“So, the classroom of the Read/Write Web is one of the seamless transfer of information; of collaborative, individualized learning; and of active participation by all members of the class. It is marked by the continuous process of creating and sharing content with wide audiences. In many ways, these technologies are demanding that we reexamine the way we think about content and curriculum, and they are nurturing new, important shifts in how best to teach students (Richardson 2010 149-150).”
As a literacy teacher, I, perhaps more easily than others, had moved into this mode of teaching within my classroom by using pedagogy that supports constructivism. Because the content of a literacy classroom is process-based rather than information-based, having students practice discussion skills was easy–the Iowa Core Standards have an entire set of standards for discussion. Focusing on the writing process and assisting each individual student to improve his/her writing based on their ability level when the joined my classroom was simply status-quo teaching for me. Unlike classes such as science or social studies that have very specific pieces of information as well as skills and processes to teach, my course is the process of reading, writing, researching, argumentation, and all for a specific audience and purpose.
The biggest shifts in my classroom will therefore be around two major shifts from those identified by Willard Richardson:
Big Shift 5: Know “Where” Learning: How will I develop lessons that will instruct students on how to find, how to evaluate for reliability and validity, and how to manage,share, and create new learning from this information.
Big Shift 7: The Web as Notebook (or Portfolio): What is the best repository for students’ to curate these sources and their reflection, sharing and creation?
These two shifts and these two questions are my “Aha! Moment.” They are the distillation of this class, Building Online Collaborative Environments, to the essence of the focus of change in my classroom. I need to learn more about these myself, create lessons and structures around these in my classroom, and help my students to engage in these through my classroom instruction.
I don’t have the answers to these questions today, but I am glad that I have identified, succinctly, the questions that will guide my classroom pedagogy for this coming year. I have a focus; I have a place to begin; I have a North Star by course-correct when the crazy of the school year begins, and I inevitably wander off track.
Now I need to seek the answers by becoming a connector, content creator, collaborator, coach, and change agent (Richardson 2010 154-155). Wow, a tall, but invigorating order.