Last week I discussed five potential topics for my final project. It is time to get serious and narrow down some options. No doubt I’ll work on most of the ideas at some point in the near future but right now I’m leaning towards creating an artifact around the power of connections-based learning.
YouTube Storytelling Channel
It’s possible that staff at my school could work together on the storytime YouTube channel, which could be most impactful during long breaks such as Christmas, Easter, and during the summer when students may not be reading as much as they would do during the regular school.
Living Library Project
The Living Library Project was (is) a labour of love and I was really proud of the project and idea even if the execution may not have been as successful as I hoped it would be. I can definitely incorporate storytelling into my current position as a teacher-librarian so it may still be possible to breathe new life into the old project.
Information Literacy Resource
Over the last week, I have flipped back and forth between developing a resource centred around connections-based learning and working on a resource for teachers and students on the topic of information literacy. The topic of information literacy, despite its importance, seems so vast it is difficult to know where to start and stop.
One thing that is making me second guess both of these options is a movement that I see emerging in my school, and to a larger extent in my district, away from the integration of digital technologies. The rationale is that students have too much screen time at home and their addiction to screens is having a negative effect on their ability to concentrate, remain focused, and engage in meaningful discussion and dialogue in school. The rise of place-based learning, outdoor education, and mindfulness seem to be a better fit for those looking to help their students become more present and attentive in school. I think there can be a happy medium but I’ve noticed that when people first feel the need for a shift to occur they tend to move to the opposite extreme before coming back to a more central mindset. It is a shame that at a time when digital technologies can facilitate global learning in ways unimaginable a decade ago that some teachers, schools, and school districts, will not necessarily experience this valuable and underutilized resource.
Have you noticed a move away from the use of digital technologies in your school/district?
Having expressed some concern about how a technology-related resource may be received in my school, I’ve decided to forge ahead with the topic of connections-based learning because these experiences afford students the opportunity to develop empathy, discuss global issues such as climate change and poverty, and fight prejudice. I plan to develop a resource that helps teachers better understand what connections-based learning means, how it can motivate and inspire students, ways to find connections, and the hardware/software required to make these connections. My resource will target teachers, so there will be several factors to consider for a successful implementation.
In my school, the comfort level around technology usage is vast. Like most schools I know, there are teachers who integrate technology into their curriculum on a daily basis and those that the mere utterance of the word causes panic to set in. I’m being a little facetious here, but the point is that I need to develop a resource that is accessible for all educators, not just those with lots of prior knowledge on the topic.
The content needs to be low floor, high ceiling. The presentation needs to avoid technical jargon but at the same time meet the needs of those looking for more technical information.
Time and Delivery
Any educators’ time is precious and I need to be respectful of that. Some considerations around how and when to deliver the information will be necessary.
It is important that teachers feel supported in trying new things, so I need to think of ways to provide additional help to those who require it. Something as simple as team teaching, in the beginning, could be super helpful.
Research-Base: Connections-based Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://connectionsbasedlearning.com/research-base.