Course 4, Week 3: Learning Deeply, Digitally

Create a reality where all students can and will learn. -Fullan’s moral imperative

Deep learning tasks

Fullan’s New Pedagogies is comprised of three core principles. Last week we read about the first one, learning partnerships. This week we read about the second, deep learning tasks.

Infographic from A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

Fullan and Langworthy (2014) explained deep learning “tasks harness the power of the new learning partnerships to engage students in practicing the process of deep learning through discovering and mastering existing knowledge and then creating and using new knowledge in the world.” They go on to say, “Deep learning tasks re-structure learning activities, involve knowledge construction, develop the 6 Cs or key future skills, and define clear learning goals.” If you would like to play around with these concepts, I have created the following Quizlet.

Re-structure students’ learning

In my school, when we use digital tools we can re-structure students’ learning of curricular content. For example, when writing a persuasive essay, students can use Book Creator as an alternative to handwriting or word processing. It becomes more engaging for some students. In addition, it can add a bit of a challenge for those who are ready to try a new digital tool.

Real experiences

We try to give students real experiences in creating and using new knowledge in the world beyond the classroom. For example, during the Save the Planet Unit of Inquiry, we have students design a plan and produce a prototype of an innovative way to Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and/or Repair (the 6Rs) plastic.

Partnerships

Using the plastic example from before, one way we can partner with students in designing the structure or process of the task by using the Rapid Design Process.

https://discoverdesign.org/handbook
Authentic choice

We can give students authentic choice over what they learn and how they execute the learning by allowing them to decide on their own topics, such as with the rapid design process and allowing them to decide what opinion they want to choose to write about.

Learning goals

We connect the deep learning tasks to clear learning goals by sharing the learning goals and keeping them in mind during the unit. We also share the rubric for what the expectations will be for their final products.

Raising the bar

The expectations for all of our students are high. To begin with, the student population of our school scores mostly at or above grade level on the standardized MAP assessment. This naturally pushes the English learners and learning support students to strive to meet their peers’ performances. At times, we even have to remind ourselves that we must allow some students the time they need to meet the expectations. We meet students where they are currently and push them to excel, bit by bit.

Students can & will learn

At my school, all students can and will learn. Not only are their high expectations and the entire grade level is working approximately one year above grade level, but we also provide support to those students who need it. We have a strong Special Educational Needs department and we strive to help our students be as successful as possible and meet their potential. When a student is not performing to their potential, we give attention to what that student needs. It may be as simple as a six-week intervention.

Designing meaningful learning experiences

Teachers meet weekly and plan for deeper learning through the design of meaningful learning experiences. We collaborate and create lessons that allow students to chose their own learning interests.

Invisible bias

As an English language teacher, I am culturally sensitive; however, invisible bias is a new concept for me. I will need to think further about this phenomenon and create a plan for nurturing self-awareness in my students and colleagues. I would think a reasonable first step for me will be to keep an eye out for instances happening around me. When I notice them, I could bring attention to it in a friendly manner.

My practice

I can shift my practice based on this week’s readings in order to create an environment that embraces equitable deep learning tasks. I will need to plan lessons to maximize the potential of technology through active, deep learning. I will need to keep in mind SAMR and be sure to strive to use technology to redefine the learning experience. Creating a bias-free learning environment where students have choices, clear goals, and meaningful learning opportunities lends itself naturally towards more personalized learning experiences. As a special educational needs teacher, it is my job to assist classroom teachers to accommodate their students’ learning differences. It may be in the form of using voice to text instead of handwriting, working in a small group with a teacher, or working one-on-one with me to learn to read. The bottom line is creating deep learning experiences to meet the way students learn individually.

Resources

Fullan, M. & Langworthy, M. (January 2014). A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. Retrieved from https://michaelfullan.ca/a-rich-seam-how-new-pedagogies-find-deep-learning/

Fullan, M. (16 March 2016). Topic Series 10 - The Moral Imperative. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/tQYvruRPeLU

Whiting, J. (4 September 2019). Everyone Has Invisible Bias. This Lesson Shows Students How to Recognize It. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-09-04-everyone-has-invisible-bias-this-lesson-shows-students-how-to-recognize-it

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