A Journey Through Technology

Week 11: What is the role of knowledge creation and sharing in a healthy educational organization?

This week we are looking at the role of knowledge creation and sharing in a healthy educational organization. I put an emphasis on healthy because I think that is key to answering this week’s question. To me, a healthy educational organization can easily adapt to change and excel, moving past the barriers that other organizations might get stuck behind. Knowledge sharing is one concept that could distinguish different educational organizations as being healthy. “Schools systems…would be well advised to name knowledge sharing as a core value–to label it explicitly, which they do not now do–and to begin to work on the barriers and procedures to dramatically increase its use.” (Fullan, 2001, p.105)

Another quote I found in a research article about knowledge sharing in a post-secondary institution also demonstrates the importance of knowledge sharing. “It is widely recognized that knowledge is the critical asset to individual as well as organization to succeed in the increasingly competitive environment.” (Cheng, et al, 2009, p. 313) This article continues on to examine the importance of knowledge sharing at universities and how it can be facilitated. “The findings suggest that to promote knowledge sharing activity in knowledge-based institutions, it is essential to create an environment which is people-oriented, rather than technological-oriented.” (Cheng, et al, p. 322)

Some examples of strategies used by New York City District 2 to increase knowledge sharing are intervisitation and peer networks, and instructional consulting services. (Fullan, 2001, p.93) The intervisitation and peer networks helped teachers to share knowledge with other teachers and principals to share knowledge with other principals. The use of instructional consulting services provided support to teachers to help them improve their instructional practices using a variety of methods. Both of these are good examples of how a district can use knowledge sharing to help leaders and teachers improve. Another way that teachers can engage in knowledge sharing is through Edcamps.

According to an Edutopia article by Kristen Swanson (2013), Edcamps are events where teachers come together to share knowledge in a free and informal setting. It isn’t like some education conferences where you pay a hefty fee and are surrounded by vendors trying to sell you the latest and greatest materials, but instead is just a group of teachers meeting together to share their own resources and ideas. There isn’t going to be a pre-set schedule or list of topics, but the schedule is created by the group as they talk about what they want to learn. This sounds like a very interesting idea that would not be hard to put together because everyone is contributing to the plan. I think that my district, or even just my school, could really benefit from hold an Edcamp as there are so many teachers that have so much to offer.

So far I’ve looked at how educational organizations can utilize knowledge sharing between teachers and administration, but what about knowledge sharing between students? “Collaborative learning is one of the established, popular and effective learning approaches. However, the success of this approach largely depends on students’ attitude and behavior towards information and knowledge sharing with their peers.” (Majid & Chitra, 2013, p.1292) Two of the top motivating factors for sharing knowledge in this study were identified as “to improve understanding of concepts discussed in the class and to develop relationship with other students.” (Majid & Chitra, 2013, p.1296) So if we are to examine the role of knowledge sharing at a student level, I think it could be said that knowledge sharing can only enhance the learning experience for students.

Looking at knowledge sharing across (teacher-teacher, admin-admin) educational organizations and within (student-student) educational organizations, I think that the role of knowledge sharing is to make those organizations more effective and more efficient. This knowledge sharing could even be one of the necessary pieces to making an organization healthy. When everyone is sharing what they know, the whole organization, from the leaders to the learners, can benefit from that.

 

References

Cheng, M., Sze-Yin Ho, J., & Lau, P. (2009). Knowledge Sharing in Academic Institutions: a Study of Multimedia University Malaysia. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management , 7(3), 313-324. Retrieved April 5, 2017.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.,U.S. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=17&docID=10842273&tm=1444680173430

Majid, S.,Chitra, P.K. (2013). Role of Knowledge Sharing in the Learning Process. Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal2(1), 1292-1298. Retrieved April 5, 2017.

Swanson, K. (2013). Why Edcamp? edutopia. Retrieved April 5, 2017 from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-edcamp-kristen-swanson

 

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Week 10 Reflection

This week we looked at having the “right” and “wrong” people on our teams. My immediate answer to this week’s question was that we should get the wrong people off of our team, but after our Twitter session this week, and reading though my research, I have decided that shouldn’t be the first response. Instead we should work to help those who struggle as team members, giving them an opportunity to share what they have to offer, or adapt to the changes that are being made. Maybe they won’t be a good fit in the long run, but everyone needs time to try and show what they can do. This is encouraging to me, both as a team member, and as a potential leader. I know that I can use what I’ve learned this week to become a better team member, and hopefully a more effective leader.

