It’s about the learning…

I’m writing midyear reports.  Looking back at comments from last year, I notice an interesting development. This time last year, web 2.0 tools were still quite new for me.  I was excitedly experimenting with new and different ways of expressing learning. On some reports, I wrote things like, ‘X enjoys expressing her learning through technology’. A year later that seems to me like saying she enjoys writing with a pencil! It’s not about the technology…

It’s about the learning…

Last week in my Hebrew language class,  students were given a choice how they wanted to spend their learning time. Other than a few tasks that required completion,  the students  needed to be effectively practising all their second language skills in any way they liked.  We started by discussing potential problems that might arise in such a setting and students provided possible solutions in advance.

During the double lesson, there were students practising the new vocabulary by playing a card game, while another group was huddled around a computer adding to a Voicethread. As students left, they showed newcomers how to make sure they changed identities and when to start recording.  Some students were engaged in a writing task using newly learned vocabulary. Others sat in pairs with stopwatches, timing each other’s reading. Some used the iTouch to interview each other, using the voice memo, while others created Hebrew comics using Toondoo.

Everyone was focused and engaged.  Learning was student centered. Students used their second language in a variety of meaningful contexts. They practised not only their language skills but a whole range of trans-disciplinary skills such as communication, collaboration, creative thinking, independence and time management. Learning was taking place at all stages of the AMT model described in a previous post.  Some students were working on acquiring skills, some were using their skills in a meaningful way in the learned context and some were transferring their knowledge to other contexts.

Some tasks involved technology and others did not.

It’s  about the learning…

4 thoughts on “It’s about the learning…

  1. Edna,

    You’re dead on with this. It should always be about the learning. More importantly, it should be about students learning and not about specific content.

    My favorite part of what you wrote is this: “They practised not only their language skills but a whole range of trans-disciplinary skills such as communication, collaboration, creative thinking, independence and time management.”.

    That’s what learning should be about. Transferring skills fluidly. Current school structure prohibits that. We isolate ideas as though every subject lives in a different “kingdom”, and the teacher who wanders if viewed as an impostor.

    How do we break the “kingdomization” of school? What can we do, right now, to get teachers to feel more comfortable talking about science in their history class? Once we accomplish this, our kids will flourish. It provides context and an ability to understand what it means to think critically.

    So, how do we?



  2. It’s amazing how far we have come in such a short space of time, it makes me wonder just what tools we will be using in another few years time? Switched on student centred learning, rich in technology sounds so much fun, I wish I was in your class!


  3. So true – It’s about the learning … not the technology. Love the image of your class of kids so involved in so many ways. I hope you don’t mind, I used ideas from this blog as inspiration for a staff meeting session . (I gave you credit !!)


    1. We take lots of photos of kids learning (at my school). Great for sharing with parents in newsletters, for keeping a record of learning and for getting to reflect on their own learning.

      Of course I don’t mind. I am flattered!


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