Clarence Fisher: Click: Classroom Life in the Fast Lane
Has a combined class of 23 Grade 7 and Grade 8 in a small town. Sees connections as important. His classroom looks like a coffee-shop. Classrooms need to be different spaces. Simple things like setup have an impact on learning – it allows a certain type of learning to happen. It’s a signal that there’s a different kind of learning able to happen in the classroom.
Teacher is the network administrator (not the guy that fix the computers) His job is to hook kids up into a learning network – you need to do that for them in the beginning. Asks his students what are you learning from the people you are reading. If they aren’t learning anything he says well why are you reading them? And also what are you contributing.
Classroom is studio. Think about occupations that have studios. Redefines your classroom – it’s ok if people are doing different things at different times – it’s ok if there is choice. Starts off as simple choice but as the year goes on the choice becomes more. Eg. blog a post, record a podcast, paint a picture.
58 different ways to show your learning – how cool is that?
Once you start connecting your kids to the world you are no longer the smartest person in the room. It’s not about you giving the information out – it’s about you helping it happen. Fishing the Web. The content at any one point is not important – it’s the portal that gets you there.
How it works in Clarence’s Classroom
Has iGoogle page. On it, it has 5 blogs. It’s the required reading. I guess these were carefully chosen to ensure that the students had a real, authentic and interesting perspective to read.
Uses Global Voices online – it’s an aggregator – you can pick a country and a topic and will pull it all together. This is the “Social Studies” text book – he doesn’t have an actual textbook in the class! This is information IN (through RSS)
Information OUT is a blog called Upload and a Wiki http://studyingsocieties.wikispaces.com
The students write their own textbook for Social Studies.
When the information goes up, the wiki starts to self-edit. The kids correct each other, readers correct the information, you can hear kids talking in the hallways about the information – that’s when you know the kids have got it.
Branding – gives the kids something to belong to. Wordle – makes a tag cloud!! A couple of times a year he gets them to copy and paste their blog posts into wordle and they make a tag cloud to see what they are blogging about. It’s a visual way to see what they are writing about. They can see what they are feeling the most or least strongly about. They can see the data – and do some reflection.
There’s so much free stuff out there – Clarence pays $25 out of his own pocket on technology. That’s it.
When you can place assignments online they become alive – if it goes into the teacher’s inbox at the back of the classroom – that’s it – it’s over. But put it on line – it comes alive, it’s at their finger tips. It’s more complex literacy – just look at @manyvoices that happened in twitter. They used Lulu.com and published little books with the story in! It was a literacy success that meant something to the students. They wrote it with 12 other schools! It came alive.
Phun and Scratch – both free. Draw stuff, then it moves. It teaches students that technology is for them but they have to control it. ( I need to look at Phun and Scratch for my Grade 5 students)
Kids learn so much more when you allow kids to put their heads together and show their learning, be creative and innovative and THINK. Make something with their learning.
Assessment: Rubrics and conferences – the studio model – does lots of thinking, have questions, discussions. Takes a lot of different forms. Give the kids the rules up front. If you want them to hit a target – tell them what the target is. Give them checklists that they can tell where they should be at this point. Where are you on this? What do you need to improve? What do you need to do? You need built in stops – it’s not good to go 4 weeks without checking in.
There’s five or six things going on in Clarence’s classroom – it’s chaos, it’s noisy but it is productive. He stops kids often. What do you see, what do you hear? (Ask the kids to do those things and it becomes second nature).
Our five years is up – the traditional classroom and traditional way of learning is no longer good enough. If you can give kids thinking, choice and give them the time.
All the slides will be on slideshare and up on the ning.