Classroom 2.o Keynote by Clarence Fisher
I love how Clarence Fisher wove his story from start to finish. He explained that he has lived in the same town he grew up in but has travelled all over the world through the use of technology tools. I so appreciated his mission statement about teaching comes first and that technology is part of of making teaching better.
Clarence begins with the notion that today’s employers are looking for creative and innovative workers, but that our current model of school is not preparing our students for their future. Enter Classroom 2.0. There are four parts to Classroom 2.0: Pedagogy, Tools, Relationships, and Redefining.
Pedagogy: Clarence states that we must examine the way we teach and what happens in the classroom. Collaboration and reaching out to others to make connections is important. I found that to be especially interesting since the new ISTE standards list Communication and Collaboration as skills 21st Century learners need to have.
Tools: The tools simply help us to with the teaching and learning. He maintains that having a blog space for students allows them to have place to meet and collaborate with others globally (with internet safety of course!) and learn from them. Other tools such as RSS allow students to set up a reading list of their interests and curriculum work. The 9th graders at my school are currently working on presenting their work to their parents for the Student Led Conferences. This year we gave them a choice of what tool they could use. Almost all of them chose to have a blog. Once students have their own space, it could become their work area. They could organize all their tools through their blog.
Relationships: Collaboration means networking. I know that Clarences’ students read and comment on many blogs. What an incredible experience for those students. The authentic audience raises the bar for reading and writing skills. I can only imagine how these students will collaborate with others when they finish school.
I do struggle with how students have relationships with information. Many teachers think that because students know how to use the computer, they know how to find and use information. Assignments which ask students to regurgitate facts back to the teacher also do not help with the information seeking process. It’s easy for students to copy and paste the facts the teacher wants. I think we now have to focus on how to find good information the research process, and stimulate a passion for wanting to find information. I’m not sure that any of these skills can be assessed, and it’s much harder to “grade” these skills, but they are necessary for the future.
Redefine: I like Clarence’s vision of the classroom as a studio. His students have a job and they come to school ready to work in a collaborative environment where it is perfectly acceptable for them to work together on a project. I have noticed that this tends to occur naturally. The students in my school seem to love to work in small groups but still communicate with others in their network via instant messaging tools. Somehow they share the information they have learned.
So why try to asses the technology skills? We were thinking of incorporating the NETS standards into our school but have determined that should not be a separate set of standards, but be included in our daily practice. As Alan November has stated, we need the innovators to keep our country going. Innovation comes from using skills that encourage deep and critical thinking in a global communication network, no matter where it’s located.