Friday May 17, 2013
Earlier this week I watched a few TEDtalks featuring Will Richardson. I really agree with what he said about schools needing to change their approach and encourage students to utilize the technology they have to enrich their learning. So yesterday, during a grade 8 and 9 health class, I took advantage of an issue which the students raised during a discussion. They wanted access to the high diving board during phys. ed. However, as I understand it, the school division has made it a policy not to allow access tho this diving board. So remembering what Will Richardson said, I asked them what they could do about it. After a few minutes they decided to make a protest poster. But I also saw an opportunity to teach them how to protest in a different way, to write a letter to the school principal and the superintendent of the school division. In this school each student is fortunate to have his or her own computer with a gmail account. So I quickly created a doc in drive and emailed each student a link. None of them had ever used this feature, but it wasn’t long before they were clicking on each button, discovering the chat, etc. As the teacher I was going to offer them a tutorial! Boy was I off on this idea. They didn’t need me to teach them, and as they talked amongst themselves, I felt as though I had opened Pandora’s box. As a teacher and a parent I know they will benefit from this knowledge, but there is also a fear attached to this process of letting go. It reminds me of the day that my son got his driver’s licence and he went off on his own. I had similar feelings in the class. We talked about responsibility and the importance of making responsible choices. I have to admit that through the process of accompanying students in this type of learning it requires that I let go of the absolute control that I sometimes want and rather I should remember that these students are capable. So we are collaborating on a letter in google docs. Teachable moments!