“Experienced Voices” — webinars and conversations

We are honored that Rhonda Hergott and Fiona Turner, current “experienced voices” in the Inspired Learning community, have brought their unique perspectives and insights on PBL and transformation of learning to both asynchronous discussions and scheduled webinars so we can all learn from each other.

Rhonda will be leading an interactive webinar with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on February 20, at 6:30 PM MST in Blackboard Collaborate sharing on a journey into PBL. You’ll want to register in the Inspired Learning community.

Rhonda will be engaging with participants synchronously much as she has been in asynchronous discussions in the community.

In “Blurred Subject Lines” in the community, Rhonda wrote:

So here is my proposal to my admin for next year. What if we blurred the subject lines? What if I only taught two classes instead of 6? What if I taught those 2 classes science, math and 5 of the language periods? And what if I could get them for 4 periods in a row of uninterrupted learning time each day?

and then she asked:

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your comments both for and against this model.

to which Kirsten replies:

You raise a serious issue – how scheduling and division of subjects drive the learning in many schools. You propose an interesting solution to the dilemma as well. I know there are schools out there that have experimented with a variety of ways to address this. Connect Charter school (formerly Calgary Science School) teaches using a hummanities/sciences division, which at least allows some grouping.

In “Who’s Overwhelmed”, Rhonda challenged:

So I am going to put out a challenge to all of the members who, like I did, participate in this forum by merely observing. And that challenge is: Describe one activity/event/lesson/situation where you feel the students of your classroom were completely engaged.

And Kat replied:

Our school has a resident mathematician (Math Pickle) come into our classes once a week for a 45 minute block to pose new and very challenging questions to students. This week he did a brief history lesson on WWI and their use of codes and ciphers, the P and presented the students with the task of breaking a code. They leapt at the challenge and started working collaboratively instead of competitively to help each other figure out what each letter combination might be. It was really inspiring to watch them move to better groups on their own, discuss and try ideas, and scratch their heads. Before they knew it, they had burned through their math and language arts period and it was lunch time. Definitely a cool classroom moment. 🙂

Fiona has asked community members to think with her on “What might transformation of learning look like?” and has suggested considering both TPACK and SAMR frameworks as well as the Contemporary Learning Schema.with which she is familiar.
In her recent post, she asks:

What do they tell you about transformation of learning? Is it helpful? What is it missing? What could be included? What model can you share that provides some insight into transformation of learning? I’d love for you to share some ideas.

In response, Kirsten added:

Thanks for sharing these models Fionna. I’d like to also share this model, which speaks to the move from teacher centred learning towards student centred learning. (from Barbara Bray)

You’ll want to join Fiona on March 20 in Blackboard Collaborate to engage with her around transformation of learning.

If you haven’t added your voice to those discussions in the community, take some time to do it now.

Important conversations among educators aspiring for improved learning for their students. In the Inspired Learning community, the opportunities to share and learn with educators around the globe can lead to true innovation.

Rhonda Hergott
Before entering the teaching profession, I was a professional dog trainer and then became a software developer. I have been teaching in the Ontario elementary system for 10 years teaching all grades from 4 – 8. For the past 5 years I have focused on grade 7 and 8 science and math. My passion is engaging students in the learning process and creating life long learners. By implementing project based learning into my program, I have successfully created an inclusive, safe environment for students to practice their 21st century learning skills. When not in the classroom or behind a computer you can usually find me in the hockey arena cheering on one of my 3 children or camping and hiking with our golden retriever.

Fiona Turner is currently an Education Officer (eLearning) at the Catholic Education Office in Melbourne. Australia where she is a Project Coordinator for the Integrated Online Catholic Network (ICON) Project for Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.

Fiona also coordinates the Contemporary Learning Research Schools Project supporting 8 schools across Melbourne to explore how new and emerging technologies can enable powerful learning.

Fiona has had 12 years of experience teaching in Primary Schools in Melbourne. During the last 13 years working with teachers in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, she has developed an extensive knowledge of new and emerging digital learning tools, and an understandings of how to harness the potential of new digital technologies for powerful and contemporary learning.

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