Posts Tagged ‘student voice’
Design Thinking is trending is some educational circles. Edutopia recently ran a design thinking for educators workshop and I attended two great workshops at SXSWedu 2013 on Design Thinking:
Design Thinking is a great skill for students to acquire as part of their education. But it is one process like the problem-solving model or the scientific method. As a step-by-step process, it becomes type of box. Sometimes we need to go beyond that box; step outside of the box. This post provides an overview of design thinking, the problems with design thinking, and suggestions to hacking the world to go beyond design thinking.
Design thinking is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand (http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/03/what-does-design-thinking-look-like-in-school). The following graphic was developed by Design Thinking for Educators to explain the process of design thinking:
As a further explanation of this process, here is an exercise by the d.School about how to re-design a wallet using the design process.
Here is another take on the design thinking process as applied to learning within a community setting:
“What does it take to create education in this age of imagination?” was the theme of the following Ted talk. Imagination, play, and social interaction become important to the learning process.
To further learn about design thinking, visit:
- The d.school’s Virtual Crash Course of Design Thinking
- d.School at Standford University
- The Third Teacher+
Problems with Design Thinking
Bruce Nussenbaum, in a Fast Company article, Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment. So What’s Next?, discussed the benefits of design thinking but also noted it has become a type of flavor of the month for corporations.
Design Thinking broke design out of its specialized, narrow, and limited base and connected it to more important issues and a wider universe of profit and non-profit organizations. The contributions of Design Thinking to the field of design and to society at large are immense. By formalizing the tacit values and behaviors of design, Design Thinking was able to move designers and the power of design from a focus on artifact and aesthetics within a narrow consumerist marketplace to the much wider social space of systems and society. We face huge forces of disruption, the rise and fall of generations, the spread of social media technologies, the urbanization of the planet, the rise and fall of nations, global warming, and overpopulation. Design Thinking made design system-conscious at a key moment in time.
There were many successes, but far too many more failures in this endeavor. Why? Companies absorbed the process of Design Thinking all to well, turning it into a linear, gated, by-the-book methodology that delivered, at best, incremental change and innovation. CEOs in particular, took to the process side of Design Thinking, implementing it like Six Sigma and other efficiency-based processes (http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663558/design-thinking-is-a-failed-experiment-so-whats-next).
I fear a similar outcome for design thinking within educational settings. As I stated in the introduction, design thinking, being a type of problem-solving model, is it’s own type of box. It attempts to solve problems via a specific process in order to come up with a new solution or product. John Media, in If Design’s No Longer the Killer Differentiator, What Is?, emphasizes the limited perspective that design thinking can create:
Designers create solutions. But artists create questions — the deep probing of purpose and meaning that sometimes takes us backward and sideways to reveal which way “forward” actually is. The questions that artists make are often enigmatic, answering a why with another why. Because of this, understanding art is difficult: I like to say that if you’re having difficulty “getting” art, then it’s doing its job.
Paul Pangaro, a technology executive, who combines technical depth, marketing and business acumen, and passion for designing products that serve the cognitive and social needs of human beings, further critiques design thinking in his video, The Limitations of Design Thinking.
If we stop with design thinking we won’t solve those problems that those in design thinking say they want to solve. Paul Pangaro
Hacking the World
All of this leads to the question of what types of learning in today’s classroom would help students acquire knowledge, skills, passions, and attitudes for living, working, and playing in today’s world. Design thinking is one process for creative problem solving, but to really survive and thrive in a world of such constant and rapid change, kids need to go beyond design thinking and be able to hack their world. Not only is it important to be able to use a creative process to solve problems, it is equally important to be able to identify problems to solve. As humans living within systems that are safe and comfortable for them using the tools and strategies that are familiar to them, it becomes difficult for many to step outside of that comfort zone to critically analyze these systems to identify problems and to discover better ways of living for themselves and for others.
