Learnings from Ulearn

by Jo

There is not a conference today that doesn’t mention how rapidly the world is changing and how best to cope with it. But at Core’s ULearn 2012  Jason Ohler  reframed the issue with this insightful statement:

“Everything is changing - and the big question for each of us is how prepared we are to change personally - change is not external!”

And although you’d be forgiven for thinking Ulearn was all about technology, many key messages were about people. Yes, presenters spoke about devices and technology–videos, podcasts, ipads, ibooks, ebooks and others—and how these can be used to enthuse and engage students and teachers alike. However, ultimately great things happen when educators become self aware and care enough to change.

Some key messages from Ulearn 2012:

Teachers and librarians who care matter a great deal – most of us remember teachers who inspired us and urged us to believe in ourselves. Those educators who took the time to get to know their students, who cared and encouraged curiosity, showed their students a future and then empowered them to believe it – door openers!

Gratitude —Focus on what you have, not what you’re lacking. Then support and encourage your students to do the same.

Get to know and love the tigers in your class—“Treat the scariest kid like he’s the only one you trust.” Yes they will test your patience. But the world is full of tigers who went on to great things as entrepreneurs, innovators, adventurers; people lucky enough to have met someone who helped them focus on what they could do, rather than on what they couldn’t, someone who helped open a door.

Great expectations—All students need to know that people care enough to expect great things of them. Consistently.

Be consistent Have I mentioned this before?

Schools as incubators—Schools have a responsibility to create a safe place for all, where it’s OK to innovate and collaborate, where people are acknowledged, ideas are shared, and risk is supported, pilot initiatives are encouraged and its okay if they don’t all work.

Trust and bestow responsibility —Give students the tools to investigate and then let them teach and lead.

Learning can take place anywhere, anytime —The school represents the real-world and all devices are allowed.

Develop social skills –Develop a social-skills programme to help students learn how to manage stress and understand their emotions and what triggers them. Help them understand how to be good citizens online and off.

Manage self talk—Practice positive thinking. Ongoing failures or success and repeated practice creates permanent performance and attitudinal beliefs. These beliefs become us. School staff can help counter kids’ lack of belief when they encourage the practice of self belief.

Be ‘rewindable’ —Make and upload podcasts and videos of easier aspects of lessons for students to watch/listen to outside of school. In a flipped classroom you can team teach with yourself. Andrew Douch gave a brilliant example of teachers in his school who record themselves explaining simpler aspects of a topic. They then play that to one group in the class, while they interact and explain more complicated aspects of the topic to another group.

It seems only apt that Khoa Do , who spoke as he has lived his life, passionately and courageously, should have the final words: “We all have the potential to make a difference.”

What messages resonated with you?

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