Round Table Reflections

Last week, I had the honour of attending a round table discussion on the topic of 21st Century Teaching and Learning in a Digital World, along with approximately 30 others,  as arranged by the Ministry of Education. I wanted to share a personal reflection on the day.

Setting the stage: After a brief welcome and overview of the day, participants were invited to briefly introduce themselves and share a significant insight or practice they have on the topic of 21st Century Teaching and Learning in a Digital World.

When my turn came, I spoke to the following points regarding insights and/or best practices:

1.    Technology use must be embedded into the learning process and aligned with high yield teaching strategies  (examples: graphic organizers, anchor charts, open ended critical questions, non fiction writing, exemplars)

2.   Link digital citizenship to the character development programs, and distinguish between appropriate use tools and poor choices of behaviour

3.    Embrace the strengths of social media tools  to support student learning where appropriate

4.   The importance of having a student voice in the planning process

5.    Enable and empower learners and the teaching process

6.    Invest in infrastructure, and support use of using personally owned mobile devices

7.    Expectations regarding the effective use of technology needs to be set at the provincial level, reflected in strategic plans. School success plans  should also specify appropriate use of technology to support learning.

Alignment: The next part of the discussion required us to look at how 21st Century Teaching and Learning in a Digital World related to the three key goals: improving student achievement, closing the gap and increasing public confidence of education.

Throughout the discussion, I thought a number of good points were made by the group including:

a) We need progressive and aggressive change at the systemic level to alter the culture and address the gap in effective technology use

b) Building capacity in school administrators

c) Teacher training needs to change, and include the strategy of gradual release of responsibility

d) Model effective use of technology, and make use of mentors

e) Assessment practices are inherently paper based

Recap: At the end of our session, 8 emerging themes were identified as follows:

1. infrastructure

2. access, equity and use of personal devices

3. privacy, rules of use, digital citizenship

4. teacher practice and preparation

5. development of, and use of digital content

6. effective sharing of resources

7. change assessment practices

8. continued focus on the business of learning – continued improvement

Next Steps: The notes of the day will be formally documented, and a plan will be determined to share the findings and announce next steps.  I found this to be a great experience. I would be delighted to have continued involvement in this planning process should the opportunity come about.

~ Mark

5 thoughts on “Round Table Reflections”

  1. Mark, looks like a very valuable day of sharing ideas and best practice involving 21st Century Learning & Teaching in a Digital World.

    All your points are valid and seconded by me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the day.

  2. Thank you Mark for taking the time to write about the discussion at the round table. Looks like the group got to the main themes rather quickly. Was this the group’s first meeting? I can appreciate why you’d wish to work with this group again considering all that was acomplished.

  3. Hi Mark,

    I found your comment that “assessment practices are inherently paper based” interesting.
    Do you mean to say that assessment is tied to the paper format? Or that educators don’t picture assessment occurring w/o paper?
    I’ve been collecting student work via email (students use their waterworks account) and then assessing their work using “track changes” in MSword, then emailing it back to them. This seems to be an effective solution for having to use paper when communicating assessment.
    I’m sure there are certain types of assessment that require a paper copy, but for word-processed work it has proven to be very valuable for me.
    The added bonus is that i can easily catalog student exemplars for the next time i teach the course and post them electronically.

    some thoughts…

    1. Hi Dan. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. My references to assessment in this post captured comments from the group discussion. These were not my personal comments. I think they were getting at 2 points: formal assessment is mainly paper based (EQAO) and that looking across the province, assessment practices were mainly paper based generally speaking.

      You certainly demonstrate some excellent strategies for moving beyond paper. I would venture to say that you are ahead of many teachers in this capacity and that others could learn from your expertise and experiences.

      I hope this helps to clarify the context of my report.

      ~ Mark

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