Hacking is a way to do so. Hacking can be defined as:
Hacking is research. Have you ever tried something again and again in different ways to get it to do what you wanted? Have you ever opened up a machine or a device to see how it works, research what the components are, and then make adjustments to see what now worked differently? That’s hacking. You are hacking whenever you deeply examine how something really works in order to creatively manipulate it into doing what you want.
The real reason to be a hacker is because it’s really powerful. You can do some very cool things when you have strong hacking skills. Any deep knowledge gives you great power. If you know how something works to the point that you can take control of it, you have serious power in your hands. Most of all, you have the power to protect yourself and those you care about (Hacker High School).
In an NPR article, At This Camp, Kids Learn To Question Authority (And Hack It), Michael Garrison Stuber, whose daughter participated in the camp, stated:
“Why would I do this?” he asks, while laughing. “Fundamentally the world is about systems. And we work within systems all the time, but sometimes systems are broken, and we need to be able to subvert them. And that is a life skill I absolutely want her to be able to have.”
In developing hacking as a skill, an attitude, and/or as an approach to construct and de-construct the world, it is more than just hacking in terms of computer science. In order to hack the world, we need to tear it apart, deconstruct it and analyze its components parts and how they operate in relation to one another within various systems. This is a mental, social, emotional, and whenever possible, a physical process.
The following icebreakers are designed for web design, but they could also be used to establish a climate of thinking outside of preexisting mindsets which, in turn, becomes a goal of hacking: to develop alternative mindsets.
To get a broader perspective on helping young people become white hat hackers (folks who enjoy thinking of innovative new ways to make, break and use anything to create a better world), see:
- DEFCON kids 2012 conference schedule -http://www.defconkids.org/?page_id=406
DEFCON Kids: Hacking roller coasters and the power grid with cell phones – http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/defcon-kids-hacking-roller-coasters-and-power-grid-cell-phones
Although I am currently looking towards hacking as a way to facilitate creative thinking and positive (world) change, it also has the potential to become a more standardized process as is the issue with design thinking. Hacking, but its very nature, should force learners and learning to the limits, but attempts to scale any movement can inadvertently and unintentional create the type of standardized, procedural system it is trying to avoid.
The Four Quadrant Poster is the newest activity added to Technology-Enhanced Social Emotional Activities. I love using this activity as an icebreaker for students to get to know one another and to provide me, as the educator, with a lot of information about student interests, passions, and thoughts.
- To provide a forum for learners to explore and identify their learning interests, strengths, and personal wonderment.
- To help learners get to know one another.
- To provide educators with diagnostic information about each of their learners.
- Hands-on: One 8″ x 8″ piece of cardboard or plywood per learner, lots of paint and paint brushes; paper and markers
- Technology-Based: Google Presentation doc shared so each learner can each have a slide; Internet access to find images and/or mobile devices so learners can take images.
- Explain to learners that they will be creating a four quadrant poster that includes images or symbols that represent the following:
- Quadrant One – The thing you do best
- Quadrant Two – Best learning experience ever
- Quadrant Three – The most fun thing you’ve ever done
- Quadrant Four – One thing you wonder about
- The following slide can be used as a template.
- For the hands-on version, provide learners with poster board or plywood and paints/brushes.
- Here are some examples:
Fifth grader Marc believes he is best at writing, finds art to be his best learning experience, being with girls to be the most fun and also wonders about girls
Second grader, Jeff believes he is best at computers and finds computers to be his best learning experience. Playing with friends is his most fun thing and he wonders about sunsets.
- Once done, tell learners that they will then present their posters to their peers. To prepare for this sharing phase, distribute blank paper and markers. Help learners divide paper into blocks equal to the number of students in the class and to put names of their peers as labels for the blocks; one peer’s name per block. Explain that as their peers share, they are to sketch into the blocks the one quadrant that they find most interesting. See example:
- Note/Reflection: The act of orally sharing one’s poster can be a powerful experience. It was time for one of the fifth grade boys, John, to share his poster. He was a blend-in-the-woodwork type of kid – not popular, not ridiculed, just kind of ignored. He got to his fourth quadrant. He had painted a picture of a man with a jet propelled backpack. He stated that he wondered when humans will fly on their own. Several of the boys at the same time spontaneously yelled out, “cool”. The look of pleasure on John’s face when they did so was priceless.)
