Who am I?
I am a female. I am a daughter and a sister. I am a ZUMBA Fitness Instructor, a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, and a tennis coach. I am a student. I am a motivator, a goal-setter, an achiever, a good-listener, a compassionate, selfless person and teacher who is responsible weekly for 300 students. Yes, you read that correctly. No, that is not an extra 0. 300 students….in 2 different schools in the district. You do the math.
The perception of me (especially from other educators), however, is that I’m just the “Home Ec” teacher who gets to do the fun stuff. The perception is that I don’t have to write lesson plans or grade anything because my subject is not as important because these kids should be learning this at home anyways. I hate to bust their bubble, but, unless they missed the memo, we are living in a time period of what I would like to call an educational evolution, a revolution if you’d even like to think of it that way.
I look at this educational evolution as more than just Home Economics becoming Family and Consumer Sciences. I look at this educational evolution as a time where people can be even more connected with each other not just at home, but in the classroom. There is so much opportunity for growth for all teachers, no matter what your content area is.
Part of this educational evolution that I talk about is seen through the Web 2.0 tools that are taking over the classroom as we know it. Means (2010) writes, “Most educators will expend the effort needed to integrate technology into instruction, when and only when, they are convinced that there will be significant payoffs in terms of student learning outcomes” (p. 287). Through the use of Web 2.0 tools and various technologies, I am given the opportunity to move from the black and white perception that has been established about Family and Consumer Sciences, and move towards a more vibrant and current time for Family and Consumer Sciences, which is known as post industrial learning.
It is to my understanding that the postindustrial paradigm of instruction is based on principles such as being learner-centered, attainable standards for students, customized instruction, formative and summative assessment, collaboration, team and individual assessments, and the use of various instructional strategies. I use all of those things. Also, I believe that in order to sum up the postindustrial paradigm of instruction, one needs to think of the 21st century skills we are trying to teach our students: global awareness, financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, health literacy, and environmental literacy (ACTE, 2010, p. 14). I am not only teaching the 21st century skills but I know for sure I am teaching with the postindustrial paradigm of instruction at the front of my mind.
One of the core ideas of the postindustrial paradigm of instruction that is crucial for success in my class is collaboration. Reigeluth (n.d.) writes, “collaboration is important in work life, civic life, and family life. Therefore, students need experience in collaborating on small teams. Team-based learning on a task provides an excellent opportunity for students to develop their collaboration skills, but it also provides a valuable opportunity for students to learn from each other” (p. 78). Some instances in my class where collaboration is necessary is when the students are working on Foods labs, housing projects, child development assessments, etcetera. The students are graded on how well they work together in a group and they normally find that if they don’t work well together, their grade is not what they would like it to be. They then use their interpersonal relationship strategies that we have also worked on in order to make their labs, activities, and projects successful.
One of the main ways that I see Web 2.0 benefiting teachers is through the use of wikis, blogs, and other sites that allow collaboration and group work. There are programs and websites that allow for SAFE group collaboration among students in the same class, school, district, and/or state. I have seen programs that have been used in English classes that allow students to write essays or respond to questions posed by the teacher, and then their peers get to make comments, edits, etcetera. The program is similar to a discussion board that you would find in online classes. I find this extremely beneficial because it prepares students for their next level of education, as well as the real world. Web 2.0 allows teachers to make learning more interactive for students and allows the students to take more ownership over their own learning while enjoying learning at the same time.
I strongly believe that Web 2.0 and social learning advances knowledge management. According to Rosenberg (n.d.), knowledge management is “the creation, archiving and sharing of valued information, expertise, and insight within and across communities of people and organizations with similar interests and needs, the goal of which is to build competitive advantage” (p. 159). As I stated above, with the implementation of collaborative work via discussion groups, Web 2.0 is working to advance knowledge management because it is helping with creation and continuation of collaboration in and outside of the classroom.
Here is a video that gives more background about Web 2.0.
The education evolution is alive and depending on the way teachers use the tools mentioned today, depends on if the tools are useful in their classroom. What kinds of Web 2.0 tools or technologies are you using in your classroom to enhance your learning?
Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). (2010). Up to the challenge: The role of Career and Technical Education and 21st century skills in college and career readiness. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/CTE_Oct2010.pdf
Fechter, L. (2012). Lou advocates for web 2.0 tool – Xtranormal in the classroom. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50X5LSbgzc
Means, B. (2010). Technology and education change: Focus on student learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 285-307
Rosenberg, M.J. (n.d.). Knowledge Management and learning: Perfect together. In R.A. Reiser & J.V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (pp. 158-168). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.