Sunday, November 17, 2013

Creativity, Sir Ken Robinson and Edmodo

I was lucky enough to be at a conference where Sir Ken Robinson was the speaker. Last March at CUE, Sir Ken was the featured speaker and he is even more engaging and compelling in person than he is on video.  Sir Ken talks in the attached video about Teaching Creativity v Delivery,  taken from a larger TED talk: How to escape education's death valley.

Some of the highlights that I take away from his talk include:
  • Children are natural learners... if you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn!
  • Teaching is not a delivery system. Great teachers pass on info but also mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage.
  • If there is no learning, there is no education. The whole point of education is to get people to learn. We are only teaching if our students actually learn! The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning, that's it!  
  • Successful "alternative" programs have similar attributes: They're very personalized. They have strong support for the teachers, close links with the community and a broad and diverse curriculum, and often programs which involve students outside school as well as inside school. Why is that alternative

In the end, education and learning are personal and that is where Edmodo is an incredible application to help teachers provide personalized, engaging opportunities for our students to learn and express their learning in creative ways.  

As Sir Ken Robinson said, "great teachers teach, but also mentor, stimulate,  provoke,  engage." Edmodo helps teachers do this in a number of ways.  First, Edmodo provides incredible access to educators worldwide. If I want to find a new way to teach my students about the solar system, I can find someone with a great idea. If I want to learn more about something, I can join a community. Edmodo helps to fuel the engine we teachers use to drive learning in our classrooms.

Edmodo can be used to individualize and personalize teaching. Through small groups, I can create assignments and provide resources directly to the students who need them.  Edmodo provides creative ways for students to learn and to demonstrate their learning with apps like StoryLines, GoAnimate and Pixton.  I can attach or assign content videos and websites for students to view in the safety of Edmodo, enabling them to learn subject matter in engaging ways. I can connect with other teachers to get suggestions, lessons and feedback on my ideas.

Edmodo creates a strong link between home and school.  Students can connect, collaborate and communicate with each other outside the walls of the classroom. Teachers and parents can also connect, with parents having immediate feedback related to student progress and classroom information.  Parents report a feeling of connection to what is happening in their child's day.

Finally, Edmodo provides a safe and engaging way for classrooms to connect across the globe!  This year we partnered with classrooms across the country to discuss a book we were all reading as part of the Global Read Aloud.  Our students learned to communicate in more authentic ways, learned about geography and became more understanding of others' perspectives all through their interactions on Edmodo.

Edmodo provides schools with a way to create a climate of possibility - where teachers and students will rise to their possibilities and achieve things that we may not have even expected!