- For a technology-based option, set up a Google Presentation so that there is a slide for each learner. Ask learners to locate or take photos to represent each quadrant. They can use their mobile devices to take photos or find copyright available images online. Here is an example:
- Learners can use a Google Spreadsheet to record information about each peer’s Four Quadrant poster.
I started my journey as an educator as an outdoor educator. One of the first books I was asked to read was Rachel Carson’s A Sense of Wonder. Some quotes from this book that should (hopefully) resonate deeply with educators include:
A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.
What is needed more than ever is to inspire our students to wonder, to nurture their appetite for curiosity, exploration, and contemplation, to help them attain an insatiable appetite to ask and pursue big, authentic, and relevant questions, so that they can harness and leverage the bounty of possibility all around us and rediscover the “end” or purpose of wonder, and stave off the historical end of wonder.
Here is clip from a keynote about this topic:
The story in his video reminded me of a day I was substituting for a 2nd grade class. It had begun to snow as we arrived to school that morning. By mid-morning, a few inches covered the ground. It was time for recess but, as expected, a voice came over the intercom to state that recess would be inside within each teacher’s classroom. I heard the kids moan as they came to school dressed for snow with boots and winter jackets. I threw caution into the wind. I asked the kids to bundle up so we could go outside. The kids became . . . well, kids. They ran through the fresh snow looking back at the footprints they created. When one found something of interest, they called the others over to see. They caught snow flakes with their tongues and made snow angles in the snow. There were no conflicts nor arguing as was common to this group of kids. They just ran, played, and laughed together as a unified group reminding me of a flock of geese. I watched them with a tear in my eye, one that reflected the beauty I was witnessing. We all experienced a sense of wonder and play that day.
Wonder can’t be planned nor scripted. Wonder rarely occurs as educators plow through pre-established, scripted curriculum, worksheets, and test preparation. I want to create the conditions for my students of all ages to have their eyes opened with and to wonder; their mouths open to say “wow”, and their hearts open to say this feels so very good.
Seth Godin in Stop Stealing Dreams states:
Have we created a trillion-dollar, multimillion-student, sixteen-year schooling cycle to take our best and our brightest and snuff out their dreams—sometimes when they’re so nascent that they haven’t even been articulated? Is the product of our massive schooling industry an endless legion of assistants? The century of dream-snuffing has to end. The real shortage we face is dreams, and the wherewithal and the will to make them come true. We’re facing a significant emergency, one that’s not just economic but cultural as well. The time to act is right now, and the person to do it is you.
We can teach them not to care; that’s pretty easy. But given the massive technological and economic changes we’re living through, do we have the opportunity to teach productive and effective caring? Can we teach kids to care enough about their dreams that they’ll care enough to develop the judgment, skill, and attitude to make them come true? (http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dreams)
I propose that educators take a proactive stance to move from a system that may steal kids’ dreams to one that promotes the actualization of learner dreams. I have a dream today and everyday that education can become a conduit through which learners are provided with the time, knowledge, strategies, and tools to make their own dreams come true. We are living in an era that education can be passion-based and dream-driven. In this context, the role of the educator becomes that of dream-facilitator.
The dreams we need are self-reliant dreams. We need dreams based not on what is but on what might be. We need students who can learn how to learn, who can discover how to push themselves and are generous enough and honest enough to engage with the outside world to make those dreams happen. (http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dreams)
One of the first tasks of the educator as a dream-facilitator is to discover and help his/her learners discover their dreams, passions, and interests. Some guiding questions to help learners identify and articulate their dreams include:
- Given no restrictions, what would you like to do in your spare time?
