domingo, 25 de febrero de 2018

#EduGoalsMooc The Goal Minded Teacher: Challenges to Transform Student Learning WEEK 2: FINAL REFLECTIONS

#EduGoalsMooc The Goal Minded Teacher: Challenges to Transform Student Learning


WEEK 2: FINAL REFLECTIONS

During this week we have been faced with the always complicated question of how to motivate students. My personal experience, during the past 27 years of my life, since I became a full teacher, is that most of us never stop trying new things, looking for the magic token which will make our students eager to learn and to do all the tasks that we may invent or find in our textbooks. Most of us never stop reading, attending courses or doing anything just for the sake of keeping updated and always tuned with kids that are always the same age in a never changing world while each course makes us a year older; and often all this huge amount of time and effort goes with little appreciation or unnoticed on the employers' side. However, years not only make us older, more tired and less confident, they also make us more experienced, more intuitive and faster to acknowledge when something is useful and is worth a try.
Such is the case of the challenges we have been asked to accomplish during this week at 
#EduGoalsMooc by transforming a bookwork activity into a learning mission which students are challenged to fulfill. I decided to share a matching activity of questions and answers which I turned some weeks ago into an outline for a more complex and personal piece of writing. Thus, my 9th grade (3º ESO) students had to write about an ideal holiday with their families, including information about how to get to the city -in the UK or Ireland- of their choice, where to stay, what to do and what to see. I must admit that I was already doing such things: turning boring activities into something else, related with the student world and connected with ICTs. However, there was something important missing in my practice: I see now that some more enthusiasm and encouragement is essential when challenging students. Next, some readings were suggested for us to learn about how to create Learning Missions from common tasks and how to do it well. Finally we were suggested a few ways to hand in the specifications of our missions. I decided to give try to Google Slides, which I had never used before, and produced this presentation  to share with with my peers, who (by the way) gave a really positive feedback. Thanks!!
Secondly, we have dealt with digital badges. I could  have never imagined that I would be creating and issuing my these micro-credentials  for my own students only some 4 months after I got my first digital badge myself. I must admit that they are a powerful tool to motivate students, to promote responsibility on their actions and learning and to give some sort of reward different from the usual grades. Besides, they can be exported, shown and shared in social networks and online profiles, which gives digital badges a versatility absent in other marking scales. We also received a good dose of reading recommendations, some of which I have already commented on Facebook and Twitter. 
We have gone through the process of creating a digital badge, whose design is only a small part that should not  be ignored though. When I have seen the badges created by my course mates from all over there world, I have realized -once again- that I am not really good at art & design. Mine seems too colorful and cheerful, perhaps conveying an unprofessional or not too serious hint. It's obvious I need more practice at openbadges.me.

Fortunately, as I said above, the design of the badge is only a small portion of the process of creating it. Digital Badges are not only images. They include some metadata about the institution issuer, the standards acknowledged and the validity. Here you can read the document where I state all these things about my badge. 
In spite of the appearance and the technical data of badges, their importance does not only lie on their physical existence. We must not forget how powerful they may be when motivating our students, especially if we use them connected to learning missions and challenges. This is something our students can boast they have obtained, they can show them and feel proud of themselves, and besides their achievements  may be recognized by peers. A 10/10 marked with red ink does not cause the same effects, does it?
Last but not least, there is another aspect in this course which -in my opinion- is worth mentioning: its social feature. Apart from a highly active hashtag #EduGoalsMooc on twitter and an even more lively and busy facebook group, participants are required collect and  share their experiences on a learning journal, which may boost and widespread all these ideas among the colleagues who follow us on our social networks. Thanks Fabiana and Shelly for your work, quickly reading all the posts, commenting on them and supporting and encouraging us.
Week 2 is over and I've liked it a lot. I'm looking forward to week 3!!


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