My learning was impacted this week, and I impacted the learning of others, through the Twitter chat, my blog post and research, the comments on my blog, and reading and commenting on Larissa’s and Jim’s blogs. Larissa made a comparison between helping struggling students and helping struggling team members. She said that leaders should be willing to help weak team members just as they would be willing to help struggling students. This helped me see the potential we have as leaders to help the people on our team we might see as weak, and that we shouldn’t immediately discount them.

Jim talked a lot about what it means for someone to be the “wrong” person for a team. I realized upon reading his post, that I didn’t really think about what it means to be the “wrong” person. Jim mentioned a different moral purpose being the main thing, and I agree with that, but I need to think more about what else could make someone the “wrong” person. Jim’s post gave me a lot to think about this week.

Mentoring Update

I worked with my mentee this week to help her get more comfortable with the differences between her Google Drive and her Google Classroom. She is still working on getting students to join her online classrooms, and I think this week she will make an assignment for her classes to do entirely using the Google Classroom.

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Week 10: Explain and give examples to argue why the following statement is true or false: “Get the right people on your team, and get the wrong ones off.”

When I first saw the question for this week, my immediate response was: True! Of course you don’t want to have the wrong people on your team. But after doing some research this week and our Twitter session on Tuesday, I am definitely leaning more in the False direction. Who’s to say that the wrong person will always be the wrong person. Maybe they just need a chance to adapt. Maybe they have something to offer that the “right” people don’t.

The chapter for this week focuses on relationships. Fullan starts the chapter by saying that it isn’t just the people that cause an enterprise to be successful, but instead “it is actually the relationships that make the difference.” (Fullan, 2001, p.51) To me this makes a lot of sense. You could have a team of the best and brightest people, but if they don’t have a good working relationship, how far will you actually get? That being said, good working relationships can’t make up for a weak member on the team. Good leadership is key to dealing with a weak team member. Weaknesses can come in many different areas, so it would be hard to look at all possibilities, but as educational leaders, there are ways we can work with our weaker team members to help them fit with our team.

I came across a book this week, How to Help Your School Thrive Without Breaking the Bank, and read through the first chapter, Honing Your Leadership and Growing New Leaders. Part of this chapter discusses what makes a leader effective, and I thought a description of one of the traits, being a nurturer, could help leaders deals with some weak team members. “Effective leaders make sure that no teacher is left behind: they pick up those who have fallen, lend an ear or a shoulder to those who need support, and generally help to recharge staff members and prepare them for another day.” (Gabriel & Farmer, 2009) Sometimes just being available for team members could help them become stronger team members. I know that if I don’t feel like my leader values me, I find it harder to be a team player.

I found another perspective in an article titled “What to do with your problem team member” by Professor Leigh Thompson. Thompson gives four steps to follow if there is a problem-member on your team, or a “delta member”:

  1. Reassess and, if necessary, reassign the roles
  2. If you still have a problem, revise the team process
  3. Give everybody a crash course on how to engage in healthy conflict
  4. As a final resort, invite the team to coach each other (Thompson, n.d.)

While all of these aren’t completely relevant to education, I think these steps could be adapted to work in an education setting. The main thing I take away from this article is that it is worth looking at the whole team when there is an issue with someone on it.

While I have shifted my initial response from this week’s question from True to False, I read another article that had some good points for the True argument. If you are trying to change your organization, “…if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.” (Collins, 2001) The only real issue I have with this statement, is that this assumes that the “wrong people” cannot turn into the “right people”. If not everyone on your team is on-board with the changes, and they are not able to adapt and get on-board, I could see an argument for getting them off your team. But people should be given the chance to adapt before being tossed off of the bus.

References

Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. jimcollins.com. Retrieved 31 March 2017, from http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.,U.S. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=17&docID=10842273&tm=1444680173430

Gabriel, J., & Farmer, P. (2009). How to help your school thrive without breaking the bank (1st ed., Chapter 1). Alexandria, Va.: ASCD.