- If you could wave a magic wand and be or do anything you want, what would it be?
- In one year from now, 10 years from now, what would you like to be doing that would make you happy?
- What would your life be like if it were perfect?
Learners can be provided with a choice with how they answer theses questions: verbal or written responses, video or audio recording, or a drawing. An extension of this activity might be asking learners to create a vision board (see Vision Boards for Kids and Visions & Values for Kids). Technology could be used for this process by giving students the opportunity to create a Glog or an Animoto of images that symbolizes their dreams.
Support systems or personal learning networks could then be established based on grouping learners with similar dreams. The group would act as cheerleaders, support-providers, progress-checkers, and resource providers for one another. One of the group’s learning activities could focus on expanding their personal learning networks to include folks with similar dreams who they locate via social networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and other social networks.
Dreams will only come try if actions are taken to achieve them. As such, the educator should facilitate a method for learners to reflect on progress towards their dreams.
- What did you do today, this week to achieve your dreams?
- What obstacles are you having or foresee having in progress towards your dream? How can you overcome your obstacles?
- What resources did you locate that can help you fulfill your dreams?
Blogging or micro-blogging (e.g. Twitter) could be used for this reflective process.
My parting shot to my pre-service teachers as they enter the world of teaching is to always remember why they became teachers in the first place. I encourage them to ask themselves each day of teaching, “What did I do today to leave a positive legacy for and with my learners?” I propose that all educators should regularly ask themselves this question. I believe that by facilitating dream-driven education, they will have a positive response to this question.
One of the greatest gifts a teacher can give learners is the opportunity to tell their stories, and to establish venues to have those stories witnessed by others.
A Film by High School Student, Sam Fathallah
There is a movement among pockets of educators to make education a passion-based process of learning.
Instead of having all these preconceived ideas of what learners should doing, saying and producing, [educators] have to be open to what they find in each student. [Educators] have to discover – and help each student discover – their talents and interests and create a learning environment where they can use those gifts and passions. Passion-based learning in the 21st century: An interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
John Seely Brown noted how technology can ignite learners’ passions.
We must think about how technology, content, and knowledge of learning and teaching can be creatively combined to enhance education and ignite students’ passion, imagination, and desire to constantly learn about — and make sense of — the world around them. http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-Connect-Technology-and/24884/
Diane Rhoten stresses that learning should be interest-driven, that learners should create narratives that they find personally motivating, personally relevant, personally interesting using digital media tools to tell their stories.
Providing learners with the tools, skills, time, and venues to tell their stories creates a powerful strategy for tapping into learner passions. It also utilizes the tools and learning strategies they are using during their out-of-school time. This is stressed in a new ebook by ithemes media, Kids Creating Stuff Online: Inspiring the Innovators of the Future.
Let’s face it: everything is online, even our kids. The Internet is no longer something people figure out when they get old enough. Many kids are growing up with laptops and tablets. They have cell phones that can do more than most computers of the past. Kids need to take the opportunity to embrace the online world and create a positive digital footprint. Instead of freaking out— “Won’t someone think of the children?!”—we should see this as an opportunity. Kids and teens are interested in the Internet and the online world, so let’s make the most of it.
This isn’t a how-to post. It provides a rationale for educators to facilitate having their learners (all ages) create a video of something for which they have passion and create a venue for students sharing those videos with a global audience – Youtube, Blogs, wikis. The videos would become a type of Ted Talk. Karl Fisch facilitated this process with a group of high school students.
- Culminating Project: You will create your own TED talk based off our essential question “What Matters?”
- Theme: You will use “What Matters (to You)?” as your ‘essential question’ to explore for your own talk. Essentially, you will select a topic based on something that truly “matters” to them and craft video about that topic (6 minutes or less).
