Level 2! How do we educate others about what we are doing?

Welcome to Level 2!

You have just leveled up and earned another life!

If you read my post last week you are probably thinking, well that is a great idea but universities want transcripts, not gaming results. So how do you get people outside of your school to understand what you are doing and how it transfers to the “real world”? Also, how will students, parents, teachers know what their success points are?

This weeks post is about the future of education. I think that this entire gaming idea is a 5 year in the future projection at least. So this whole idea is part of education’s future. But there are definitely elements that will be needed to help other people understand what is happening.

I can remember back to my time in England that my school and several other IBDP schools had to fight to get UK universities to understand what IBDP scores meant and how they related to UK A level scores. I believe that any school who chooses to do something like the sort of self-directed learning I referred to in last week’s post, will have an uphill battle to get universities, parents, and communities on board. But do I think this battle is worth it, absolutely!

One of the things that we can do is to make sure that the process is public and visible along the way. One of the ways that this could be done is through Connectivism which I learned about through a workshop at Learning2 Europe last year with Madeline Brookes (@mbrookes) The 8 principles of the connectivist approach by George Siemans are one of the ways.

  1. Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  2. Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
    1. This could be done through expert mentors or MOOCs
  3. Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  4. Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  5. Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
    1. This is why teacher mentors play an important role in the scenario I am suggesting.
    2. Connections to outside of the school learning would also play an important role.
  6. Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
    1. There may be a need for a sort of TOK (Theory of Knowledge) type course for all levels where the focus is to help student articulate and understand these connections.
  7. Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  8. Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.
    1. My entire idea revolved around students learning how to make decisions for themselves and their learning.

Another way that we can make sure that this process is public and visible is to make sure that we are using global collaboration. Global collaboration is an idea that has been promoted by the Flat Classroom Project (now the Flat Connections project). The idea is that groups classes work together to complete a project. The advantage of an electronic platform is that not all of the teachers and/or learners need to be in the same school, city, country or planet! Students and teachers in many different locations could be in the system. The classes that teachers are teaching to students directly could also be virtual classes. So you may have 10 physically in your room students and 5 virtual students. This would widen not only your network of students but your network of teachers. This would be promoting a very similar idea to the Flat Connections project but instead of a class working with other classes, it could be done on the student level.

Students could share in the learning when experts come to a location or are electronically contacted. I am imagining something like a Google Hangout with a scientist in Antarctica, with students from several different locations watching, questioning and conversing with the scientist. Before the actual scientist call, the group could participate in a Hangout where they develop their list of questions, decide on roles they will take during the call and sketch out an order for their questions so that chaos doesn’t ensue.

Yet another thing that can help with making this process public is the use of something like badges. Badges with explicit expectations for earning them and clear definitions of what they are for. This allows the learner to fully understand what is needed to achieve a badge and to understand what workthey need to complete to earn them. These could be developed so that there would be school-wide badges, but I would imagine that they would need leveling. For example a math practice standard like “makes sense of problems and perseveres in solving them”, this standard that is in every grade scope and sequence exactly worded like this. So there would need to be a way to show that at this standard has been achieved in each phase (grade range) throughout the students learning journey.

Badges like ones developed for the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition could form the base of the badges used to start the system within the school.

There would also be a need to be badges that show growth in skills and dispositions. These would hold an equal place to the typically academic badges along the way.

Lastly, a way to make the process public is to have easy to understand visual representations of the student’s learning journey. Something like this circumplex, which would show a skill, disposition, or academic area and how the student is progressing along their journey. Like this image, the circumplex would show a child and their parent how a student is progressing towards a standard or in a subject area.

This whole idea would require lots of flexible, agile thinking both on the gaming programmers side and on the educator’s side. I don’t think this could be done effectively without a gaming designer and program being a part of the everyday development and first 2-3 years of testing. I don’t think it would be possible to build something like this without the having those two people able to quickly and easily make adjustments to the platform.

There would also be a need to have people on site who have the ability to make certain tweaks and changes to help keep the platform growing. For example, a school may discover a need for a new badge, they would not want to wait for the developer and programmer to have time to create it they should be able to do this themselves.

So connectivism, global collaboration, and badges are all ways that we could help people outside of our school understand what we are doing and how we are documenting the student’s learning journeys. As you can see this will be a very complicated but super awesome project to embark on. It will require a great deal of pre-thinking and planning, as well as a complete mind-shift in how to deliver knowledge to students. But how can you imagine how wonderful this school would be!

Congratulations! You have now Leveled up earned a new life and the Thinking Skills Badge.Thinking



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