Many in the one-to-one community, myself included, often throw around the phrase “anytime, anywhere learning.” The phrase reflects the many learning opportunities available to students when they are given a ubiquitous learning device. One-to-one provides students with the opportunity to collaborate with others, research topics of interest (as well as not so interesting topics), and create anywhere at anytime. I recently read Fred Bramante and Rose Colby’s book Off the Clock: Moving Education from Time to Competency. The book REALLY pushed my thinking on what anytime, anywhere learning could look like. In fact, it helped me realize how my previous definition of “anytime, anywhere learning” only recognized a small part of the potential of that type of learning. A major theme throughout the book was that schools need to move away from equating learning with time, and instead equate learning with competency. Some students will naturally need more time to achieve competency while others will need less time than provided in our current system. Most educators don’t seem to disagree with this theme. Many would agree that the Carnegie unit is outdated, and doesn’t make much sense today. Of course, the change to a true competency based model involves changes to school and possibly state policies. A second theme throughout the book focused on how and where that competency based model was delivered. This part would likely get much more push back from many educators. The authors spent a great deal of time focusing on how learning could look drastically different. Learning could take place throughout the community, and it could be delivered by multiple individuals. The examples below are a combination of my ideas, and those of the authors.
- Online learning that includes courses with universities, and programs such as Rosetta Stone.
- Credit to students who spend time in a foreign country.
- Internships with businesses or non-profits in the community.
- Credit for students who participate in extracurricular activities in the arts and sports, and even those not directly connected to school. Experiences my include membership in a band or participation in a community sports team.
The authors wrote about how teaching would shift from a direct instruction teacher role to the role of a facilitator. As facilitators of learning, teachers would be responsible for helping organize and oversee learning opportunities for students. After completing the book, the themes described above left me with two takeaways for educators.
- Schools should strongly consider moving to a competency based system of learning. Although there may be challenges implementing, that type of system just makes sense.
- Schools should look for engaging learning opportunities outside of the school. This may certainly be more challenging for schools because of state regulations regarding seat time.
The dramatic suggestions in the book could certainly be huge game changers for schools wanting to truly reinvent learning. Reading the book could generate great conversations about rethinking education, and I would recommend reading the book with others in your school. Good luck and enjoy!
Photo Credit: Bombardier on Flickr
Title: International 1:1 Conference
As many of you prepare to head to the Lausanne Laptop Institute in Memphis next week, I also wanted to share information about another conference. The European 1:1 Learning Institute will be held on September 28 and 29 at the Frankfurt International School (FIS) in Frankfurt, Germany. The conference will include keynote speakers Ian Jukes, Scott Klososky and Jeff Utecht as well as numerous breakout sessions. This conference should be a great opportunity for not only international educators, but any 1:1 educator. I have had the opportunity to attend two international 1:1 conferences and have benefited greatly from the experiences. For those of you at 1:1 schools where you feel like your school is “stuck”, the networking and conversations with educators from around the globe could certainly provide you with new approaches to use technology to impact the learning environment.
Photo credit: Barrett.Discovery on Flickr
In Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World, Alan November describes what he calls “digital farms” as a way of changing the culture of teaching and learning. He begins by writing about how prior to the industrial revolution children were responsible for meaningful jobs that were important to the success of their family. These children later went on to become productive citizens within their community as adults. November goes on to describe how for many children there is now a real loss of work and contributions to the community. The heart of his chapter outlines six jobs that give students the opportunities to make valuable contributions to their learning community. Those jobs include:
- Tutorial Designers-Students record themselves solving problems using tools such as Camtasia or Jing. I also really like Screenr!
- Official Scribes-Students build class notes using a collaborative writing tool such as a blog, wiki, or Google Docs.
- Researchers-One or two students each day act as the official researcher and answer class questions using a computer (A one-to-one classroom could certainly change the dynamics of this job.).
- Collaboration Coordinators-Students are responsible for finding and organizing virtual meetings with outside experts or others from around the world. Meetings could occur on Skype or another video conferencing tool.
- Contributors to Society-Encourages individuals to be more socially responsible and aware using sites such as kiva.org.
- Curriculum Reviewers-Students create material for continuous review combining visual and audio components that can be posted online. Click here to check out an example!
These are some very simple examples of ways to get students actively involved with their learning. Not only can individual students benefit from this work, the entire class can benefit from the resources that students generate. If you’re not doing these things already, they may be a great addition to your plans for the upcoming year!