Sunday, February 8, 2009

Face to Face with Clarence

“Once you have the digital tools you are no longer the smartest person in the class”

Clarence Fisher made his point when he talked about his classroom as a network of learning. He describes it as a community of learning and thinking; a place where collaboration is a key ingredient. His students are genuine members of this community: they work together; they help and support each other, they reach goals together. This network is not only happening within his classroom; but beyond, thanks to digital tools. Fisher clarifies our roles as teachers: we help students make connections; we guide them to reach a learning goal.

I enjoyed this conference very much for two particular reasons; Fisher did not only talk about what a teacher could do in a 21st century class – he explained what he and his students are doing. Second, Fisher said it: teachers and students need to have the willingness to fail as we learn. It’s a life lesson; but in this particular case it brings some reassurance to what I want to try out in my own classroom. Pheew!

Nevertheless, as I think back, the conference also leaves me with some questions: How do I keep up with the technological race? TIME: When and how will I learn which tools best apply to a language class? How do these tools help my students speak Spanish?
And one more thing regarding this network of learning, don’t we see this collaboration in our classrooms -despite the digital tools -when students are able to talk about how they learn and what they are learning? Or when students set their own learning goals and collaborate with classmates and teachers to reach them?

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