I have recently had the opportunity to participate in a teaching partnership with a colleague in my school board who I had never met. We were introduced through a pilot project where teachers who have some experience and comfort level working with computer technology are partnered with an individual who wants to learn more about including ed tech in his/her teaching practice.
My partner has been teaching for longer than I have, in a discipline where I have no experience teaching. He is in a rural school where mine is more urban. On paper, we look like an unlikely pair. Enter the magic of collaboration and conversation.
We talked about teaching. Our thoughts on education reform. The necessity of coffee. We engaged in my favourite pedagogical conversation, “If I could design my own school, it would look like…” We talked about innovation. And technology in education. We talked about music. And the influence of new technology on music. (Neither of us teach music, but we both love it, and share a particular affinity for music from the 1960’s.)
Formally, in the ITIP (Innovative Teacher Integration Project), I am the mentor and Mr. D is the mentee. I think those labels are misleading, as the best teaching is learning, and vice versa. The most important element to in this entire process is time. We had a morning (which isn’t much – but it was something!) to meet, to discuss, to come to an understanding, to help one another. Giving teachers time to collaborate with one another produces great ideas and better opportunities for student learning.
Through our conversations, I came to understand Mr. D’s goals. He wants to reach the students where they are, giving them a tool with which to record their art work for posterity (and assessment. Because school.) It needed to be phone-friendly – as pretty much all students have a cell phone at the ready, and it had to be easy – so that they would use it.
We talked over some options and decided to try setting up a class Edublog – the students could take pictures of the artwork they created and upload it to their personal blogs. Edublogs has a handy app that is free in both iOs and android. Students will create a digital portfolio of their work and a have place to reflect on the learning process. Photos of the work in different stages will help in understanding how the learning happens- and any text included will enrich the understanding of both the student (metacognition) and the teacher. As part of the triangulation process, the discussions between teacher and student can now be real and virtual, and the product is recorded forever – so students can take their work home and hang it on the fridge. 🙂
The transition from traditional ways to new ways needs to be purposeful. How will this transition enrich the learning process in Mr D’s class? Will his students embrace it? Will the conversations be richer? Will they be able to discuss their work on a deeper level than before? I’m interested to see. I have lots left to learn.
“List of images on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Apr. 2017. Web. 02 May 2017.