Creating Significant Learning

The classroom is supposed to be the place in which learning takes place, or does it?  After reading, A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, I realized that learning can take place inside and outside the classroom.  I had so many questions. Am I fostering an environment that allows for optimal learning? If not, what can I do to help my students learn best for tomorrow’s world?

A fundamental idea that I really took away from A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, is that the process and environment for learning is not that way it was when we were in school.  A major idea is that learning is not just in the classroom.  In the digital age, we have the ability to learn in the classroom and out of the classroom.  Another key idea is that learning takes place through engagement within in the world.  How do I plan to practice the fundamental ideas in my classroom?

By looking at the boundaries that are placed in the standard classroom, I believe I was able to think of an innovation or something new that needed to be change to create a significant learning environment. To practice these keys ideas, we as teachers need to be able to set up a positive learning environment inside and outside of the classroom.  With the shift to student driven learning, learning in the classroom is a obstacle.  I had to ensure that that was being done in my innovation plan ,to implement ePortfolios in the classroom.  Students not only create to learn, they collaborate and reflect on their learning.  In order to help guide this learning, students must have access to it whenever the mood strikes.  To make sure that my integration of ePortfolios into the classroom was successful, I needed to create a new, significant learning environment.

With change comes challenges.  My school has really been trying to improve with their technology integration into the classroom, but they have really been focusing on offering more challenging courses to learn more and more content to be prepared for any assessments.  With the sole focus on learning content, there is a loss in student centered learning and creativity.  When the focus is on learning content, memorization is one of the main ways of learning material.  Does memorization help the student to remember this content in the long-term?  Does memorization help the student make and meaningful connection to the curriculum?  As I mentioned in my innovation plan outline, students would be able to learn new material and it would make a meaningful connection because they are in charge of their own learning.

By adopting this mindset, my organization will continue to grow and meet the needs out our students.   This mindset will impact my organization, by allowing the students to have access to learning at any given point in time.  My organization will also have a hand, so to speak, in forming mature and responsible digital citizens.  Most importantly, my organization will have a hand in creating a new and personal learning environment, for their students.  Instead of looking at the “facts, figures, and data” (Brown & Thomas, 2001), the focus on interests, passions and moments of “play”.  By my school focusing on the students they are able to bridge together the pubic and information based world and the personal and structured world.  Teaching to the student, instead of just focusing the content and numbers will allow the organization to create a significant learning environment.

When thinking about creating a significant learning environment, it can be a bit overwhelming.  I think that with everyone, before approaching a task, they need to see the big picture.  After envisioning the big picture, you need to have an idea or plan.  Then you need to find out what works and what doesn’t.  The best way I can compare this process is to putting together a puzzle. At first it’s overwhelming but after looking at the picture and making a plan it all falls into place, with a little bit a trial and error.

Change is difficult for everyone in the classroom.  I believe that by adapting the mindset, teachers are creating an environment for any student to learn.  By meeting all of the students’ needs, students are able to be successful and display how they learned.  As we try to meet the needs of our students we need to give them students more control.  Teachers can’t just think about their opinions, they need to plan with their students and let them have an active role in their learning.  By giving students an active role to collaborate with each other, they will take ownership of their learning and want to learn.  As Thomas as Brown stated, “It means viewing the future as a set of new possibilities, rather than something that forces us to adjust” (Brown & Thomas, 2011).  Having practiced the growth mindset values, teachers and students should embrace change, want to continue to learn and embrace changes.  Creating a significant learning environment will create change and an entirely new outlook on learning.

Reference:

Brown, J. S. & Thomas, D. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY. CreateSpace.

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Photo by pixabay.com .

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