- Give a Talk: Each student will give their own TEDx Talk. These will be done on video, uploaded to YouTube, and then embedded on the class Google site to be seen by others. You will prepare with a ‘global’ audience in mind from day one. Remember “Spread an idea worth spreading.” https://sites.google.com/site/ahstedtalk/creating-a-ted-talk
Small Talks is a new website (under development) that provides educators with resources to assist students in researching, writing and recording their own lectures on subjects they’re passionate about. When they are ready they can be uploaded for others to see.
Here is an example learner talk:
In a related post about interest and passion-driven learning, The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Tinkering and Maker Education, I discuss a learning cycle of tinkering and maker education where a final activity is learners sharing their passions and discoveries:
- Live or videotaped instructional videos, where students teach others the skills acquired.
- A pitch for a new invention or process: the learner presents ideas for a new invention with the audience providing recommendations and positive feedback.
In this standards driven world, educators might argue that they do not have the time to do such a project with students. I could easily identify the content-area standards addressed with this assignment – language arts, oral communication, visual arts, technology skills. The more important outcomes, in my perspective, of such a project are increased confidence, development of self-regulation skills, enhanced sense of personal identity, and increased feelings of significance – that they have been been seen and heard.
This is a post about connectedness and its importance for human growth and learning. Prior to this discussion, though, it is important to note that many educational institutions are silos of isolation (thanks to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach for this term). Learners are often isolated from one another – told to pay attention to the teacher, not interact with one another during class time. Their connectedness often comes through recess, lunch, and secret texting to one another. Teachers and classes are often isolated from one another – remaining closed and isolated within the four walls of the classroom. Schools are often isolated from other educational and community organizations – “safe” within the confines of literal and figuratively self-built walls – done so under the auspices that learners must be kept inside and strangers kept from entering. These walls include firewalls that prevent the entering or exiting of social media and Internet content.
To continue to exist, a system must be able to import energy across its boundary or have a capacity to create new sources of energy. A system that is able to import and export energy is called an open system. One that cannot import energy is called a closed system. A closed system that cannot generate a sufficient amount of energy internally to replace what is lost to entropy will die.
The improvement of quality involves the design of an educational system that not only optimizes the relationship among the elements but also between the educational system and its environment. In general, this means designing a system that is more open, organic, pluralistic, and complex. Frank Betts http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov92/vol50/num03/How-Systems-Thinking-Applies-to-Education.aspx
Openness and connectedness has morphed into something qualitatively different due to the Internet, Web 2.0, and social media. In an interesting re-mix of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in this age of social media, Pamela Rutledge proposed that connectedness is at the core of all other needs.
Needs are not hierarchical. Life is messier than that. Needs are, like most other things in nature, an interactive, dynamic system, but they are anchored in our ability to make social connections.
Social networks allow us to see, as never before, the interrelated nature of society and the palpable development of social capital from the emerging and intricate patterns of interpersonal relationships and collaboration. The strength of our networks and our bonds improve our agency and effectiveness in the environment. Our need for survival through connection plays out through every successful social technology.
- Collaboration and teamwork allow us control our environment
- Reciprocal and trusting relationships create effective collaboration
- Social comparison establishes organizational structure, leadership and order
- Social validation and social identity maintain emotional engagement and enhance attachment to our mates and our group
- Competence contributes to the survival of our group and our sense of security and safety http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positively-media/201203/rethinking-maslows-hierarchy-implications-socially-connected-world
The Connected Learning Research Network introduced the Connected Learning initiative. It advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity.
This week (January 2013), the Connected Learning Research Network released a report entitled, Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design:
Connected learning taps the opportunities provided by digital media to more easily link home, school, community and peer contexts of learning; support peer and intergenerational connections based on shared interests; and create more connections with non-dominant youth, drawing from capacities of diverse communities.
Connected learning environments have the following characteristics:
- Equitable: Connected learning environments ideally embody values of equity, social belonging, and participation.
- Production-centered: Digital tools provide opportunities for producing and creating a wide variety of media, knowledge, and cultural content in experimental and active ways.
