Going 121 proposes that student-centered learning (SCL) is a prerequisite for taking a classroom 1:1. Teacher-centered classrooms are part of an outdated model of learning that does not engage higher order thinking or self-agency in students who will need these skills to make good decisions when they use computers now or make their way in the world later.
In a student-centered classroom, the student starts in the front passenger seat, imagining the journey and the destination, until he or she is ready to drive: to take responsibility for learning as well as behavior.
When we give students computers, we give them power to do many more things than pass notes in class. Our lessons need to offer them meaningful, interesting, and "proximal" (to use Vygotsky's term) activities that will keep them from wandering, and allow teachers to be guides rather than policemen.
This is why research shows that 1:1 classrooms only show significant gains in student achievement only when the mode of teaching and learning is student-centered, based on Constructivist learning theory. The challenge is that for traditional teachers, getting student-centered is huge paradigm and behavior shift.
Our SCL Sequence is designed to prepare teachers to make that shift one step at a time, with techniques that are positioned and supported to be successful the first time they are tried. Teachers do not yet use open-ended questions to spark student-centered discussion, or employ cooperative learning strategies like Think-Pair-Share and Jigsaw, can use these techniques almost immediately and see students bring more energy to their learning.
Even teachers who use these techniques may gain by considering them in the new 1:1 context, supported by background knowledge and extension strategies they may not recall from teaching school.
What is the SCL Sequence?
The SCL sequence is, most simply, a series of six eLearning modules and resources to help teachers apply SCL strategies for the first time. The first module is about the connection between learning theory and instructional choices. The following practice modules address four learning strategies in order: open-ended questioning, student-centered discussion, think-pair-share, and jigsaw. The last module prepares teachers for Project-Based-Learning units that combine SCL and 1:1 technology.
These modules can be applied in a self-paced individual path, documented by posting lessons, materials, and reflections on teacher ePortfolios that are part of Going121. Teachers who complete and apply them will be able to integrate the four basic SCL structures effectively into lessons, and support the student self-regulation needed to succeed.
Besides a series of eLearning modules, the SCL Sequence is also one of the tracks in the first semester Going121 course. This 30-hour course adds value by helping faculty teams adopt SCL and 1:1 models together. Through readings, discussions, and job-embedded tasks, it provides the structure for creating the Community of Practice needed to make SCL a part of the culture of the school.
Teachers who take the course together develop shared values about student-centered learning and agree to work together for deeper student motivation, personalization, social learning, construction, and differentiation. They share references from readings, identify local examples from discussions and blog posts, and work with mentors to observe, comment on, and if desired, video-record lessons for feedback and professional portfolios.
A Research-Based Approach
Kember (2009, pp.4-9) articulated five components of a system to help teachers learn SCL. Our SCL Sequence addresses each one.
Getting Good Practice with Learning Activities: We offer two parallel practice tracks: the SCL Sequence (which is about SCL only) and the SAMR Sets (which is about technology integration mostly).
Taking SCL Training Courses with an SCL approach: Kember specified courses where teachers “discuss, then identify solutions to problems in teaching and learning” that are meaningful and timely. Our first course offers a context for discussion, application, and peer review of the two practice tracks above.
Designing Innovative SCL Projects: Our second course is a Project Based Learning Design Studio, an R&D lab for designing, applying, and assessing pilot units that combine both tracks
Evaluation by Students: Our second course ends in a local showcase conference where teachers and students give feedback about their perceptions of and participation in the pilot courses, focusing primarily on the SCL and technology integration aspects.
Program Quality Review: To build an SCL culture, Kember asks teacher teams to make “group- and course-evaluation documents with sections on improvements in classroom management, online course quality, achievement of learning outcomes, content quality, learning activity quality... backed by evidence.” One of Going121’s three main goals is develop teacher Communities of Practice, which are like PLCs but volunteer and less formal, to address these questions in a bottom-up way.
The chart below shows, at a glance, the components of the individual modules and the course.
eLearning Module in 6 Parts: Assumptions, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, Interactive Scaffolded Quiz, Application to Practice.
Course Assignments: Read summary reading. Discuss related to local context: challenges, trade-offs, examples.
SCL Sequence Modules
eLearning in 4 Modules: Presentation, examples, strategies and supports for open-ended questioning, student-centered discussion, think-pair-share and jigsaw.
Applying SCL with Peer and Group Review
Course Assignments: for each module, adapt SCL to an existing lesson, share it with a peer review group for comment, revise it, run it, and post about it for full group comment in the course forum.
Community of Practice: Post local guidance, examples, and resources to a shared knowledge base.
Accountability: After running the lesson, upload the plans and associated materials in an ePortfolio with a reflection blog post, and share for group comments.
PBL Design Studio
Course II: This is the second half of Going121,which uses ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) to develop Project Based Learning Units featuring SCL and Google Apps technology integration.
All teachers -- from the course, doing the modules independently, or working on their own without help -- are invited to a local showcase of projects and student work for peer and student feedback.