As I was scanning the various articles, I noticed a pattern of student-centered learning processes: authentic learning, project based learning, and deeper thinking; all of these processes require changing how we teach students and our expectations for their learning outcomes. For too long, at least in my mind, teaching has been all about the teacher standing in front of the classroom lecturing while students sat passively at desks taking notes. What we really want is for the students to start thinking and using their learning in ways that shows they understand the importance of what is being taught. But changing my teaching takes more than my own willingness. I need support from the teachers and administrators as far as the schedule goes and providing a more flexible schedule.
Emerging tech like augmented reality (AR), makerspaces, and apps to showcase learning can be used to move toward more student-based learning. As I was reading the various articles, at first I didn’t understand what everyone meant by AR. According to Mashable, augmented reality “is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”. Huh? I think this means taking a real-life object and linking it to something on the computer. Aurasma is an AR app that is easy to use. I have seen it used by a teacher to link a worksheet to a video providing instruction on how to complete the worksheet. I have also seen it used to link an out of date book to a website with current/accurate information. AR would be an easy way to include more visual information for students to use.
I addressed makerspaces in Thing 23 so I won’t go into too much detail at this point. I do think it is important to say that makerspaces, although a trend, provide a way for authentic learning, problem solving, and creative thinking by students. Why? Because an integral part of makerspaces is that the students decide what they are going to make, how they are going to do it, and what they will need to do to make it. Throughout the process of making something, students will need to overcome any problems that arise which often mimics what it will be like for them when they are out working in the real world.
Lastly, Joyce Valenza is encouraging librarians to rethink their collections by curating apps for different uses. I am always looking for new apps that I can use with my students but it didn’t really occur to me to put my knowledge in a place that will be useful to others in my school. Although I often share an app with my teachers that I am excited to use (like Write About This), I didn’t think to place it on my blog, or website, or even in a quick email out to all teachers. Now that I am thinking about it, I could include a quick blurb in the school newsletter about an app that parents might find useful.
Emerging tech and keeping up with trends can be overwhelming and scary but also exciting and enriching all at the same time. I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold especially when you realize that the iPad is only 5 years old. Think about it. Can you actually remember, really remember, a world without cell phones, tablets, and computers? I can but I don’t want to go back there anytime soon!