This semester in #ED677, I felt exposed, scared, vulnerable, overwhelmed, apprehensive, confused, pensive, reflective, resilient, curious, innovative, connected, challenged, exhausted, knocked down, inspired, and encouraged.
These past few months have been a growing experience for me personally, professionally, and digitally. I tend to be a private person, so having my information, thoughts, and struggles out there for all to see and read about was a challenge to mentally overcome. I was so focused on what I was going through, that I forgot why I was doing it, for the students.
The reason for engagement this semester was to understand what equity looks like in connected learning. The title of the class, Seeking Equity in Connected Learning and Teaching, set the tone for the course right off the bat, for better or for worse. The title assumes that there is a lack of equity in connected learning and teaching, and while I do agree with this assumption, it also demonstrates a sort of inequity in that it sets the teacher up to be the expert and the students to be the sponges of information. This is just one way this class is important.
This semester, we were challenged as both educators and students to view the classroom differently. We were challenged to view the classroom as a fluid, safe place to teach standards and validate the student experience because the two are far from mutually exclusive! What we did this semester is important because it reinforced the mentality of utilizing the expertise in the room and not just the expertise at the front of the room. This was liberating from a teacher perspective and empowering from a student perspective.
When reflecting on the semester with my students, I asked them what they appreciated most about the semester. One student responded, “I felt like I could be myself. We all attending the same class, but I was able to focus my project on my own interests and that forced me to be more outside my comfort zone in Spain. It was scary and cool.”
To me, this is why what we did this semester is important. We want learning to be relevant to students but what is relevant to one, might not be relevant to the next, so give them freedom and genuine choice. But also demonstrate how and where to find the resources the students need to accomplish what they set out to accomplish.