Letting the Learner Take the Wheel

<a href="http://Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/jillwellington-334088/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=852239">Jill Wellington</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=852239">PixabaySource

“I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge.” ~ Seymour Papert

This week’s class was just what Seymour Papert would want… learnng through pure exploration and fun. I found logo quite hard and a bit tedious. It took some brain power to figure out how I wanted the turtle to move. However, right away, I knew my kids would absolutely love it and I wanted to share the experience to see how they would respond.  One thing about me is I am not that suave with tech BUT… I also have no worries in trying things out and letting them explore. That usually ends up to be the best way for me to learn as well. From there, we all teach each other.

So, the day after class I took all of the old school game websites and put them into my Google Classroom for the kids to explore, the same way we got to in class! What a hit! They instantly took to logo and were helping each other figure it out. Pairs would choose a design and race to see who could build it first. This really proved to me that kids brains are wired differently now because of technology and that link to the theory of connectivism.They just dive right in, learn as they go, and help each other.  The biggest thing is they are not afraid to try. They just figure it out. 

They also think Mavis Beacon is the bomb! They loved the old noises it makes. Most practiced typing before and are competitive at how many wpm they can get (this is the first year I have seen this). Number Munchers was also a hit. They loved how retro all the programs were.  

Brad Raes would have loved to see all the passionate Oregon Trail fans there are in my class.  He may have to be a guest speaker via Zoom. They use it all at home now as well and were excited to show their parents.

This really hit home with Seymour Papier’s theory of Constructionism in which the teacher is a facilitator and the student takes the wheel and draws their own conclusions through active participation and collaboration with others.

Last year was the first year I taught coding in my classroom. I learned a little bit about Scratch from Curtis but I was by no means an expert. But, as I said, I am not afraid to let the kids explore and learn collaboratively. So I taught them the few things I did know and encouraged them to watch the tutorials. Some had coded before at home. So we had all different levels. From there we decided we would have a coding fair in which we could show case our coding projects. Each student had a coding conference with me, modeled after Penny Kittle’s Reading conferences in which they could explain their project.  We held the coding fair for an afternoon in which parents, guests and the rest of the school could come and watch.  It was a gigantic hit and the students’ went above and beyond my expectations (which is usually what happens when they have input in what we are learning). So this year’s class is super excited for the coding fair!

It was fascinating looking at some of Seymour’s research and beliefs. One thing that stood out was when he stated, “We don’t know what the future will look like, but we do know what it won’t look like…” in the youtube video excerpt from MIT Media Labratory.


This statement, to me, makes it ever more prevelant that we need to ensure our classrooms are ones in which we, as teachers are facilitators, and what we teach needs to be relevant, purposeful and engaging so students are in charge of their own learning.

In exploring all the extension, MOTE really stood out to me. I leave student messages now instead of written comments within GoogleClassroom. I like the personal quality it brings.  I think I will really like Lightshot as well but will have to play around a bit more with it. I also added the distraction free extension on YouTube and am enjoying that as well.

I also played around with POWTOON but I think I need someone to actually show me.  Likely, the best for me is to introduce it to my kids and let them explore and then they can teach me. 

As I reflect I believe the Guiding Principals to support learning from Mitchell Resnick that Jennifer Owens summed up so eloquently in her blog this week is what really needs to be at the forefront in education.

Published by Lisafrazer

Educator, Mom, Traveller, believer in all things are possible

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