This week we were given two recently published articles on K-12 trends, and effective practices in online learning. Blomgren (2017), from Current Trends and Perspectives in the K-12 Canadian Blended and Online Classroom, does a great job summarizing the language, implementations, and structures that exist in the diverse learning that occurs across the provinces of Canada. This was a timely article as I was just working on my literature review regarding digital learning (in its many forms) and the necessity of scaffolding the development of the self-directed learning (SRL) skills that must accompany this type of learning, and was in need of a provincial grounding for my introduction.
Useful summary of provincial initiatives aside, Blomgren also acknowledges some obvious points in stating “(t)echnology is a critical element of distance education” (P.75), and in reference to a study from 2009, that “being young does not necessarily equate to adequate competency in the learning use of digital tools” (P.85). Educators could begin any digital learning discussion with an account of general ICT (Information and Communication Technology) skills – something that the author notes have historically, and drastically been over-estimated to exist among the current student population.
This short blog is more a vent/recognition of Blomgren’s acknowledgement that along with the technology usage, digital learning requires students to “take responsibility for their learning” (P.76). In my experience, responsibility in learning requires (at least) two things: strong SRL skills, especially in the context of the increasingly constructivist environment of digital learning, and the maturity to handle that responsibility.
The focus of my current work is to use research to improve my scaffolding of SRL skills in my classrooms – with a focus on metacognition/reflective practice. The main problem I am running into is not the scaffolding, the context, the opportunities, or the language. The problem is maturity. Many of my grade 9 students both in spite of, or despite, my best efforts to outline good reflective thought (by dissecting both poor and strong exemplars), just don’t have the maturity to look inwards and seriously take stock of their strengths and weaknesses. Or frequently just flat out “forget” to do the activity.
I know that SRL skills have value, and that they are connected to academic performance and live-long learning. I just find myself saying more often then not “It’s not you, they’re just not ready for this.” I know….it’s a cop-out, right?
Image “Vaping Cigarette” from Pixabay: Mohamed Hassan
Blomgren, C. (2017). Current Trends and Perspectives in the K-12 Canadian Blended and Online Classroom. In N. Ostashewski, J. Howell, & M. Cleveland-Innes (Eds.), Optimizing K-12 Education through Online and Blended Learning. Information Science Reference. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0507-5