Sunday, February 24, 2013

Self Directed Learning: A few Videos

On self-directed learning ... what you should know and how you should set it up for success.

Here are 3 videos to watch and think about:


What are some of the ideas, designs, and practical concepts to what a school should look like to help make learning, working, playing, and doing in the 21st century ... how this building helps bring out the inner capabilities of these kids is absolutely incredible.  These stimulus rich environments help these kids find their own passion which is critical to success in the 21st century.

Will Richardson Speakth the Truth

Learning in the 21st Century is not easy and you shouldn't feel too comfortable with it, but you should be excited to try it. 

All you need is:
imagination, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, KIDS, and YOU.  The schools are preparing kids for what the future doesn't want - the old guard called 20th learning skills.  As teachers, we need to ask WHY????  Why are we teaching some of this stuff? 

We need to connect the real world into our classrooms.  This is where the HOW comes in - what do we want our kids to know for their future?  Today's kids want to be connecteed with the world that's real and tangible.  Why do we think you need a classroom to learn? I can learn without a teacher ... Reality is, I would rather learn with lots of teachers from all around the world when I use my access to everything I want to learn!  How is what we're doing in school preparing our students for the 21st Century?  This is a dramatic  time of challenges and opportunities - Where do you want to go? Do I need to go to school???? Changes ... re-thinking, re-inventing, and re-imagining what the classroom is - the classroom doesn't need to be the learning grounds anymore. 

Those who learn online tend to learn more and value it more.  Therefore, I ask you, what's your value? You're not the content (Google has replaced you rather easily, Youtube gives us lots of teachers); You're not deliverer of education anymore, that's right, you're not; Students can learn to pass EQAO and other tests better using online sources like Khan way better than a classroom teacher ... this is personalized for each and every single kid. 

You, as a classroom teacher can't do that - no matter how much you try, you can't.  So, I ask you, where is your value to the classroom??? We can't personalize education - we don't have the resources. But this does give us opportunities!  Imagine being a child today with the opportunities we never had - wow!  Now, imagine being a teacher today - wow, the opportunities are amazing. 

So, now ask yourself, where do you want to go and how do you want to go there? 

The Flipped Classroom: A Quick Looksy

Use class time TO DO WORK WITH YOUR STUDENTS and students use their own time, any time they want, to go over the lesson introductions at their pace!

Watch a few, if not all, of these short videos:


Some Research Talk

(District Framework for 21st Century Learning)

This is a good place to start ... take a look at their framework and the implementation and teacher direction.  A good general framework to SDL ... just missing one thing: Catholic Graduate Expectations.  Below are a few documents from BPS and various authors - read and please don't be overwhelmed. With this new direction in 21st Century learning,  the process will need to follow the understanding - the mind is willing, but the body is slow to respond.

As a member of the TCDSB family, I know this website will resonate with you - it did with me and continues to guide me forward ... check out everything below - you'll see what I mean soon enough.

21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel
Creators and Contributors

“The lack of attention to developing creativity and innovation skills is partly based on a number of common
misconceptions – creativity is only for geniuses, or only for the young, or can’t be learned or measured. In fact, creativity is based on something that virtually everyone is born with: imagination.” (pg. 57)

“Creativity and imagination can be nurtured by learning environments that foster questioning, patience, openness to fresh ideas, high levels of trust, and learning from mistakes and failures.” (pg. 57)

“Collaborating with others to further develop and refine creative ideas becomes applied creativity and leads to real-world innovations, a prize skill in our 21st Century innovation-driven economy.” (pg. 58)

Trilling, Bernie & Fadel Charles
21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times (2009)  
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Tony Wagner
Motivated, Connected, Self-Directed

“Whether at school or in the workplace, young people hunger for a more creative and interactive relationship with the world. . . . They have to be interactive producers, not isolated consumers.” (pg. 187)

“The overwhelming majority of students today want learning to be active, not passive. They want to be challenged to think and to solve problems that do not have easy solutions. They want to know why they are being asked to learn something.” (pg. 199)

“In order for young people to respect learning and school, we need to think more carefully about what we are asking them to learn – to ensure that schoolwork is not busy-work or make-up work but real, adult work that requires both analysis and creativity.” (pg. 189)

Wagner, Tony (2008)
The Global Achievement Gap
New York: Basic Books

21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Peter Cookson Jr.
Critical Thinkers, Questioners,
and Problem Solvers

“Every day we are exposed to huge amounts of information, disinformation, and just plain nonsense. The ability to distinguish fact from factoid, reality from fiction, and truth from lies is not a "nice to have" but a "must have" in a world flooded with so much propaganda and spin.”

“We can overcome our ignorance not with wishful thinking, but with testable hypotheses using observable data. Thinking empirically is a form of social responsibility. The methods of science offer us a way of thinking that is a strong framework for a healthy and viable approach to problem solving and living together peacefully.”

“There has never been a time in human history when the opportunity to create universally accessible knowledge has been more of a reality.”

Cookson, Peter. (2009)
Teaching for the 21st Century: What Would Socrates Say
Educational Leadership, 67(1), 8-14.

