After publishing my first reflection on the Deeper Learning Conference I am actually going to jump ahead beyond my conference specific reflections to what happened the Sunday I returned home from San Diego.
I was asked prior to leaving for Deeper Conference to guest moderate the #iaedchat on Twitter. They were trying something new where I would run two sessions. One in the morning and another at night. It was up to me to come up with a topic and questions and collectively with the moderators of the chat they helped to finalize the chats. I was not sure what to chat about and was stuck between student voice and the idea of deeper learning.
I put off the decision until I attended the conference and after the first day I told Jimmy Casas that I wanted to use Deeper Learning. I just knew that I had to spread the word even if I had a lot left to learn.
I am so glad I chose this topic. I have been part of many chats before, but never I have been part of two chats so rapid fire. The topic of Deeper Learning sparked an emotion in many people.
The seven questions that I posed were
Q1: What does a classroom that is focused on deeper learning look like, sound like or feel like to you? #IAedchat
Q2: What role do all staff play in supporting “deeper teaching & learning?” #IAedchat
Q3: What barriers currently exist in our present educational structure that limit students’ opportunities for deeper learning? #IAedchat
Q4: If we want students to have deeper learning, how do we prepare & train educators to develop the academic mindset to go deep? #IAedchat
Q5: What are the frameworks, techniques, & questions used to open up the channels to deeper learning? #IAedchat
Q6: How does assessment & protocols play an essential piece in deeper learning? #IAedchat
Q7: How will YOU bring these ideas into action in your school/district? #IAedchat
I honestly feel that the last question is most vital. In education we spend a lot of time talking and not doing. This question was not a false hope. I really want to know how people are going to use the information and I hope that they share the results.
I have a Google Script that records every Tweet during a set time for a hashtag. I was able to go back and read all the tweets that I missed. As I responded to one tweet during the chat literally 40 more would fly by. We had 1315 tweets shared with the actual hasthtag used during the 60 minutes for the evening session and probably close that many during the morning.
As a moderator I really wanted to convey the idea that deeper learning is essential for all schools. There is confusion that this is some new concept or one more pedagogy that must be implemented. People wanted to know what curriculum to use or how to go about it. Herein lies the beauty of deeper learning – as educators you can use whatever tools you need that allow you to break ground to dig deep. Socratic questions, inquiry based learning, project based learning, problem based learning, learning creative learning, etc. It does not matter. What matters is how well the teachers create an atmosphere of learning where students have voice and the opportunity to explore their own learning. I believe that schools need to work hard to show kids and the communities that schools are just one domain for learning and the not the only domain.
If we ask ourselves where our best learning moments were and why, many of us would not choose an event associated with school. We would pick something outside of the school day where we were immersed in content, hands on learning, worked through failures, and had a passion for what we were trying to achieve. The question I have for all of us is why cannot schools be this place of learning? What are we afraid of? Are we scared of giving up control? Fearful of not having a rigid routine? Are we afraid of what to do without bells? This is what I challenge all of us to do – revamp our thinking to allow deeper learning to occur.
You can read the archive of tweets here to hear the ideas and pull the resources. You do have to read it from bottom up to read chronologically.
For me, this chat was pivotal for me as a person and educator.
1. I was able to share my learning from the Deeper Learning Conference and DLMOOC with a whole new audience.
2. I was able to weave and intermix the communities from Deeper Learning with the powerhouse of #iaedchat.
3. I was challenged with fantastic questions and thoughts that I am seeking answers to.
4. It has prompted me to take things further. By further, I am now working to develop a MOOC that will start this fall to help educators learn more about deeper learning, play, tinkering, academic mindsets, and project based learning.
5. It has really helped me to reflect and think about what exactly I want to learn more about and implement with my school and PLN.
As I continue to work on writing up my reflections from the conference the more I am beginning to see that education must change. I have always believed this, but now I am feeling the confidence to fight for change. It is time to shake things up. It is time to move from the thinking of covering content from this point to this point as a survey course to scrapping it all so we move towards digging deep in questions that work to help students think, problem solve, and strive to be a positive citizen of this world.
I loved moderating these chats and hopefully can guest again. I love the conference and having the chance to share what I learned with others.
Now, time to warp back to the first day of the conference when I had be a student again…………