Guest Post: Susan Lester Reflects on Media 21

Susan Lester is my co-teacher in Media 21 and partner in the trenches!  In this post, she adds some additional reflections to the initial Media 21 Report posted earlier this week on this blog:

Buffy noted in the first round of conclusions that a small group of  students were overwhelmed by the learning environment we provided that gave students both more freedom and responsibility.  As a classroom teacher, I think it is important to note that ingrained poor work habits of these students were actually what prevented some of them from maximizing their use of cloud computing and web 2.0 tools. Furthermore, even though some students were more engaged in learning than ever before, they still could not handle the responsibility of managing their learning even with these tools because of their inability to finish projects they started.   The point is that even though engagement may increase with this model of learning,  it is not an  overnight “no cure” for a lifetime of deficient work habits for some students.

A major cornerstone of Media 21 is the collaboration between the school library media specialist and the classroom teacher.  The collaboration between media specialist and classroom teacher only works when the two share a commitment to similar teaching strategies. Our collaboration succeeded because we share a commitment to collaborative , inquiry-based teaching and learning that is supported by cloud computing and web 2.0 tools. During our collaboration, our sophomore students made progress as independent learners and critical thinkers; this progress has been very gratifying to see. It has been quite a stretch for them to move from “learned helplessness” where they are totally dependent on their teachers to “resourceful thinker” where they can access information and accept responsibility for their own learning. I look forward to another collaboration with Buffy next year with seniors.

As Susan has pointed out, one of our challenges for next year is to explore alternate strategies that might help those students who have difficulty following through with projects and managing their learning environment.    I have some ideas in mind that I will share with you next week here on the blog as well as some other directions and ideas I’m getting ready to kick around with my collaborating teachers for 2010-11!    For now, I have pressing and important  library administration and management tasks that must be completed before the school year ends; once I can finish devoting time to those, I can get back into teaching, collaborating, musing, and planning mode!

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2 comments

  1. Hey Buffy,
    I like the idea of students being more self-reliant when it comes to their learning. I work with emotionally disturbed students and students with Asperger’s Autism at Centennial High School. They all have average to superior intelligence. About half of our students can think and work independently. Some our students can’t seem to get enough self-confidence to venture out on their own. They want their “hands held” by a staff member or a peer if something more than a worksheet is given to them. Several of our students “freeze up” and refuse to try. Have you ever encountered this when working with students at Creekview? If so, how do you handle it? We work in a very small setting (usually no more than 4 students in the classroom at a time) and we have at least 3 computers in each room as a resource for our students. Some students learn better by doing their own research on a specific subject and making powerpoints or other methods of reporting about what they have learned. They even present their reports to the class and make test questions from what they have learned, but we have some students that refuses to do any research at all, even when we are sitting there trying to guide them. Those are the kids that are hard to teach anything with any method we’ve tried. We are open to anything that you’ve learned could work. I don’t quite know what it is that you’ve been doing at Creekview, but it sounds very interesting. Good job, Buffy. I’m very proud of you.

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