I have seen the video clips, the ones where student are wholly engaged in their own learning, using Web 2.0 tools to connect with experts around the world and create their content. It is exciting. It is differentiated. It is not the reality in my classrooms – yet.
My own journey as a teacher has led me down this path. An urge to connect with the greater world led to me a conference session that gave me the information I needed to move forward. I have been blogging for several months now. I share and collaborate with teachers over Twitter. I am working on connecting my students with a wider audience for their work and a wider range of experts for their learning. There have been some successes, but there is still a long way to go.
What I am currently struggling with is the pace of the transformation. Is this better tackled the way one rips off a band aid – quickly and suddenly, or it it better to introduce the components little by little. I am not so concerned about having the students learn to use the tools. They may need more help than we imagine but most will catch on quickly. It is really about the shift in ownership.
I know that the videos all show students thrilled with control of their academic destiny with the teacher in the background in more of a support role. In my experience, though, I have had enough experiences where I have shifted the classroom to being student-centered and had students voice concerns that I was not teaching to give me pause. There is a shift in the mindset that is key here. Teachers need to make the leap, but we need the students to come along as well. We all need to be okay with being uncomfortable for a while, or maybe longer.
So I am excited about the journey, but have some questions about the path and pacing.