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As the keynote speaker at the Southern Tier ConnectED conference on March 12th, 2015 at Chenango Valley HIgh School, Dr. Kristen Swanson delivered a powerful message. Learning has changed and teaching is changing. Here is a summary of her presentation.
Hailing from Pennsylvania and returning to the area to address the conference, her opening anecdote involved a friend who as a fledgling dentist, used you-tube on his first patient as he didn't learn how to 'remove a filling in dental school.
"Job hopping" is the new normal for millennials. The average Millennial only stays in a job for an average of four years. By 2020 independent freelance will be the majority. 99designs.com is an online crowed sources graphic design site that demonstrates a new business model. Freelancers bid on jobs that customers post and the winner gets the money.
The three things that are changing in todays learning world.
Content: Provide content is no longer the job of the leaner. Determining what content is accurate and relevant is the new job of the learner. Developing this skill is the job of today's educator.
Connections: Social media is ubiquitous and can and should be leveraged in today's learning environment.
Creativity: Content creation instead of consumption should be the focus of the classroom environment.
If you want success in today's classroom you should focus on the following: Here are some steps to empower learners in the digital age:
1. Give them the stuff - the tools (iPads Computers etc) is a good start. But just the first step.
2. Develop relationships for learning. Blogging, posting,Tweeting and following experts are the verbs that empower learning.
3. The person doing the work is doing the learning. Be sure that the person doing the work is the learner and not the teacher.
4. Develop 'Focus Questions' - It's not just the facts. Limitless content is available. Choose the relevant facts needs to be the focus in the classroom.
We as educators should be about giving kids 'Super Powers' about things that *really* matter both in the classroom and in the world.Here is a list of the Six Super Powers for kids in the classroom:
Questioning - Questions are more important that answers.
Connecting - Thinning of the classroom walls
Curating - how to filter endless content
Gaming - Provides instant feedback. Kids fail often but keep coming back.
Digital Inking - Training for online literacy and content creation.
Designing - Designing solutions to the problems that are presented.
Authentic literacy has to happen everyday.
How do we know if real learning is going on? What does it look like?
Sandy example. Developing a 'Waffle House Index' paradigm after Sandy with 8th graders was a project that mimicked real world learning to solve a problem in a creative way. This type of learning got the students fired up.
Dr. Swanson concluded with a quote from John Dewey. Dewey said, as he spoke of the 'intellectual revolution', that "Learning has been put into circulation" meaning that as educators, we no longer own the knowledge.
For more info about Dr. Swanson: http://www.kristenswanson.org/