I love this image on technology and the “right and wrong learning outcomes”. For me this is an extremely important consideration for teaching and learning. Yes technology is shifting faster than ever before, yes we must engage ourselves and our learners in use of technology, e-learning, blended learning, whatever we may call it. Yes we must ensure equality for all, all learners need access to devices of some sort. BUT…… we need to think about all this with a pedagogical hat on!! Why comes first? What is the intended outcome? What are we wanting to learn? Why will this tool allow this? Not just a tool for the sake of a tool.
Therefore to blog or not to blog is not the question!
Why to blog????
There is multiple reasons that I believe that a blog can be a powerful tool for learning…
Firstly I believe that a blog allows gathering of naturally occurring evidence of learning, where the process of learning is gathered over time. Where the growth in the learning journey is visible to all. By all I mean, the learner, the teacher, the whānau and society.
Secondly, the learning is more authentic. This is due to the fact that the blog is out there for the world to see, to interact with and therefore the learning is augmented.
Thirdly, blogging allows for timely feedback to occur. Feedback from teachers, peers, whānau and other nodes on the network (Castells, 2000b). I have been giving feedback to my learners today in our integrated English and PE module. Feedback/feed- forward, where I hope I am making the learning more visible. Where I add value, challenge thinking and help shift the learners on their level of thinking.
here are some examples of feedback/feed-forward that I hope will add value for my learners.
In addition, I believe that a blog is a great way to document and catch the learning journey in a better way than many other modes. I believe that it allows for a way to capture formative data about learning without the high stakes of a final summative assessment. I therefore believe it allows for the true alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and disables the potential for assessment to be the main driver.
In integrated learning, it is enabling a natural connection between PE and English. The learning is occurring, in, through and about movement (Arnold, 1979). There is a holistic focus between the doing and the learning. We are looking at socio-critical aspects such as gender, socio-economics and more and the influence of these on participation and competence in sport and physical activity. We are taking the critical aspects of this even further. We are using this content and using a blog as tool to capture this learning and understanding. The mode of the blog is being used as a tool to develop the learners writing ability for English. A hook in for those who love either PE or English or both. A hook into another learning area where it may not occur and a great way to connect their learning.
To support the blog and make the learning even more visible, we have rubrics developed at school, that allow us to give specific feedback and feed-forward on where learners are at and where to next. The module is “Do we get what we are given?”, we are exploring nature vs nurture. We have a SOLO rubric for each level of PE and here is an example for level 5. We use the AO’s from the NZC to drive this and SOLO to show the level of thinking.
Here is the English rubric on writing, so that both curriculum areas have their own specific criteria to feedback on, even though teaching and learning is integrated.
We are practicing what we are preaching and both Ros and I https://plus.google.com/+RosMacEachern/posts are bloggers of what we are up to. We are also using a class blog as a platform for our teaching and learning programme, ensuring learners can access this at any time/just in time…
here is a link to our blog http://getgiven.blogspot.co.nz/
If you are reading this you may like to check out some of our learners blogs, so that they can get your voice as well, this will help us to make the learning even more authentic.
Finally, another great reason to blog, for us and our learners is sharing, sharing the range of different contexts, teaching and learning programmes, and ways of doing things that are out there, to keep being creative with the spaces between curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and not being stuck in doing things the way we have always done them. At the end of this we are looking for our learners to transform beliefs and societal understandings for others and what better way to do this than by sharing their journey with others and asking for them to be a part of it…
Watch this space as in my next blog I will talk to our cool module we have at the moment, integrating Maths and PE. Where students are integrating their understanding of measurement in maths with modifying activities for inclusion with our special needs unit (Arohanui) at school. A true reflection of our Hobsonville Habits in action.
Arnold, P. (1979). Meaning in movement, sport and physical education. London: Heinemann.
Castells, M. (2000b). The rise of the network society (2nd ed.). U.S.: Blackwell Publishing.