Reflect and Share
Just being able to learn as individuals is not enough. The real questions revolve around the social practices, institutional structures and skills we need.
What are the challenges you have encountered in these areas, and what have you done to respond to them?
It seems that the challenges revolving around practices, institutional structures and skills we need is indeed an ongoing challenge. The video Rethinking Learning reminded me of the importance of the ‘third space’ – the interaction/connection between communities of home and school; home and peer environments, peer environments and school, and between informal and formal learning.
It also reminded me of how institutional structures are struggling overall to keep up with these connections and ‘spaces’. In my own teaching practice as teacher librarian I have come across challenges of ‘restrictive access’ in different ways. In one scenario, the scheduling and institutional ‘expectation’ was one of a traditional library with focus on literature, and little access (both time or technology) to learn as part of a collaborative group, to participate in experiential vignettes to develop information fluency skills. I have moved schools to one which has 1:1 ipad access, and while ‘time poor’, it still allows for introduction of skills & strategies, modelling, and letting students explore. The challenge in the latter has been the ‘wall’ of institutional structures that still ‘boxes’ in the students by restricting access through different browsers. So students log on to e.g. World Book Online subscription databases, but cannot access the resources. Students use different browsers to circumvent this restriction through access to different ‘approved’ browsers, which also makes one wonder why the restrictions are in place at all. I realise that students, especially elementary, require safe digital boundaries and environments, yet I wonder if the practice of these ‘high walls’ are the answer. Perhaps there is no good answer? It remains a quandry.
As far as my own skills, I acknowledge what I do not know, and use the students as my mentors, in my own explorations. It challenges the whole concept of roles of ‘teacher’ and ‘student’ which I think is necessary paradigm in this digital age. I also am very conscious, that while teacher expectation of student digital knowledge and familiarity with technology is oft/sometimes assumed, we must also be conscious that this may not be the case, and therefore ensure that we still scaffold student learning. The teacher & teacher librarian’s role still remains an essential one.