Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CyberPD Week 2 - Who Owns the Learning

Welcome to week two of this year's #cyberPD - we are discussing Who Own's the Learning by Alan November. You can hop over to Jill Fisch's blog for more thoughts on chapters 3-4 this week. Right now, I am taking a break from the beach at sunny Emerald Isle, NC ... and attempting a blog post for the very first time on my IPad mini so bear with me!

Chapter 3 discusses the opportunity for students to take on the role of the class scribe. I haven't truly tried this in a classroom, but have experienced it in PD with teachers which was interesting! Although someone in the group was taking notes, others continued to take their own notes. A trust factor? Is note taking a way to stay engaged? What if what I deem important is not what the scribe latches onto? Many questions came to mind, but I did think that classroom culture is a big factor in the success of this role. As students learn to depend on each other for learning, this role could be very powerful. Here's some quotes that caught my attention:
Every voice speaks with the same volume.
I love any opportunity that shows kids that we all have something to contribute in this space. Giving all kids chances to take on the role of scribe improves their note taking skills and learning but also gives them "a chance to shine."
In the past, I'd have a student say to me "I don't understand," and we'd start the whole lesson from ground zero. So this was pretty powerful stuff.
So using students as class scribes is a great formative assessment (what do they know, what are the misconceptions, what do they not understand) AND a huge timesaver (both teacher and student).  I liked how the teacher encouraged a student who wasn't feeling comfortable with the content to just get her thoughts written and they would go from there.
The power of student legacy ...
When the notes of scribes are put on a blog or website, they are not only helping this one class today, but many classes in many places, today and tomorrow. Imagine how seriously students would take the role of being a scribe knowing they would be leaving this legacy of this class?

Chapter 4 discusses students as researchers. Now, all students research from time to time - our standards demand it. What made this idea different was having daily, authentic researching as it surfaced throughout the day.  What if that unused computer at the back of the room became the official research station where one student each day was responsible for  finding answers to questions in class?

This chapter also raises some important points that moves well beyond fact finding - What do students know about evaluating the validity of sites? How do researchers read closely to determine and weigh multiple perspectives? How do we transfer "paper literacy skills" to developing digital literacy skills? I particularly liked this set of questions as we approach research: What is your information path? What is your information need? Who is discussing your information?  As a primary teacher, I believe that even our youngest learners need to be thinking about the perspective of the writer and their point of view. I'll close today with this important quote: If we only teach one skill to prepare our students to survive in a web-based world, it should be that of critical thinking in the analysis of on-line information.

Until next week!


  1. Barb,

    Interesting thoughts on what you experienced when using a teacher scribe during PD:

    Although someone in the group was taking notes, others continued to take their own notes. A trust factor? Is note taking a way to stay engaged? What if what I deem important is not what the scribe latches onto?

    I hadn't thought about these questions but now I am. Interesting. I do think note-taking is a way for many people to stay engaged. I guess having a scribe does not necessarily preclude letting everyone take notes. Thought-provoking.


  2. I loved your last paragraph as you asked many important questions and raised some important thoughts! The idea of a class legacy is something I really am growing to appreciate more as I read everyone's reflections this week.

    I hope you're enjoying your time on the beach! :)

  3. Barb,
    I also wondered if all students would pay as close attention if it was not their turn to be scribe. As our class is very discussion based this may not be a problem, but... Thanks for giving me more to thin about.

  4. Barb,
    I love the idea of a teacher scribe - what a great place to start and introduce the idea of scribing! I'm sure we all have our own take aways that we deem important and want to remember, but the teacher scribe should get all of it too! That's also one reason I thought perhaps not one student is the scribe, but maybe a pair of students. We know learning, talking, collaborating with others is important in the process -- especially when we are thinking about our youngest learners.

    I also grabbed that quote about "every voice speaks the same volume"! I love that! And lots of questions came up for me in chapter four. It's heavy duty - full of great ideas, but lots to think about when working with K-5.

    Thanks for sharing . . . from the beach! (Ah, enjoy!)

  5. Barb,
    I like the quote-"every voice speaks the same volume" too...reminding us that we all have an equal responsibility for owning this learning-which is why I think Cathy's post about the group own the learning is so profound. Thanks for sharing your thinking...hope you've enjoyed the beach...

  6. Barb,
    I had many of the same questions about the scribe. I take notes in meetings because it keeps me focused. At #nerdcampbc we had scribes. This was an amazing way to share learning beyond the event, but boy did it make me lazy! LOL