- Shared purpose: Social media and web-based communities provide unprecedented opportunities for cross-generational and cross-cultural learning and connection to unfold and thrive around common goals and interests.
- Openly networked: Online platforms and digital tools can make learning resources abundant, accessible, and visible across all learner settings. (See my related post: Information Abundance and Its Implications for Education.)
The benefits of connected learning cannot be overstated. Not only are learning objectives and content-area standards more likely to be achieved as students become more excited and engage in learning; but their social-emotional needs have a greater potential to be met. Schools are doing learners a disservice (verging on being unethical in my perspective) by putting up all of those walls that prevent connection.
Early in my training as an educator, I was exposed to William Glasser’s conceptualization of basic human needs and their importance in creating a healthy educational setting. They are:
- Belonging – Fulfilled by loving, sharing, and cooperating with others
- Power – Fulfilled by achieving, accomplishing, and being recognized and respected
- Freedom – Fulfilled by making choices
- Fun – Fulfilled by laughing and playing
They resonated deeply and made sense to me. Instructional strategies and learning activities should build in ways for learners to get these needs met.
The needs of freedom and power are of special note to this essay/topic:
- Freedom – This is the need to choose how we live our lives, to express ourselves freely, and to be free from the control of others. Helping students, especially younger ones, satisfy this need does not mean giving them the freedom to do whatever they want to do. It is giving them the freedom to choose.
- Power – The need for power is the need to feel that we are in control of our own lives. When educators give their students the message that they need to learn in ways that the teachers ultimately demand, their need for power becomes frustrated. When students are given choices, their need for power is satisfied and they gain feelings that they are responsible enough to have control over their own learning and behavior.(http://www.socialskillsplace.com/archive/0410.newsletter.html)
What is learner agency?
Learner agency is “the capability of individual human beings to make choices and act on these choices in a way that makes a difference in their lives” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_and_agency). As related to the needs as identified by Glasser, elements of freedom, choosing how we want to live our lives, and power, choosing what and how to learn, address learner agency.
The notion of agency as contributing to cognitive processes involved in learning comes primarily from the Piagetian notion of constructivism where knowledge is seen as “constructed” through a process of taking actions in one’s environment and making adjustments to existing knowledge structures based on the outcome of those actions. The implication is that the most transformative learning experiences will be those that are directed by the learner’s own endeavors and curiosities. (Lindgren & McDaniel, 2012)
Schwartz and Okita developed the following table to compare and contrast high versus low agency learning environments.
Learner Agency and Emotional Intelligence
A direct connection can be found between self-directed learning, learner agency, and emotional intelligence. Learner agency leads to increased feelings of competence, self-control, and self-determinism; and higher emotional intelligence. Bandura (2001) highlights the role of agency in the self-regulation of learning: “The core features of agency enable people to play a part in their self-development, adaptation, and self-renewal with changing times” (p. 2) (in Lindgren & McDaniel, 2012).
Boyatzis (2002) connected self-directed learning and emotional intelligence, which he discussed extensively in his article Unleashing the Power of Self-Directed Learning. He specified some signposts of self-directed learning.
- Has the person engaged his/her passion and dreams?
- Can the person articulate both his/her strengths (those aspects he/she wants to preserve) and gaps or discrepancies between those aspects he/she wants to adapt or change?
- Does the person have his/her own personal learning agenda? Is it really his/her own? Can the elements of the plan fit into the structure of his/her life? Do the actions fit with his/her learning style and flexibility?
- Is the person experimenting and practicing new habits and actions? Is the person using their learning plan to learn more from their experiences?
- Has the person found settings in which to experiment and practice in which he/she feels psychologically safe?
- Is the person developing and utilizing his/her relationships as part of their learning process? Does he/she have coaches, mentors, friends, and others with whom they can discuss progress on their learning agenda?
- Is the person helping others engage in a self-directed learning process?
