Connected Courses: Hanging Out with Randy Bass and Cathy Davidson

Wow! I only had time to watch one of the two videos posted last week but thoroughly enjoyed it. The conversation with Cathy Davidson and Randy Bass that was hosted by Michael Wesch demonstrated their passion for education and was very thought-provoking. It was interesting for me to hear how those who teach in higher education have determined the same thing as those of us in K-5 education: the best lessons are those where students to want to revise their work, work on a problem that matters to them, have a real audience, want to do the work, and are immersed in the discipline.

It made me wonder if I could actually get Primary-aged students to help me plan my next workshop for teachers…

I also loved Cathy’s soapbox (starting approx. minute 42) about high-stakes testing, it’s impact and possible options to consider (such as open-source badging) – go Cathy!

So why do I teach?

Alan Levine said that he teaches to be memorable. I wondered if anyone would be honest enough to say that… Don’t we all want to make our mark on the world and impact someone?

I too teach with the hope of influencing someone.

In the Hangout from September 15, 2014, around the 18min mark, Randy Bass said he has observed that experts seem to be passionate about what it is that makes their discipline difficult.

I suppose that makes sense – when you have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how something works and then finally grasp it, you are proud of your efforts. As expert learners, teachers have mastered a domain well enough to convey it to others and hope that others become just as excited by it.

I guess that might be part of why I am drawn to inquiry-based teaching and learning: I always hope that students will spend time with a subject, get to know it, work through the difficult bits and be proud of their accomplishments. Ultimately, I’d like them to become passionate learners.

(041/365) I Lost a Tooth!
CC licensed (BY-NC-SA) via Daniel Norwood’s flickr photostream

In my current role, I hope that I can impact both K-5 students and their teachers. As laid out in my curriculum, I hope to get them excited about using technology to:

  • Create
  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Organize
  • Investigate
  • Be good digital citizens

But what last week’s video pushed me to think about is WHY?

Why do I care that teachers and students become passionate about these things?

Generally, I think that the motivation for my teaching lies in a my hope that I can help others to develop a curiosity about the world and desire to take care of all it’s “inhabitants”. To do that, they need to:

  • ask a lot of questions and wonder about things
  • be open to having preconceived notions challenged and push others to consider new perspectives
  • have the skills to find, access and assess information
  • be comfortable with and open to change

Even though I work with 5-10 year-olds, these are all skills that can be taught and I think that I would relish working on these skills with anyone!

I have had many roles in several schools and I think that one of the reasons that I like my current role so much is that all those ICT skills listed in our curriculum are very transdisciplinary and help to support learning, personal development and taking action.

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It seems quite simple but if my students develop a curiosity about the world and desire to care for it’s inhabitants and are able to use technology to answer their own questions or take action, I would be thrilled.