Two days ago, our school were invited by the Rex Book Store for their seminar about Integrating 21st Century Literacies in the School and Classroom that was held in Theresian School of Cavite. The discussion revolves around how a (traditional or even a new) teacher can cope up with the fast developing digital technologies that the new generation are up too and how we can integrate it to our lessons to make it more interesting and engaging to their part.
The first part of the seminar is a plenary with our speaker Ms. Grace (I forgot the whole name, but indeed she’s great and fun to listen to). She started it by comparing the different generations namely:
- Boomers- the period of Nora Aunor, the black and white films and those who get resources only on television (no mobile phones and internet yet).
- Generation X- mobile phones are already available these but not necessarily used as a basic need (walkie talkie, beepers, microcomputers (but ironically bigger than modern days desktop). I think these generation our our parents (coming from a 21 year old daughter 🙂 ) 80’s maybe?
- Generation Y- 90’s babies yeah! And I’m proud that I’m part of it. In these year where Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Alden Richards and other celebrities not less than 17 years old belongs. These are the not-too-old but (also) not-so-young generation of people. Mobile phones, internet, desktop are also available but are being used with moderation since there are still a lot of variation of leisure activities that can be done by the youngster like piko, 10-20, patintero, chinese garter, secu-base, tumbang preso, plus a lot of educational TV series such as Hirayamanawari, Sineskwela, Mathinik, Epol Apol and a lot more! (who will forget all of those? Those are really fun and educational to do rather than just sitting down and spending all your time on your android phones, thank God there’s no android phones that time yet)
- Generation Z- so they are the so called Millenials, those who are born in the 21st century (and for those who are not born yet). All my students are in this generation where almost all of them are awakened by the need of using mobile phones and WiFis as one of their (our) basic needs. Where everything they do were already being shared and posted on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and the likes. They are generally a multitasker and technoholics which are entirely dependent on IT.
Now, the challenge for every teacher is on how they can cope up with this new generation of learners considering the level of their attention span since a lot of distractions are coming their way. They are much of global learners that likes to do and learn new things by letting them experience every bit of it rather than just showing the bigger concept. That’s how adventurous they are. They like diversity and interaction, they are self-navigators and collaborators. They can learn things even without us, teachers.
Maybe that’s the reason why the role of a teacher, changes from just a “dispenser of knowledge” into a “facilitator of learning”. It because of the fact that everything that they want to know are all available in just one click, what the teacher know can now be transferred into their minds without us telling it to them. They won’t be needing it anymore, they don’t like repetitions. What they want to learn is something that they don’t know yet. Well, what can be those things that we know that they don’t know yet? Can you think of any considering that everything is almost available in the world of Google?
One solution that Ms. Grace shared is the integration of their interests on social media platforms to our daily lesson. Teacher as a facilitator of learning must be equipped with numbers of digital strategies that he can introduced to his students as a new medium of learning. Its like meeting up half way, teachers using different digital tools to connect with his students who are all fond of using online media. Its not just enhancing their learning but more of teaching them how to THINK by giving them activities related to lesson and let them use digital platforms in expressing their learning.
There’s a lot of new applications or websites that teachers can use to connect with their students. Here are some digital tools that can be used by both teachers and students as medium or channel of both teaching and learning:
- Zooniverse – contains a large variety of topics/ lessons where students can research safely.
- Diy.org – for do-it-yourself projects
- Curriculum21– good resource for professional readings and references
- Schoology– a Facebook like platform and can be used as an alternative communication medium for students and teachers. (Available on App/Play Store)
- TodaysMeet – Virtual classroom for online forum or interactions.
- Animoto– can be used for animated lectures or discussion.
- Glogster – interactive visual aid maker online (7-day free trial only and available on App/Play Store)
- Pinterest – one of the most useful reference for do-it-yourself projects and some important topics with a lot of categories to choose from. (Available on App/Play Store)
- Socrative – assessment platform for teachers where they can post real time questions to be answered by their students. (Available on App/Play Store)
- WordPress – Free bloggers website and easy to use. A must suggest for those who wants to express themselves through writing online. (Available on App/Play Store)
- Flipboard – Magazine maker online, collections of pictures and portfolios online can be one of activities that can be done by the students through this site. (Available on App/Play Store)
- Livebinders– Online binder where you can store important files and websites for references. You can also search for useful/ reliable resources here bound by other authors. (Available on App/Play Store)
- Diigo– a research tool and knowledge-sharing community
- Toondoo – Comic Strips and cartoon dialogue maker online
- NKBA Virtual Planning Tool – Good for those who are teaching drafting or architectural drafting. This let your students make floor plans or home, bathroom and kitchen designs online.
- Storybird– an eBook like application where you can browse for short stories and reading materials for students.
- Bubbl.us– Online brainstorming and mind maps
- Voki– avatar maker for class presentations
- FlipSnack – flipbook software that lets you convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications that you can embed into your website.
So there you go! You have a lot of sites to choose from and introduce it to your class. It will give a new environment on their learning experiences.
Our breakout session speaker, Ms. Laarni also shared some of Massive Online Open Courses which we can use if we want to pursue some courses without spending for tuition fees. Here are some:
- Coursera – one the most popular today, and has a lot of courses to choose from. Some of the instructors comes from prominent international schools like Michigan and Stanford Universities. They offer fre;6e courses depending on your field of interest/specialization, that is good for 8-10 weeks with online modules and video lectures (all you have to pay is the certificate, if you want to avail one).
- Udacity-online learning platform for those who wants to pursue nanodegrees related to technology and web/mobile application developments.
- edX– another site that offers a lot of courses and affiliated from international schools.
All are available on App Store and Play Store.
Actually, if you will observe all of those comes from international developers, so if you prefer locally available courses you can visit online sites offered by our government like TESDA (online free courses and payment for assessment only) and UP Online University (you just have to apply online, submit needed requirements and pay necessary fees).
These distance learning websites are the trend nowadays especially if you are working and still wants to pursue professional growth and development at the convenience at home.
We ended our break-out session with a group activity wherein we have to come up with a sample lesson and we will choose from the given digital tools then incorporate it with the classroom activity that the students will accomplish.
Proudly, I was blessed because I was chosen to represent our group for the presentation of group work in front of co-TLE Teachers which is also my favorite part of the seminar. Glad to learn and get to know some colleagues from different schools.