Monday, 18 May 2015

Gradual Release

Lasting learning in school often involves the gradual release of responsibility which flows from:
Explicit instruction ---> teacher and student using new learning together ---> students using new learning together ---> student using new learning independently.

In the process of reflecting on my own classroom use of this process, I started thinking about social media. All kinds of people use social media and there is a wide range of fluency among users of each medium. How many users of social media have had the opportunity to be instructed with a gradual release of responsibility? What kind mistakes and miscommunications could be avoided with more gradual release?

I'm not suggesting that the "teacher" has to be a school teacher, but certainly school is a logical place for some basic citizenship and literacy training, and social media are undeniably part of both of those categories. Such instruction would need to include knowledge, skills/strategies, and attitudes/habits. Perhaps activities like a school hashtag or student/staff/volunteer/teacher shared use of a school social media account would be part of the learning and practice. What do you think?

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Tomorrow's Texts

Digital books are still in there infancy. I know they hardly seem like news, but the marketplace is still trying to figure out how digital books fit, and publishers, authors, and readers alike are still very much in conversation about how eBooks differ from traditional paper books.

I have been investigating the future of digital books at Calvin, and I've learned that the transition to eBooks is just starting and that it isn't going smoothly or easily. Textbook publishers, curriculum creators, and mass market publishers are all in different places and using different models to distribute their books. Some books are very interactive, while others are simply PDFs.

If a school would like to own thirty copies of a hardcover textbook that they can lend students, there isn't a problem. Try buying thirty digital copies of an interactive textbook, and you'll spend plenty of time just trying to explain to befuddled publishers what you want. Is it a conceptual problem? A technical issue? A money matter? Well, it seems all three are pretty significant factors, each shaping the future of books, libraries, and schools.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Breaking Cycles

Nature and nurture are common terms in any discussion of heredity. I've been learning about intergenerational trauma which should probably be included in more conversations involving heredity. The term, in simplistic form, refers to trauma that will have effects on multiple generations. This can be seen in many forms such as the fact that children who experience abuse or divorce are more likely to abuse their children or get divorced. At first this seems counter-intuitive, but it makes some sense when the behaviour is seen as taught or modelled (albeit unintentionally) by parents or role models. The effects are long lasting and can take generations to break the cycle and heal.

The definition falls under the knowledge category, but this learning is also about attitudes/habits as I consider my own parenting, teaching, or the past/current/future state of First Nations populations in Manitoba.