After listening to Alec Couros speak so passionately about using technology to help our students find meaning through real-world connecton, the question of how was high on my mind. I have recently been looking for ways to make my students view their learning activities as truely important. Too often, I find that certain students do the bare minimum (just enough to get a completion) rather than investing the time and energy to express their best learning. A Day 2 talk given by George Couros (yes, brother of Alec) addressed that very point.
George is the “Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for
#PSD70” in Alberta. One of the initiatives that his district has undertaken is ensuring that every student receives and maintains a blog through their academic career. The blog is the primary place that students can share the things they’ve created with the world. Sharing shouldn’t end with students, however. George further advocates the practice of teacher-blogging. He feels that it holds numerous benefits for teachers, including:
- continued modelling of life-long learning
- a greater chance to create an emotional connection to what we do
- self-reflection often brings new learning
- blogs encourage sharing of best practices
- you aren’t always a great judge of how talented you are or how revolutionary your teaching is (we often judge ourselves harshly)
I think I find those last two the most convincing. We tend to teach in a one-school vacuum. I have recently adopted highly-engaging teaching activities from teachers who had no idea that what they were doing was at all special. Sharing on a larger stage lets you see the amazing things that others are doing, and encourages you to share the amazing things you are doing as well.
So how do we address the very real and legitimate concerns that teachers may have about sharing? Check back with me next post…