21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel
Communicators and Collaborators

“While education has always been concerned with the basics of good communicating . . . digital tools and the demands of our times call for a much wider and deeper personal portfolio of communication . . .” (pg. 54)

“These skills can be learned through a wide variety of methods, but they are best learned socially-by directly communicating and collaborating with others." (pg. 56)

Trilling, Bernie & Fadel Charles
21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times (2009)  
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Yong Zhao
Global Citizens of Character
“The idea of a local community has already become something of the past. Today we all live in a globally
interconnected & interdependent community.” (pg. 110)

“In reality, it (a sense of global citizenship) is not only a good thing, but also a necessary and urgent thing to do simply because our well-being is connected to that of people in other countries. We can no longer sustain our prosperity in isolation from others.” (pg. 113)

“The ability to interact effectively with people who speak different languages, believe in different religions,
and hold different values has become essential for all workers. We call this set of skills and knowledge
‘global competence’.” (pg. 112)

Zhao, Yong. (2009)
Catching Up or Leading the Way:
American Education in the Age of Globalization
Alexandria: ASCD

21st Century Teaching and Learning
Research Talk – Alan November
Knowledgeable and Skilled

“I have learned about two ways to think about technology; one is called automating, the other is called informating. . . . Most of the investment in education is automating. . . . bolt(ing) technology on top of what you’re already doing. . . . but we don’t improve learning. . . . You get very different results when you informate. The real revolution is information and communication, not technology.”

“Let go of the word technology. If you focus on it, then you’ll just do what you’re already doing. The trick in planning as we move forward is to think about information systems, whole systems of the flow of information and communication.”

“Informatting. . . . (is) a whole new business.”

November, Alan. (2009). Creating a New Culture of Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from:

Topics in Education

The first 11 episodes of the 2012-2013 season are listed below.  However, you can click the link above to view all other episodes from this year or previous years.  Many wonderful and enriching videos, documents, and interviews practices are available.  Best practices deserve to be emulated!  

High School English
We'll see how teachers, including 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Brown Wessling, are working to implement the Common Core State Standards. As students are asked to go deeper into every text they read, we'll see them dissecting, discussing, and debating their way through complex lessons.

Connecting the Arts to Academics
Take a look at how schools are incorporating the arts into their curriculum. See a wide range of lessons from first grade to high school where students learn about math, science, discipline, leadership, and foreign languages through the arts.

Inquiry-Based Teaching
A look inside New York’s Urban Academy Laboratory High School where two teachers lead student-driven, student-centered classes. Watch animated discussions unfold when students are challenged to analyze difficult texts in a setting where there are no right or wrong answers.

Middle School
See how middle school students in America are being prepared for high school. Follow along as students read a fairy tale to learn the concepts of plot and theme. Find out why passing notes is encouraged in a sixth grade class. Learn how some teachers are motivating young learners by tapping into their interests.

Social Studies Essentials
Watch students engage in rigorous lessons about socio-economics, community, and history. We'll start in first grade and finish up in high school with some extraordinary teachers who provide their students with unforgettable experiences in order to learn complex concepts.

Technology and Science
Visit classrooms across America where hands-on lessons capture students' interest and imagination. See biology, physics, and chemistry in action and learn about some innovative ways teachers are using technology in the classroom.

Arts Essentials
Take a look at how teachers are designing arts programs that promote critical thinking and problem solving skills. Visit several classrooms where art, music, dance, and drama are used to teach math and writing – along with helping students develop social skills and self-confidence.

The Common Core State Standards
Watch teachers break new ground putting the Common Core Standards into practice in Math and English Language Arts. The emphasis of these lessons is on deeper thinking, analyzing, and problem solving to better prepare students for success in college and future careers.

Digital Literacy in the Classroom
Students learn how to become proactive digital citizens. From understanding safe behavior online to learning how to find reliable sources to seeing how online activity leaves a lasting identity trail—these lessons are designed to develop critical thinking skills.

Bullying at School
A look at three innovative approaches to tackling the serious issue of bullying. Visit three schools where parents, teachers, and students are implementing bullying prevention programs that are making a big difference in students' lives.

The New Teacher Experience
Follow two teachers in Los Angeles for an intimate look at what the experience is really like. Many beginning teachers are given keys to their classroom and left to sink or swim in isolation. But, with the support of mentors, these teachers persevere through the trials and tribulations of their first year.

The X Factors in the NeXT Generation of Learning

Imagination, creativity, innovation are factors - X Factors ... More importantly, remember the kids and the teachers are the other X FACTORS.  Technology, experiential learning, project-based learning, self-directed learning, problem-based learning - these are tools or vehicles to use with what YOU have to bring to the equation.  These are the WHAT factors; The HOW is very subjective and based on YOU and YOUR STUDENTS.  With the 4Cs as the constants, get going!  Microsoft wasn't too far off the mark with their campaign slogan when back in 1995 they asked, "Where do you want to go?"  And you know what? - 21st Century learning isn't solely about computers, ipads, laptops, or smartboards - it's about IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY, and the X FACTORS! - And don't forget, COMMON SENSE!

Want to learn more about 21st Century learning skills? - Keep reading all the articles, websites, keynote addresses on this page and on the Videos of interest page ... They'll help you decide where to go, what to bring with you, and spark something in you to get you going with the HOW to get there.  Don't look to others, look within you to make learning more than content.

Click the documents below.

Richard Olsen from ideasLAB discusses, with various guests, self-directed modern learners.
Modern technology enables us to stop thinking about all learning as teacher directed, and all students as empty vessels. Self-directed learners using modern technology now have the ability to be much better informed and therefore more likely to make much better choices in what and how they learn.  For schools the consequences are profound. Having students that are in a position to make effective learning choices allows schools to re-imagine new student and teacher roles ... exciting, but scary!