Monday, February 21, 2011

What you know -v- what you can do

Content driven #education doesn't work. Nobody cares about what you know. They care about what you can do with it.
I read this on Twitter at the weekend and think it sums up the direction many educators are moving.  Today we were talking about learner outcomes during our in-service - these outcomes are what students should know, understand and be able to do.  Our aim during this in-service has been to build a stronger connection between the 3 IB programmes taught at our school (PYP, MYP and DP) as well as the APs which some students still choose to take.

During the various meetings I attended today we talked about our philosophy, why we would study certain subjects and what the long term benefits of this study should be.  We talked about 21st century skills, about the learner profile, international mindedness and the school's mission statement.  Although we broke up into whole school groups based on disciplines (and some of these groups broke up further into groups based on the programme they are teaching), our focus was also on the 21st century skills necessary to drive the programme forward.

What we are trying to come up with are statements of our beliefs in action and what practices of teaching, learning and assessing will support these beliefs in the classroom.  We are aiming to find the elements that are essential for the implementation of various curricula across the whole school.

But the above statement on Twitter still has me thinking.  Is it true that nobody cares what you know?  I'm not sure.  This afternoon we talked about the process of transforming information into knowledge - it seems an important process.  However I do agree that in an age where you can look up anything on Google, what you know is not so important as what you understand or what you can do with the knowledge.  What is important, however, is the way you go about finding the information, and how you can gather the information efficiently and effectively.  It's important to be able to evaluate resources and select the most relevant information and it's important for us to stress ethical behaviour and respect for intellectual property.

We also talked about the students demonstrating their understanding and what they can do by making and publishing products that show this, and we talked about the fact that the students own the intellectual property rights to their own creations.  We talked about the fact that students can (and should) add Creative Commons licences to their work if they are happy to share it and have others copy and distribute it, and where was the best place for us to teach this.

Here is a link to the Creative Commons website where students can choose to make a button to add onto their webpage or blog.  We didn't yet come up with a grade where we felt this should be taught, but I feel that sometime around Middle School would be a good starting point.  At this point students will have been taught about plagiarism and its ramifications and should have an awareness of intellectual property issues.

It's good to have in-service days like this where we get to meet with our colleagues who are working in the same school but on different campuses.  Once again, having these discussions and bouncing ideas around with each other shows me that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.  For me it's also important as I'm trying to focus more on my professional learning community this year (the people I actually work with on a daily basis) instead of the focus on my PLN that has dominated my attention since arriving at this school 18 months ago.  And again I feel it's important for me not just to concentrate on developing what I know (which is the main benefit of being part of such a dynamic PLN) but also developing what I can do with the teachers and students here and now.

Photo Credit:  Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi:  Newton by Istvan

1 comment:

  1. Morning Maggie,
    Thank you again for a well written and thought provoking post. Working in a PYP school as well we have the same sorts of conversations. For me it's all about a balance and relationships.
    Thank you again!
    Have a wonderful day!