What’s going on inside the building of Bishop Carroll is not only exciting, but innovative, educational and engaging. Not only are the halls of Bishop Carroll High School buzzing, but inside the offices of several educators learning is taking place.
Bishop Carroll High School is a part of the Canadian Coalition of Self- Directed Learning.
Bishop Carroll works together with other members of the coalition to improve the self-directed experience of all the learners. These schools meet together on an ongoing basis as well as convene at a yearly conference to look at ways of improving the model for students.
All of us at Bishop Carroll agree that we have never been in a school where so much focus and dialogue on instruction takes place on a regular basis. In fact, our staff has biweekly professional development meetings to ensure that we are able to collaborate on best practices and share new ideas. Teachers are continually focusing on how they can make things better for students in a self-directed learning environment.
Bishop Carroll has been around and functioning for over 40 years. Changing visions and learners have meant that staff has also adjusted to honor the shift. Within the last four years, the staff started making a technological commitment. Innovative practices, sharing, collaboration, encouraging our students to experiment with different formats and technological materials has produced growth for not only students, but also teachers. Students have many choices in how they choose to receive information ranging from personal exploration of a topic, pod casts, discussion forums, Google- docs, multimedia presentations, digital learning guides and a focus on digital citizenship.
Technology has not replaced teachers, but has enhanced the learning experience for both the teacher and the student. Technology can be seen as a launching pad for further and more in depth discussions.
Three of us at Bishop Carroll have signed up for an educational experience like none other. Seeing as we already focus on technology as part of our teacher professional growth plans, we felt that getting involved at an international level would be very beneficial. This is a first MOOC for all three of us. What is a MOOC? It is a Massive Open Online Course. We are taking #ETMOOC and are so happy we are involved in this process as it reminds us of what it is like to be a student in the 21st century. For more information go to www.etmooc.org
How are #etmoocers like students in our self-directed school?
- are self- directed learners.
- set our own learning goals
- at first experience an increase of anxiety in a new learning environment
- are following a personalized program
- are excited about learning in a place that honors the way we want to learn
- are encouraged to be autonomous and have opportunities to direct our own learning
- are taking risks (we ask students to do this every day)
- are critically examining what we do and why we do it
- look to teachers to guide them through the process
- are self- paced, involving continuous progress
- are student centered environments with a focus on active learning, reflection and collaboration
- ask for HELP, and often it’s just a click away
Today we chose to collaborate to write this blog post as part of the sharing experience. As we progress through this open forum we hope to continue to share best practice in both the teaching realm as well as what we are doing in the role as school counsellors.