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It all starts with 8 Big Ideas

July 2, 2011

In a few days, I’ll be teaching my 3rd online course for Ontario teachers who are upgrading their qualifications by taking the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s Integration of Information and Computer Technology Additional Qualification course. The course is the second of a three part continuum that leads to a specialist designation, and is intended to develop integration and leadership in the field of IT integration in the: ¬†classroom, school and school district. What do these teachers need to understand, most importantly, to be able to do, in their classrooms after they’ve finished the course? My hope is that they’ll be doing a lot of “The Big 8 Ideas.”

While sifting through a pile (and I do mean “pile” in the pithy sense of the word) of Tweets and Blog posts this morning, I was lead along a rather convoluted path arriving at Will Richardson’s Blog “Weblogged.” Will may be the foremost speaker, writer, Blogger, and parent driving the discussions about educational reform in 21st century learning. Will’s Blog has a link to a heretofore unknown article (to me that is) called The 8 Big Ideas Behind Constructionist Learning. I have to say that whenever Richardson writes a blog post, there are all sorts of important things that he says, and his post covers a lot more than the link to this idea. I highly recommend adding Weblogged to your Blog reader. That said, have a look at the Blog he mentions, and read the 8 Big Ideas paper which is the summary of research from the Maine Youth Centre. They’ll have you thinking. In them, researchers Drs. Seymour Papert (the father of educational technology) and Gary Stager explored how a constructionist learning model would affect learning outcomes in troubled teens in prison.

In summary, here’s the list of the 8 Big Ideas:

  1. Learn by Doing
  2. Technology is a building material
  3. Hard fun is the best work
  4. Learn to learn
  5. Take time to properly do the job
  6. Do unto our ourselves as we do unto our students- we are all learners on different paths
  7. You can’t get it right without getting it wrong- making mistakes is part of learning
  8. We are in a digital world and we need digital skills to succeed
So, let’s get started!
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