Thompson, P. (n.d.). How to handle the problem team member. Kellogg.northwestern.edu. Retrieved 31 March 2017, from http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/news_articles/2014/11072014-bad-team-member.aspx

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Week 9 Reflection

This week we looked at the differences between teaching children and mentoring adults. Without any real mentoring experience, it would be easy to go into this project thinking it would be just like teaching my students, but after a few weeks of this project, I have seen that it is quite different from teaching my students. The readings and research for this week will definitely make me a better mentor because now I have a better understanding of what being a mentor actually means.

This week, I impacted the learning of others, and my learning was impacted by others, through the Twitter chat, reading and researching for the blog post, the comments on my blog post, and reading and commenting on Sara and Andrea’s blogs. Something in Sara’s post that really stood out to me was a quote that said that “the educational leader acknowledges that he or she is a learner as well”. I can honestly say that I have learned something from my mentee each week we have met throughout this project. I have been able to help her learn more about the technology, but I have also learned how to become a better mentor by working with her. I take her lead on what we need to spend time on, instead of going in with a pre-made list of objectives like I do with my students.

Andrea talked a bit about motivation for adults learners being necessary for them to learn and understand what they are learning. We want students to be motivated to learn in our classrooms, so why should adult learning be any different? I know that when a topic is important to me I am much more likely to take the time to learn and understand it.

This week really put things into a different perspective for me and I hope that I can use the information from this week to be a better mentor for this project, and also expand on my mentoring for other educators.

Mentoring Project Update

This week my mentee successfully created Google Classrooms for all of her biology class periods, and added her daily agenda PowerPoints so students can access them outside of class. She is getting better at distinguishing between her Google Classroom and Google Drive, and really likes being able to access her files from anywhere using her Google Drive. This week her plan is to download both the Google Classroom and Drive apps on her iPad and try using them at home, and also try doing an assignment in each class to get students 1: signed up for the class; and 2: try it out in class and see how it works.

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Week 9: How is mentoring adults different from teaching children?

This week we are looking at the differences between teaching children and mentoring adults. Until this semester I hadn’t had any experience as a mentor, but I am currently in my seventh year of teaching. Just in the few weeks that I have been serving as a mentor I have noticed quite a few differences. The main difference for me right now is the content. I normally teach chemistry to my students, but now I’m helping my colleague learn about technology and how to better use it in her classroom. But content is not the only difference between teaching and mentoring.

First, looking at the definitions shows a distinct difference between mentoring and teaching. “Mentoring is typically providing advice based on the mentor’s personal experience.” (Reed, 2014) This semester I am mentoring one of my colleagues in the use of technology in the classroom. I am using my persona experiences with technology to help her learn about and be able to use it more in her classroom. Another explanation of a mentor is “an experienced person who acts as an advisor to another individual.” (2015) I am using my experience to help my mentee gain more experience with technology.

As I look at these explanations of a mentor, I can see how teachers could act as mentors to our students. I definitely use my personal experience to teach my students and also to advise some of them. In an article titled Teaching vs. Mentoring, Paula Marantz Cohen explains the difference between teaching and mentoring: “A teacher has greater knowledge than a student; a mentor has greater perspective.” (2012) In my mentor role this year, I do not feel like I have more knowledge than my mentee, but I do have a different perspective with respect to technology than she does, which allows me to share my experience with her.

In reading the chapter for this week, I found the explanation of mentoring adults to be very similar to many of the theories surrounding teaching children. Adults should be mentored based on their needs or interests; the subject of the mentoring should be relevant to them, either through their work or their life; active participation and experiences in mentoring are key to success; mentors should work with the mentee to make sure they are involved in the process; and differentiation should be used to ensure best learning methods for the mentee. (Papa, 2011, p.100) Even though mentoring takes place under different circumstances that teaching children, it appears that the process should actually be very similar to the way we teach our students.

References

Difference Between Mentor and Teacher | Mentor vs Teacher. (2015). Differencebetween.com. Retrieved 24 March 2017, from http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-mentor-and-vs-teacher/

Cohen, P. (2012). The American Scholar: Teaching vs. Mentoring. Theamericanscholar.org. Retrieved 24 March 2017, from https://theamericanscholar.org/teaching-vs-mentoring/#

Papa, R. (2011). Technology Leadership for School Improvement. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2051/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=467141&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_91 on March 24, 2017

Reed, B. (2014). Coach, Teach, Mentor – What’s the difference? Retrieved 24 March 2017, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140528120908-1127427-coach-teach-mentor-what-s-the-difference

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Week 8 Reflection

This week we looked at our “moral purpose” for teaching, and what strategies we currently use to support that moral purpose. One of the main takeaways I have for this week is that I realized I’m not doing as much as I think I can to fulfill my “moral purpose”. This week I determined that my “moral purpose” for teaching is to help all students learn and to make a meaningful impact on their lives. As I thought about this during the week, I thought of the strategies I currently use, plus other things I could be doing to better help my students. I think after this week I want even more to focus on my “moral purpose” and make sure I’m doing the best I can for my students.

