Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So has it helped.....

So now I am trying to tie things together and see where my thinking is at and has my project done what I hoped it would. Are my children thinking more deeply in response to what others are saying? YES!! And then I guess I have to ask "How do I know?" and "Why?" and "Would it have happened anyway?"

With the e-fellows we have been constantly looking at and asking "How are the literacy skills, knowledge and dispositions needed for the 21st century supported through e-learning contexts?" The answer for me to this question and for how and why do I think my project has worked is because it involved - collaboration, ownership, interaction with a global community, authentic audiences, making connections and being able to review, adapt and modify thinking. You need to be able to communicate and process thinking clearly to succeed. The e-learning context is the world our children (and us) live in - it is the real world now. It provides so many more real and relevant experiences in my opinion that you just don't get using and doing things the way we used to.

I have really embraced we need to help children develop their thinking, process their thinking, show their thinking, transfer their thinking........ We need to give them the necessary tools. We need to find whatever way works for them..... We need to find what ever way will develop global learning communities......We need to......... I saw something that said we need to change everything!!! I disagree, we need to enhance what we are doing, look at the core curriculum, work with the tools that are out there....above all, be adapt and challenge ourselves. We can't just teach children one way is right, we have to give them the tools to challenge and find out for themselves.

Goodness, did I answer my question. Will reflect on it and hopefully someone out there will reflect with me and challenge my thinking.... :)


  1. Robyn what a great reflection. An important part of this fellowship has been the depth of personal 'soul searching I am seeing people like Tia and you doing. Some questions -when the E-fellow contract finishes and things like release time for the work you have been doing this year disappear-will you still teach like you have been with your literacy circle kids?

    Will you teach (like you have been doing) other areas of the curriculum? What about 'your boys'-will you be able to do the "thinking" work like you have done for/with your first group?

    Your writing about the chilren's thinking has helped me realise that this is what our ICT contract is really about- its what we do as teachers (the how we teach) and the effective use of our ICT tools to get our children to think (and SHOW their thinking--- so before you set off to U-Learn thank you for sharing YOUR thinking on your wiki.I know you will be great there - just share your passion.

  2. Hi Tricia, thanks for your comments. I agree this is what it is all about. I have been so lucky to have the time to devote to the efellow group of children and the time to work on the set up and resources and time exploring books. I think I have a really good set up now so can continue to teach like this. I really want to see how it develops with sparking off mini inquiries (will look for books that might provide that hook I guess but then this has proven to me that what I think might be a hook, the kids have their own ideas), The next group down that I have started working with in class have taken to it quickly with the independent role work, but am needing the first group to work as buddies to help with blogging. Also this group need more time put into the aspects of being cyberspace as it is pretty new to them and the understanding of it being a whole world out there isn't coming to them as quickly as the first group. 'The boys' might be a challenge as they are learning the basics so much, but might include more of the work like you and Tia have been doing. The love of books and reading has to be there.

    I have watched how Jan has spread it to other areas so hope this will help me do so as well. It is so good to have others like you two to spark ideas off.

    I see all this fitting in so much with what we are trying to get to in our school - powerful thinking.

    I am quite excited now about ulearn, I want people to try out the literacy circles so much as I still see nothing much about them 'out there'. I also think the e-learning context is so valuable with bringing the world in and providing real contexts and audiences.

    I am thinking with the tsunami, my group will probably visit the sites I put on for Kids Alone in a Cyclone as this linked to civil defence and about all sorts of natural disasters. Connections happen long after the book is done.

    Whoops, off on a tangent again.

  3. Am loving this conversation. Thanks for sharing your questions Trish and your reflection and responses Robyn. It has triggered more questions for me. Hope you wont mind...

    Robyn, as we look towards Action Research projects across our cluster for next year, what aspects do you see as being critical to your success within your own e-fellowship?

    I ask this from a desire to have the successes that you have experienced transferred across our cluster so that all our teachers and their students gain from the depth and rigour, "the buzz" within their own learning situations.

    Hmmm, my ponderings are around "What is it we need to do to develop rich "e-learning action research" projects in 2010?" How can we make this realistic?

    Would love your input - and that of others...

  4. Hi Lorraine. Have been really thinking about this and we actually had a bit of a discussion about how to keep trying to hook people in to trying things and setting themselves projects to do. I believe at the moment that with my project, the literacy ideals were paramount, not the elearning tool I used. (At the beginning, I would say it was the reverse through my lack of understanding or just desire to learn everything).

    I believe people need to want to improve, enhance, move forward... with effective pedagogy, student achievement... and have that as the underlying basis. If people just want to 'learn how to do something' the benefits, changes .... are going to be superficial and not future reaching. (The ...'s are to add in all those other words I can't think of at the moment, but hopefully others will fill in the gaps).

    I also think the Big Idea/Key Question is essential and you have to know what you are trying to find out. Thought really has to go into this or people will just fall into the trap of I want to 'blog', I want to 'make movies' without really thinking why would this be an effective tool, what will it do for my children.

    Again, at the beginning I don't think I was very clear in what I wanted to do/find out. I was a little overwhelmed at just being accepted I think.

    I also think at times when we set our goals, action research we tend to historically make it about us and not about the children and their learning.....

    I relish the chance to discuss this more. My parting thought is.....you've got to be committed!!!!!

  5. Robyn I am going to ramble on my blog and brainstorm some of the things both you and Lorraine have written about. Hope E learn is going well?