I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning

Solution Tree sent me a book to review, and I was happy to - I've been following Scott McLeod's blog for awhile, and I love Scott's way of thinking and sharing. I quickly followed Julie Graber on Twitter after I read the start of this book.

This book is short, but hard to read all in one sitting. I needed to let the ideas sit. Everything in the book revolves around the "4 Shifts Protocol" found on page 13 and also here on the blog. The 4 shifts are guides to help teachers produce deeper learning - they do NOT focus on the technology used. This was the first thing I loved about this book. They took time to explain the TPACK, SAMR and a couple of other models I'd not heard of, and they also shared a list of many other frameworks they'd researched. They wanted more explicit guidelines about HOW and WHAT to change when we wanted students to use technology more effectively in our curriculum, so they've been working on these 4 Shifts for awhile.

The 4 Shifts Protocol focuses on A) Deeper Thinking and Learning, B) Authentic Work, C) Student Agency and Personalization, and D) Technology Infusion. Educators are encouraged to use ONE domain at a time to improve their lessons.

As I read through the specific lessons, I kept thinking of genius hour... and of what genius hour has done for my thinking (hence the reason for Shift This)... Sure enough, in the last chapter, the authors mentioned PBL. It's true - if you're not ready for full-blown PBL or something like genius hour, these shifts will help you get there some day. If you want to go big, and include a lot of deeper learning (that can very well mean more time), use all four domains of the 4 Shifts Protocol. If you are not ready, simply try just one. Each one will help you see how you can make your lessons more student-centered, more relevant, and more authentic.

After reading the explanation and ideas shared, my favorite part of the book was the last chapter - with tips as to how to better implement the protocol. In Scott McLeod's fashion, he goes back to pedagogy and relevance for teachers. This book will help educators "think more deeply and critically about instructional purpose." It's NOT about technology. It's about how to make lessons... BETTER.

What will I do with what I've learned? Look at one aspect of my lessons - I, personally, am going to look at the standard to which we attach our "article of the week." I could, possibly, totally revamp it, but I'm going to look at one domain at a time... When I do, I'll blog about it and share out with the hashtags #4shifts and #makeitbetter.

Addition 5/2019: Julie is interviewed by Vicki Davis in this podcast.

1 comment:

  1. Joy, we are greatly appreciative of your review of our new book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Please let us know how we can be of support to your work in this area!


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