I’m currently sitting in Room 303 reflecting on the changes that have occurred this school year. According to George Couros in the Innovator’s Mindset, a 21st century classroom should have the following 8 things to inspire innovation:
- Time for reflection
- Opportunities for innovation
- Critical thinking
- Problem solvers
- Connected Learning
If you walked into Room 303, would you find all of these things? No. But this year has been about taking more risks, engaging students, building relationships, and implementing small cultural changes. For example, learners have a voice and choice through digital portfolios, collaborative projects, and a variety of tools to show me what they know (flipgrid, legos, infographics, creative writing, blogging, etc..). After each unit, I build in time for reflection through a digital portfolio. My newest venture is having students grade their own blogs as a way to self-assess and reflect. To my surprise, the students graded themselves honestly. I’m encouraging critical thinking by getting rid of worksheets and creating things that can’t be Googleable.
Despite some of these small changes, I have a long way to go. When the school year started, I was focused too much on tech and blended learning. I felt lost and the learners seemed lost and bored. My focus ultimately shifted to relationships and engaging lessons. Through reading, I have discovered a new world beyond engagement – empowerment. It’s going to take small steps, and big risks, but focusing on empowerment will allow me to provide problem solving (authentic learning), more opportunities for innovation, and ways to connect my learners to share ideas with each other and the world.