Category Archives: I Am Change

#digcit chat: a defining moment


Last night was a defining moment for me as I watched an idea become a reality. Last May I began planning how to teach my first First Year Seminar at our college.  I hoped the seminar would define their college experience.  The course was called, Pleased to Tweet You: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? I wrote a post looking to collaborate, High School Skype and Twitter Project Request.  Many people responded with interest, but only Beth Sanders made it happen.

We met later face to face at ISTE in June and really started to plan our #fys11 #icitizen project, but even as the semester began, I was not sure how we would really get to a final product.  A constructivist approach to teaching and learning plus a little help from Skype, Twitter, Schoology, Posterous, Prezi and YouTube made it all possible.  College freshmen from Connecticut collaborating with high school juniors from Alabama – what I had wanted to be a defining moment for my college freshmen became a defining moment for me.  Students separated by geography defining What does it means to be a citizen nationally, globally and digitally?  Amazing! What was the best part of being part of a collaborative project?

Last night was beyond fantastic!  @MsSandersTHS and her students co-hosted #digcit, a chat dedicated to empowering students, educators, parents and policy makers to integrate empathy into 21st century learning.  As I’ve read over the archives a few times today, I’m so proud of @MsSandersTHS students and I’m not the only one saying it:

I hope others were inspired and co-host another #digcit chat with their students. Change happens within.  We need to engage more students into this critical conversation.  Please sign up to co-host #digcit chat every Wednesday @ 7pm EST.

As the students said so eloquently last night:

A special thanks to all for supporting #digcit and @MsSandersTHS and her students!  We had 81 contributors last night!  Woo Hoo!

*Posts written during our collaborative project: Local. National. GlobalI care Jamey Rodemeyer;  What is your responsibility – legally and morally?Students as Change Agents;  A Million Reasons and More; A Teachable Moment in Line Waiting for Santa; Thirteen Reasons Why


Share

I Am Change


In January 2010, I  attended EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Baltimore, MD.  One session in particular, I Am Change inspired me to want more change in my graduate level courses.  Being an ambassador for young adolescents and teaching exclusively at the middle school level since my teaching career began in 1993, I’ve always been all about change.  That’s what middle school teachers do.  We change, evolve and transform to better understand and meet the developmental needs of young adolescents.

I quickly started editing and deleting my syllabus.  I was inspired to have my students take more of a leadership role in their own learning.  On the first day of class, I presented my new idea and it was received with a lot of, “You want us to do what?”  The first few weeks were rocky.  One student commented, “I have to admit that the first day of class was terrifying for me. I am a type-A personality. I love deadlines, to-do lists, and due dates.  In my learning experience in college and high school, a syllabus was made to be followed and that is what happened. Not in this course. I have to admit that I did not really reference the syllabus after the first few weeks of class because I knew what needed to be done.”

With change a level of trust must be established.  I focus on the process not the final product and this can be very intimidating for the first time.  I ask my students to “get comfortable with the uncomfortable” because this is where true learning happens.  I encourage, applaud  and celebrate risk takers.  I ask my students to “own” their learning and drive the direction of the course and the assignments.  With some hesitation students will ask, “Can I do this for that assignment?”  And I always respond, “If it works for you, it works for me.”

I can’t imagine teaching any other way.  My question to you now is how do see yourself as an agent of change?  How do you model taking risks and embracing change?  What can you do to encourage your students to become change agents?  And how is this all connected with 21st century skills and learning?

Here’s my presentation from #tec11 session today, I Am Change.

 

Share