The Evolving Role of the Teacher
For the new 21st Century culture of learning, educators must be willing to reform the time old adage of teachers being the all knowing source. Today, teachers “…no longer see their primary role as being the king or queen of the classroom, a benevolent dictator deciding what’s best for the powerless underlings in their care. They’ve found they accomplish more if they adopt the role of educational guides, facilitators, and co-learners” (Lanier, par. 13, 1997). In order to do this effectively, we as educators must be willing to step back into the shoes of a student, learn new skills and find new resources to introduce to our students. By using our new skills and resources we are better able to develop their 21st Century skills to better prepare them for their future.
As an educator, it is my job to ensure that every one of my students shows growth in developing skills that will allow them to become successful in the future. In order to do this, I need to have a wide variety of media, resources and activities at my disposal. This course has done a wonderful job in adding not only to the materials at my disposal but also to my skills when using technology. Throughout this course, I have become competent in not only creating media (blogs, podcasts, a twitter, a social bookmarking account) but I have also learned how to utilize these resources and my new found skills within my classroom. 21st Century learning is not only for my students but is necessary for teachers to be able to do as well. As an educator, I now understand the importance of creating lessons that support authentic learning, collaboration, and innovation. Social bookmarking allows me to connect with my colleagues on similar interest topics, as well as instructing my students to post and share resources they found to be helpful. Additionally, students can be encouraged to create tags to label the resources and share them with others (Ruffini, 2011). The site as a whole is an effective collaborative tool as well, as it allows feedback and collaboration (Richardson, 2010). Furthermore, prior to this course, I was unfamiliar with the creation and use of Wikis, I am now confident when both creating and utilizing them within the classroom.
Fortunately for myself and my students, my district has implemented a 1:1 policy within the high school. This has allowed me to implement technology within my lessons since day one of having my own classroom. However, I was lacking instruction on how to best implement new technology within my lessons to actually be effective and resist the urge to simply use technology to replace the blackboard or overhead. The collaboration within the course between myself and my classmates, as well as my instructor, has encouraged me to try new applications that focus on student-centered learning. For this type of learning, teachers are no longer the only source of knowledge within the classroom, they are the facilitator of learning (Laureate Education, 2015i). Our job is to help students to synthesize the information that students find or cannot find (Laureate Education, 2015i). These lessons now focus on introducing technology within the lessons to build skills that my students will need to succeed. In order to do this, I first need to understand these new resources and become confident in my own abilities (Richardson, 2015). Rather than assigning students to work independently and write a research paper, students have the option to collaborate with their classmates, choose the product they would like to create and provide feedback to one another via various mediums. To ensure that this goes smoothly, students need to start with basic skills, such as communication, collaboration, and creation. Students need to understand that they are just as responsible for their own learning as I am, as the classroom is no longer teacher centered, but student centered (Laureate Education, 2015h).This will take some adjusting as will introducing students to new mediums of technology, but allowing students the time to discover new applications and “play around” with these new resources will only assist in developing their skills.
Within my own classroom, I hope to implement the use of Blogs on a regular basis for the 2016-2017 school year. The implementation of blogging will fulfill the ISTE Teacher Standards as I will facilitate the student learning within my classroom while encouraging them to be creative with their blog posts and topics. Furthermore, blogging encourages digital learning and assessments.Blogging encourages its users to collaborate with one another and provide feedback. Within my Introduction to Sociology class, my students were responsible for completing journal entries but had no way to respond to my comments or view and/or respond to their classmates. Blogging will allow students to post their work, read their peer’s assignments and provide feedback which can only result in students being able to better their skills. This type of assignment will fulfill the ISTE Student Standards for “Creativity and innovation” as students are creating their own post, their own arguments, and research. Furthermore, in order to create their post students will fulfill the third and fourth ISTE Student Standards as they will need to research their topic and use their critical thinking skills to create and evaluate not only their post but their classmate’s posts. By providing feedback, students will communicate and collaborate with their classmates via the blog medium. A potential roadblock for this course of action would be students forgetting to bring their Chromebooks to class or if they do not have access to the internet at home. My plan of action is to send out nightly Remind101 text messages to remind students to charge their laptops and bring them to class the following day, additionally students will have the option to hand write their blog post while in class if their laptop is not present but will need to find time to type it up outside of class in a timely manner. For my students that do not have access to the internet at home, they will be able to come in during homeroom, lunch, study halls, or before/after school to finish their assignment. The use of blogging within the classroom will only enhance and build upon their 21st Century learning skills.
To continue transforming my classroom to better support 21st Century learning and skills, I need to ensure that my lessons are student based rather than instructor based. By the end of the 2016-2017 school year, I will have created two project-based learning units within my US History II curriculum, I will create a schedule to begin implementation and will record data on student understanding based upon the new units compared to the units I had previously completed. Within these projects students will be asked to collaborate, communicate with others, complete research, utilize their critical thinking skills and create a product that displays their knowledge and research.This allows students to continue developing their 21st Century skills as well as transform my lessons into project and student based lessons. Additionally, in order to continue my growth as an educator, by the end of the 2016-2017 school year, I will research two new learning theories/philosophies each month to create my own that works best in my classroom by the end of the year. I will compare data from the 2016-2017 school year to the 2017-2018 school year to see if there are differences in student comprehension between the years. This enables me to stay apprised of the most recent learning theories and desired skills for students to develop.
ISTE. (n.d.-a). Standards for students. Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-students
ISTE. (n.d.-b). Standards for teachers. Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers
Lanier, J. T. (1997). Redefining the role of the teacher: It’s a multifaceted profession. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/redefining-role-teacher
Laureate Education (Producer). (2015h). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 1 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2015i). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 2 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Richardson, W. (2015). From master teacher to master learner. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Ruffini, M. F. (2011). Classroom collaboration using social bookmarking service Diigo.EDUCAUSEreview. Retrieved from: http://er.educause.edu/articles/2011/9/classroom-collaboration-using-social-bookmarking-service-diigo