This week, I impacted the learning of others through Twitter, my blog post and resources, and through reading and commenting on Jim and Sara’s blogs. My learning was impacted through the Twitter post, the research for my blog post, the comments on my blog by Jim, Tristan, and Gerald, and by reading Jim and Sara’s blogs. Jim mentioned “cookie-cutter curriculum” in hist post this week and it made me think about times I’ve used textbooks and their associated curriculum in my classes. Very rarely do those activities do what’s best for students, and typically students hate doing them. Jim’s post made me think of something another teacher told me my second year of teaching, that good teaching is exhausting. When I plan fun and engaging lessons, it takes a lot more work and effort than simply using the pre-made textbook lessons. In order to fulfill my moral purpose, I need to be planning and using as many non-textbook lessons as I can, to do what is best for the students.

Sara’s main focus this week was on taking care of ourselves as leaders. She made me think about how important it is for me to make time for myself and not give everything I have to my students. It is easy sometimes to give every extra minute to students without taking a second to think what I might need. I have recently started working out again, and I know that it has made a big different in my energy levels and mood, which I think is helping me to do what is best for my students and fulfill my moral purpose. At the end of her post, Sara also mentioned the need to change her teaching philosophy, which I can honestly say I have done over my seven years of teaching. It might not always be a drastic change, but adapting to your students is very important to being able to do what is best for them.

My mentoring project is going well so far, though this next week is spring break, so I won’t be meeting with my mentee again until the week of the March 20th. I have helped her learn how to use her Google Drive to make things accessible to her students, and she has posted her first assingment in her Google Classroom for her Anatomy students. I look forward to what we will accomplish after spring break.

I can’t believe we are headed into week 9 next. I feel like this class has barely starting and we are already more than half done. I look forward to learning more about myself as a leader and the components of leadership that I need to focus on more in the coming weeks.

 

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Week 8: What strategies do you use that are related to your “moral purpose”? How do these contribute to your overall leadership?

This week we are focusing on “moral purpose”, the first of the five components of leadership that Fullan describes in his book, Leadership for Change (2001). “Moral purpose is about both ends and means. In education, an important end is to make a difference in the lives of students. But the means of getting to that end are also crucial.” (Fullan, 2001, p.13) If I think of my moral purpose for becoming a teacher, it is to help all students learn, regardless of ability, and make a meaningful impact in their lives. It’s a bonus if they can also learn some chemistry along the way!

In terms of strategies that I use that are related to my moral purpose, I would say that most of the things I do with my students are related to my moral purpose. A few years ago I was trained in our district’s initiative of Capturing Kid’s Hearts, which puts a focus on building relationships with students in the classroom. Since becoming a teacher, I have enjoyed learning about students and taking an active interest in them, which helps immensely with relational capacity, but Capturing Kid’s Hearts put a much larger emphasis on this, claiming that if we can capture their hearts, we can teach them anything. I still use a few of aspects of this program in my class on a regular basis, and I can tell that it has helped me to improve my effectiveness as a teacher.

One of the main aspects of my moral purpose is to help lower achieving students find success in my classroom. Russell Grigg shares his take on teaching with moral purpose, saying that education “…needs teachers with the conviction that they can do something to address the achievement gap.” (Grigg, 2016) He goes on to say that teachers need to do something about the gap beyond just knowing that it exists. He lists techniques that successful teachers use to narrow or close achievement gaps: believing that each child has potential, not tolerating excuses for underachievement, building on prior knowledge, making lessons engaging and relevant, modeling appropriate behavior, and providing effective and timely feedback. (Grigg, 2016) Of these techniques, I feel like I am working on becoming more adpet at all of these constantly. The one that am working on most right now is making my lessons engaging and relevant, and also providing useful feedback. If I can work on these and continue to get better at each one, not only will I help my students, but I think it will also help me to become an effective leader.

