and eportfolios in my grade four classroom. A few families have put restrictions on internet publishing. I will have to exclude them from our Posterous site and the wikispace eportfolio project. I will have to adapt their learning to private digital formats like a Word Document or PowerPoint.

Why not simply do Word and PowerPoint with all of them? I briefly asked myself. I think Jenny Luca explains why very well. My students need to learn how to create positive digital footprints as they practice digital citizenship. I don’t think Word or PowerPoint represent authentic learning experiences for that. Transparency for parents and family is also critical in public education at this point. We need to effectively publish student learning and we need to empower students as publishers. When teachers publish student work, teachers reflect on student learning. When students publish their own work, students reflect on their own learning.

My students are young, and the Saskatchewan is remiss in addressing Jenny Luca’s outcomes in its curriculum, but they need to be addressed. I’ll try and meet with those parents in my classroom who are reluctant to allow their children to publish on the internet. Perhaps I can talk them around.

the impact of paradox – Why less is more

January 1st, 2010 No comments

John Spencer, Musings from a Not-So-Master Teacher

I work hard as a teacher and I believe in the notion that “there are no shortcuts.” Yet, I have also found that often “less is more.” Trite, perhaps, but true nonetheless. I call it the Impact Paradox. It’s the idea that I have more of an impact as a teacher when I am trying less hard at having an impact. For example, when I focus on behaviors, kids misbehave. But when I focus less on behavior and instead of quality teaching, the behaviors improve. When I try really hard to impact my students’ lives, I drive them away. Yet, when I simply show compassion, I end up making a difference.

It does not take many years at some great institutional purpose to begin to appreciate the  Catch 22 principle and the paradoxes John Spencer lists in his latest blog entry. For years I have lived mindful of my own: Every approach or strategy works for a while and then it doesn’t. What a thoughtful list Spencer has presented. I have to find a way to keep connected to it. Authenticity, humility, transparency, flexibility, and empowerment are key words he uses to describe the most rewarding and successful approaches to teaching. I think we struggle with the empowerment the most because we are pressured by accountability to many different stakeholders in education. This might be the greatest contradiction we must resolve; how do we share control of the learning process while maintaining ownership for the student learning outcomes?