Learner Agency and Technology
Learner agency is feasible in educational settings, both formal and informal, given this Internet age of information abundance and ease of access, and the use of social networks for personal learning. The final piece of this discussion focuses on leveraging technology to enable, elicit, and encourage learner agency which in turn builds emotional intelligence.
Technology presents new opportunities for drawing out and leveraging student agency. One of the ways that technology accomplishes this is by personalizing the learning experience, allowing students to work at their own pace and being responsive and responsible to their own individual needs. (Corbett, Koedinger, & Anderson, 1997, in Lindgren, R., & McDaniel, R. (2012.). As Magni (1995) noted in her dissertation, if we combine the principles of learner-centered pedagogy, the methods of participatory design and the flexibility offered by the Internet, educators can use technology not as a prescriptive learning tool but as one that enables students and teachers to gather material, manipulate and alter resources to design environments that are suitable and appropriate for the learners.
Technology also has the potential to directly enhance emotional intelligence. Chia-Jung Lee (2011) described some ways:
- Digital tools can connect people’s feeling to enhance emotional learning. Digital tools can support students’ emotional connection to a content or other people. This helps students learn better.
- Technology can satisfy personal learning pace and style to support emotional learning. The flexibility of digital tools enables students to learn based on the way that they feel most comfortable [which is directly related to agency.]
- Digital tools can provide private spaces for students to explore difficult issues.
- Empathy can be enhanced through emotional learning by means of technology. For example, students may develop empathy by viewing videos of personal stories of others in need; others who are experiencing some form of distress or problems. http://teachteachtech.coe.uga.edu/index.php/2011/05/13/technology-integration-and-emotional-learning/
What follows are some general ideas for using technology to encourage self-directed learning, learner agency, self-regulation, and self-determinism.
- Create a database of student passions, interests, hobbies. Share the list with the students so they can connect with one another.
- Offer students a variety of different ways to learn content material – video, audio, online readings, games. Let them choose ways to learn it. Invite students to add to the resource archive.
- Ask students to curate a subtopic within the larger topic being covered based on their own interests. Offer a choice of online curation tools (e.g., Scoop.it, Pinterest, MentorMob, Diigo) for them to use.
- Encourage students to set personal goals for themselves for the class. Provide some online options (e.g. 8 Online Goal Progress Tracking Tools) or apps (15 Fantastic Apps to Track & Manage Your Goals; Goal setting Android Apps; ) to track progress.
- Ask students to find an expert in their area of interest via a social media and attempt to make contact via Twitter, Facebook, Skype, etc.
- Assist students in developing their own PLNs using social networking sites of their own choosing (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr).
- Allow students to express what they learned in a way that works for them. A list of ideas can be found at A Technology-Enhanced Celebration of Learning.
- Ask students to publish and share their work with their own networked public.
- Implement a peer feedback process; where groups of peers develop their own grading criteria and use this criteria to review one another’s work.
- Ideas for others – please let me know.
Boyatzis, R.E. (2002). Unleashing the power of self-directed learning. In R. Sims (ed.), Changing the Way We Manage Change: The Consultants Speak. NY: Quorum Books. Retrieved from http://www.eiconsortium.org/reprints/self-directed_learning.html.
Chia-Jung Lee (2011). Technology Integration and Emotional Learning. Retrieved from http://teachteachtech.coe.uga.edu/index.php/2011/05/13/technology-integration-and-emotional-learning/
Lindgren, R., & McDaniel, R. (2012). Transforming Online Learning through Narrative and Student Agency. Educational Technology & Society, 15 (4), 344–355.
Magni, P. (1995). The design and development of a hypertext environment for adult learners of Italian. Doctoral Dissertation.
Schwartz, D. L, & Okita, S. The Productive Agency in Learning by Teaching.
The Social Skills Place. (2010). 4 Basic Psychological Needs That Motivate Behavior. Retrieved from http://www.socialskillsplace.com/archive/0410.newsletter.html.