Friday, September 19, 2014

Steali, I mean borrowing other ideas

                One of the cool things about education is it is one of the only fields where colleagues actively encourage you to borrow their ideas. After all, we want all students, not just our own, succeed. The internet has really improved the flow of ideas as more teachers start “edublogging”. I looked at some of bloggers my professors recommended and found this gem:
The writer, Silvia Tolisano, has been pondering the idea of documenting for learning. She is talking about documenting such as a blog, diary, scrapbook, video, annotated notes, mind maps, etc.  Basically, making record of an event or a thought process is documenting. She argues that documenting for learning, that is intentionally documenting in order to reflect or aid learning, could:
Serve a metacognitive purpose
Be a creative multimedia expression (oral, visual, textual)
Be a component of reflective practice
Help makers take ownership of one’s learning
Be a memory aid
Curate a project
Be a tool for professional development

This is a simple but great idea with a lot of possibilities. I would like to add another purpose; we could use this process to teach students that history is a process, not a jumble proven facts to be memorized. For example, we could have students make a scrapbook page about their last year in school. Students will have to choose how they want to represent that year. Will they include all good things? Do they focus on their friends or on a hobby? They automatically have to select what they think was important about that period. Just like historians and document makers of the past. I think this could be used to start a conversation on how history is made. And that’s the beauty of the education blogger community. We can read each other’s ideas and add to and adapt them for our own work. And then share it from there so someone else can add to what we’ve made. 

1 comment:

  1. Liz,

    While I personally have not yet had the pleasure of reading this blog, I can tell by your description and review that it would likely correspond with my teaching philosophy and (I believe) that of the SEC MAC program.

    Specifically, I found the blogger's emphasis on documenting for learning to be interesting. The arguments you say the author made for documenting learning (i.e. Serve a metacognitive purpose, be a creative, help makers take ownership of one’s learning, etc.) are compelling and I believe any idea regarding teaching practice that can generate that long of a list of solid arguments should be carefully considered for use. One item I might add to the list that is not explicitly stated already (though I think it is implicitly implied, perhaps most prominently in the idea of reflective practice) is that documenting students' learning in this way would likely bring back emphasis on the learning process. This might seem obvious, but from my (admittedly little) experience, students seem to be very aware of the beginning and end of a unit, but not so much of what happens in between. I think this is because these are two concrete, usually explicitly stated, whether verbally or marked by some event that signals finality (e.g. unit test). It seems to me, however, that students are very aware of when the momentum of the unit begins and where it stops, but less aware that important things do take place in between these markers. They seem to view this middle part of the unit as the work portion, but I wonder if they fully grasp the how assignments are (hopefully) meaningful, connected to each other, and connected to the beginning and end of a unit. The entire unit is a framework through which to facilitate knowledge about a given set of topics. It may case that this documenting for learning puts the emphasis back on the learning process and allows students to make the connections about how assignments and content are connected and can be used to construct arguments, make cases, etc. rather than their sole purpose be to provide individual, isolated stepping stones from introduction of the unit to the test.

    Overall, it sounds like this blogger has some valuable thoughts to offer on education that new students may find useful. I also appreciated that you tied this information specifically to your content area to make it more visible to those of us who might like to try implementing elements of this in our lesson.

    Thanks for sharing!