Sunday, February 24, 2013

Learning Creative Learning: Week 2 Reflection

This week was a busy week and my reading and videos and thoughts were scattered among the chaos of many things colliding all at once. The two questions we were to think about and answer for this week were the following:

If you are interested in what I read and viewed to get to thoughts that I am sharing please go to my Evernote page to see the listing 

I did not take much away from the videos this week. I took away a few thoughts that were the following:

"If you understand the structure of what the expectations are, what the achievements are, how you get recognized, it really is not that hard to conform if you feel like doing that." How true is this? 100% true. I know it is true because I teach. If you just show up, breathe, smile, nod, it is impossible to fail. You have to work harder to fail than to succeed.

Onwards to the readings

What did you find most surprising in the readings?

The following statement stood out to me personally as I am working towards a new vision of our gifted education program in our school district. This is taken from the Ito's blog Formal vs Informal Education

"I wonder how many people there are like me who can't engage well with formal education, but don't have the mentors or access to the Internet and end up dropping out despite having a good formal education available to them."

With gifted education I wonder how many students are left out because of a lack of support structure that did not fit the model of our public education? How often do we label these kids as lazy, problem, talkative, loner, etc. Do we provide a wrong label for something that is not their fault? The bigger question is how do we find the necessary information out to meet their needs?

Public education is not for everyone. I am starting to think that at times it is not even for me as a teacher. Our hands are so often tied up with little details that have such a huge impact on our teaching. I am stuck with kids of the same age....not ability. I am stuck teaching to the confines of 42 minutes....where it sometimes takes me 20-30 minutes to get in a groove personally. I am stuck teaching to the confines of an ABCDF grading system.....not a learning progress. I see issues from both perspectives and understand why there are students who do well in school and others who don't. I see the issues as a teacher where certain kids just don't care no matter what opportunities are provided them and what do you do then? It is cycle of questions that don't always have answers and after so long you plop in your chair and question what is right or wrong because there are times I don't know anymore.

These questions all flow into a thought pattern that just so happens to be discussed in the next blog post Dubai and Learning about the Unknowable. This post reminds me that I am immersed in education and learning and trying to figure out how to prepare for the next wave in education. In the end none of us know, but we try like crazy every single day of our lives to figure it out. In many ways, educators are living a full out project based learning project by figuring out the best approach to reach the next generation. We have the variables of socioeconomic status, parent influence(or lack thereof), job creation(or job loss), and what will be the next important skill to stay one step ahead of the competition.

With no direct thought connection I still had another takeaway from the next blog post

Reading Joi Ito blog post Reading the Dictionary

All I want to share about this without going crazy is that I connect. My son watches Minecraft videos for hours to teach himself how to do something. It is amazing how he self teaches himself when it comes to something he enjoys. He does not do this for anything else, but with PASSION he will make it happen. Now my daughter is involved in this game and it is amazing listening to them talk, teach one another, and develop strategy on how the accomplish certain feats.

Last, I cannot help but be fatigued by my thought for my assignment

Read Seymour Papert’s essay on the “Gears of My Childhood” and write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you. Share your story in the group. 

I am going to give this assignment to my students. I am intrigued by the ideas that develop from a middle school standpoint. I am struggling. I don't know that I had an object that influenced me. I was lucky enough to have a life of many tangible objects. I have my choices narrowed down, but none have really completely connected. I will think more on this. I feel like this is an important assignment for self discovery and one in which I feel like I am overlooking something with significant value. I will take the late penalty(I know there is really not one), to stay hungry and do this assignment right so I can discover some self discovery that perhaps is really needed with my swirl of thoughts.

 What did you disagree with or have questions about?

I don't have anything specific, but I think my thoughts on public education or just education in general fits this question.  I keep thinking of the idea of creating my own school free from rules, regulations, and standard thinking. Instead I would have this atmosphere that would do nothing more than prepare students for self awareness and preparing them for the real world. No schedule, no textbooks, no "set" curriculum, but in the end or should I say graduation they are ready to be one of the best candidates for whatever they want to accomplish. It would not be for everyone. Some people enjoy and are designed to follow rules and always be told what to do. You have to have these people to keep society working, but this school would be for the people who create the jobs for these rule followers. Crazy thoughts, but at the moment all things that feel very real and burning my brain with infusion.
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