EDIM 516 – Sustaining Digital Literacy

Hi!  Here I am….

Hey, all you fellow EDIM516ers!

Where do you find the majority of your teaching resources? I really enjoy the articles in Edutopia. I follow a couple of educators on Pinterest. I am also a member of the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics, which provides a tremendous amount of material for hands-on teaching, as well as many opportunities for professional development. In my previous school, I stayed on top of all of our eBook resources. We had a lot of them, as our charter demanded that we were a high-performing technology school.

Who do you look to for support and research for new ideas?  My colleagues and dear friends, Kim Michels, Lisa Currie, and Addie Woodmancy, would brainstorm daily on ways in which to incorporate all of our subject areas (math, science, social studies and language arts). There was so much information shared among us; we were anxious to meet and became so excited to try whatever it was that we found among our resources that day. We tried to run our adjoining classrooms as close to Google Headquarters as we could. What a rich environment in which to grow, for both students and educators!

What challenges do you face as you try to incorporate new ideas and research with your students? What was truly amazing about that experiment in which we were involved (no one had ever tried to teach in our region in this crazy way before) was that our students started to take the lead in choosing their educational goals. They became experts in panel discussions, project choices and discoveries, and helping each other attain success. The challenge was that outsiders (the Board of Directors, for example) did not recognize the environment as classrooms and were unconvinced that learning was occurring. We were officially shut down.

However, as we were all creative individuals, we continued operations covertly.

9 thoughts on “EDIM 516 – Sustaining Digital Literacy

  1. Deb Cherry

    Working with unsupportive School Boards and administration can be so frustrating! Our School Board’s self-proclaimed primary goal is keeping taxes low. I thought education should come first!
    Looking forward to working with you as we all form a few more connections.

    Reply
  2. Betsy Halsey

    Hi Misty:
    I agree with you and I love collaborating with other teachers. This year I am co-teaching with our gifted support teacher and I am finding that it really helps me to improve my teaching and stay enthusiastic.

    Looking forward to learning with you in this class.

    Betsy Halsey

    Reply
  3. Erin

    Hi Misty,

    It is interesting hearing your story and seeing the word “STEAM” at the top of your blog. I work at an arts integration school and the goal of our school is to become STEAM. The directors for curriculum stand behind us in this decision, however, we have not got much attention from our superintendent. When you and your colleagues tried an integrated approach to teaching, was your principal on board? Did you have any research for those who were ‘higher up’?

    Reply
  4. Pingback: EDIM 516 – Sustainable Digital Learning | mistartblog

  5. Katherine Heywood

    Hi Misty. Can you tell us more about the experiment you tried? How was your classroom structured or what did things look like on a daily/weekly/yearly basis? When you say you tried to run your classrooms as close to Google Headquarters as possible, what do you mean? Were there specific practices or policies that you enacted? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. mistart2013 Post author

      Katherine,
      We allowed our students free reign in the classroom, as long as they chose their project and remained in a thoughtful (even if active) position in the room. We allowed them to sit together on the floor, on cushions, visit other classrooms and have MANY brainstorming sessions. We had a board dedicated to sticky notes, where people would read what was posted and add to or physically take away any information that they thought they could use. We had design and review meetings, which basically meant that peers would conscientiously evaluate the processes involved in the ongoing projects. If people needed a break, they were allowed to stop what they were doing, play the guitar (or other instrument – we usually had one room that was allowed to be more noisy than the others), or go outside for “recess”.

      It seems that it would be chaotic (which it was, sometimes) and that the students would not be disciplined enough to get things done; however, most students took to their tasks very seriously. Those that did not felt uncomfortable not contributing and without much interaction on our part, decided to do an about-face.

      Bewildered outsiders did have some issues. However, the projects were integrated among the core classes. Out of necessity, we did have some time in the morning to have some more traditional lessons.

      I don’t really have the space to explain everything. I would like to reiterate that it was a beautiful thing to watch. There were so many students who grew into prolific public speakers, who gained knowledge while collaborating, and who wanted MORE. I miss it.

      Reply
  6. jonathanwylie

    Hi Misty,

    I know several Math teachers that are big fans of the NCTM, so I am glad that you are connected to that group and are able to take advantages of those resources.

    I was interested to read about your cross-curricular classroom experiment, and would love to know more. Was it something akin to a project based learning approach? What successes did you see that the board did not?

    Reply

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