Saturday, December 17, 2011

Foundations and Explorations

A teaching philosophy that guides my work is what I call Foundations and Explorations. I believe that students must gain a solid understanding of a variety of subjects, standards, ideas, concepts, strategies, devices, and techniques before they begin to explore. These purposeful foundations should be given to students with a great deal of support and guidance. Not all students need the same foundations, and not all students need them on the same day.

Once a student has shown that they have a solid understanding, and are ready to take the next steps, they begin the exploration side of learning. The exploration process is also not the same for each student, and not all students are ready to explore at the same time, or in the same way. Foundations allow students to gain skills and confidence. Explorations allow students the freedom to create, present, publish, and teach what they are learning, and show how they are improving, to others. Through technology, students are empowered to explore responsibly, becoming digital citizens, creating their electronic "E-Legacy" as they go.

Teaching in a blended learning environment allows me to interact with students throughout this process, both face to face and online, while also slowing down, speeding up, and making changes based on their individual needs and interests.

If you are interested in learning more about how I incorporate this philosophy into my teaching, and how my colleague David Dillon and I use it to create project-based interdisciplinary History and English (Humanities) curriculum at the Riverside Virtual School, stay tuned. We are very excited to have the opportunity to present our ideas at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference this summer in San Diego, and I will be blogging more about our philosophies and projects as well.