Another source I found this week described moral purpose in a way that really narrowed things down: moral purpose is essentially “doing the right things for our students.” (Moral Purpose, 2013) It isn’t about what’s best for us as educators, but instead about what is best for our students. If we can put them first in all things, we might just be able to achieve our moral purpose.

In order to be an effective leader, I need to be effective in the classroom. If I can show my colleagues that I am constantly striving to achieve my moral purpose, perhaps they will join me in my journey. It’s one thing to tell teachers they need to teacher with a moral purpose, but another entirely to lead by example and show them it can be done.

Mentoring Update:

This week I met with my mentee to work with her more on using her Google Classroom. She has been using her Google Drive on a more regular basis to save her daily agendas for her Anatomy class, and this week she added one of her Biology classes. this allows her to give students access to the PowerPoint that she updates daily, without any extra effort on her part. She also made her first assignment in her Anatomy class so students could submit their lab reports to her outside of class. She has moved out of her comfort zone quite a bit and is making an active effort to try new things throughout this process. She isn’t afraid to tell me if I explain too quickly or move too fast, and I feel like we are working very well together. Next week is spring break for us, so I won’t meet with her again until the week of March 20th.

References

Capturing Kids’ Hearts 1 | Flippen Group. (2017). Flippen Group. Retrieved 10 March 2017, from http://flippengroup.com/education/capturing-kids-hearts-1/

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.,U.S. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=17&docID=10842273&tm=1444680173430

Grigg, R. (2016). What Does It Mean To Teach With Moral Purpose?. Teachwire. Retrieved 10 March 2017, from http://www.teachwire.net/news/what-does-it-mean-to-teach-with-moral-purpose

Moral Purpose. (2013). Connected Principals. Retrieved 11 March 2017, from http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/7996

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Week 7 Reflection

This week was about the five components of effective leadership and why they are all necessary. My takeaway this week is that balance is crucial to being an effective leader, and this is something I need to work on. I am looking forward to looking at each of the five components in more depth in the coming weeks so I can start working on my balance as a leader.

Both my learning and my impact on the learning of others this week came from Twitter, which I hosted with Larissa, my blog and the resources I shared, and through reading and commenting on Natalie and Tristan’s blogs. Natalie, Gerald, Josie, and Andrea commented on my blog this week. Natalie shared a resource that talked about traditional leadership training focusing on the wrong part of the brain. I think this is a big similarity to educational practices right now because as a whole, we haven’t shifted to the brain-based research that shows the best ways for students to learn. If leaders aren’t trained in the proper ways, how can we expect them to train their followers in the proper ways?

Tristan mentioned that leaders need to learn from both those within and outside the organization while change is occurring. I think its important to see what you are leading through multiple perspectives to determine how effective you are.

These past few weeks have really gotten me thinking about leadership in general and I look forward to taking a more active leadership role for the teachers both in my building and in my district.

Mentoring Journal

This week was a productive week. On Tuesday afternoon, I met with my mentee and helped her create a PowerPoint presentation to be used as a daily agenda in one of her classes, and then showed her how to save it to her Google Drive and post it in her Google Classroom so it can act as a living document, so it is always updated where her students can access it. Our goal for this next week is to try creating an assignment in the Google Classroom so that her students can use the Google Classroom in class. While we aren’t moving at the pace I outlined in my proposal, we are moving at a perfect pace for my mentee. I am taking her lead on how much we can do in one day, and also making sure we are covering what she wants to accomplish.

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Week 7: Why are all five components of leadership necessary for success in leading through change?

This week’s topic is about leadership and the five components of leadership as explained by Michael Fullan in Leading in a Culture of Change (2001). These five components are: moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making. (Fullan, 2001, p. 4) But why are all of these components necessary together? Looking at different leaders I have had as I’ve grown up, I would say that all of these components are necessary to ensure that a leader is fair, balanced, and effective. I have had experiences, and know others who have as well, with leaders that are very strong in some areas, for example organization and knowledge, but lack good communication skills and fairness towards those who follow them. I personally have hard time following someone who does not possess of combination of good leadership skills.

According to Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, the five traits of a good educational leader are: self-aware, excellent communication, resourceful, lead by example, and power of teaching and learning. (Five Important Traits of a Good Educational Leader, 2012) An article published with the American Institute of Research also states that “In order to be effective with their colleagues, lead teachers found it necessary to learn a variety of leadership skills while on the job. These skills included: building trust and developing rapport, diagnosing organizational conditions, dealing with processes, managing the work, building the skills and confidence in others.” (Boyd-Dimock & McGree, 1995)  Peter Economy (2014) shares a list of 10 Powerful Habits of Highly Effective Leaders, which includes confidence, communication, supportive, and being responsible. In each of these different explanations of leadership qualities, no one source only lists one component. Fullan states that the five components of leadership act as “checks and balances” as leader fulfill their duty. (Fullan, 2001, p.7)

I teach at an IB, or International Baccalaureate, school. The IB program has what they call the IB Learner Profile, which lists 10 traits that IB learners strive to demonstrate. (http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/publications/recognition/learnerprofile-en.pdf) While this list could also be used as a list of good lead attributes, I think that the Balance component is very applicable to the question this week. IB learners “understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.” (IB Learner Profile, 2010) This is something that could easily be applied to any leader, probably in any situation.

As educators, we should not be surprised that leadership requires a combination of qualities, when we are trying to help our students meet a variety of objectives while they are in our classroom. We don’t want our students to be good at only one thing in school, we want them to be balanced and gain a variety of skills and abilities. Therefore, I think that in order to be an effective leader, we should strive to be well balanced in all things that are required of us as leaders in our classrooms and beyond.

References

Boyd-Dimock, V., & McGree, K. M. (1995). Leading change from the classroom: Teachers as leaders. Retrieved March 3, 2017, from American Institute for Research, http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues44.html
Economy, P. (2014, October 17). 10 powerful habits of highly effective leaders. Retrieved March 3, 2017, from Inc., http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-powerful-habits-of-highly-effective-leaders.html
Five Important Traits of a Good Educational Leader. (2012, November 3). Retrieved March 3, 2017, from Concordia University, http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/ed-leadership/five-traits-of-a-good-educational-leader/
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.,U.S. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=17&docID=10842273&tm=1444680173430
IB Learner Profile. (2010). Retrieved March 3, 2017, from http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/publications/recognition/learnerprofile-en.pdf
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Week 6 Reflection

This week was about shifting the teaching of our content from the “what” to the “where” and the “how”. My research, reading of other blogs, and the Twitter chat this week were very helpful in figuring this out, and actually helped to bring together ideas I’ve learned about through the past five classes I’ve taken in this program. Its nice to see that what I’ve been learning about can help me shift my content to the “where” and “how” for my students.

This week, I mainly contributed to the learning of others though my blog post, the Twitter chat, and my comments on Tristan and Gerald’s blogs. My learning was impacted a lot through my research, the Twitter chat, the reading for this week, and reading both Tristan and Gerald’s blogs. In Tristan’s blog, she talked about how difficult it is for teachers to switch to the method of learning that helps most students with the “where” and “how”, which is “imaginative learning or play”. She mentioned that this is hard for many teachers because it means having less control in the classroom, and I also have trouble with that. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so giving up control is hard for me to do. I know that giving up control will be beneficial for my students, as long as I plan ahead and am prepared for them learning in a different way.

Gerald talked about how hard it can be in math for students to get beyond the “what”. He shared a couple of mathematical modeling problems that are designed to have students use higher level thinking, and I think that is something I could really use in chemistry, too. It actually fits nicely with my gamification plan that I am hoping to start this fall in my chemistry classes. He did say that students tend to struggle with those types of problems, so I know that I will need to have the appropriate scaffolding in place for students when they need it.

Overall I am feeling very good about what we learned this week. I know that this is something I can use in my classes, and I look forward to spending time this summer developing some higher-level thinking problems for my students to try and move from the “what” of chemistry to the “where” and “how”.

Mentoring Journal Update:

I met with my mentee this week and we had a very good session. I helped her figure out some things on her new computer (she just got a Windows 10 computer on Friday) and introduced her to the Google Drive. I helped her download the Google Drive to her computer so she can easily access her drive files from her desktop. While this is not where I projected we would be going into our third week together, she is learning new things and becoming more comfortable with the idea of using them in her classes, so I consider this to be adequate progress. This next week I will be spending some time introducing her to the Google Classroom, and I hope that one of her goals (having daily bell assignments easily accessible for students to make up) will be accomplished by the end of the week.

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