Saturday, December 20, 2008

8th Grader’s Advice for Questions Peers Might Ponder On Their Road to Achieving Success

I was recently asked to come up with recommendations for questions that 8th graders should ask themselves to prepare for success in the area of technology. After reviewing the ISTE Standards and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills materials I developed some questions, but I knew that the best people to come up with 8th grade advice isn't those sitting in a Central Office, but rather the tech-savvy students sitting in 8th grade classrooms. So, I went to Jason Levy the Principal of CIS 339...a school that uses 21st Century tools to bring learning to life in impressive ways. I asked him to please see if he had a teacher who would be interested in doing this type of just-in-time, authentic work with his students. He did and they did not disappoint. I provided the class with my initial thinking and asked Mr. Levy to have his students discuss, refine, and revise my thinking to make it kid-friendly. Under the guidance of their teacher Ms. Jenny Johns, here are the questions these students recommend their peers consider.


Current: Do I know how to tell the difference between a fake or false and legitimate online resource? Do I know how to use these resources in my academic work?
Looking forward: How can I create my own online resources that are legitimate, useful, and meaningful?

Current: Am I involved in online environments, simulations and/or games (i.e. Tabula Digita, Sim City, Rise of Nations, Teen Grid) that will support my creative thinking and my academic growth?
Looking Forward: How/where can I learn to start building and creating my own online games and simulations?

Current: How can I create a community of learners by politely and appropriately commenting on other people's published work online (blogs, videos, podcasts, and more)?
Looking Forward: How can I publish meaningful, creative work online that focuses on areas or subjects that are interesting to me?

Current: Do I know how to talk maturely and professionally when using online tools and learning networks?
Looking Forward: How can I use the online communities to help me learn more and to communicate my learning to my peers and the outside world?

Current: Am I using educational websites and online programs that are appropriate for my age and school?
Looking Forward: How can I begin creating work online that reflects the person I am today and want to be tomorrow?

I was happily pleased and impressed with these questions. The experience made me realize that educational policy and test makers, material producers, curriculum writers, etc. aren't much in the habit of checking the pulse of students and their teachers when doing this type of work and/or making decisions. This is indeed a habit worth changing.

1 comment:

  1. Questioning whether you know how to "talk maturely" in the age of web 2.0 interactivity strikes me as particularly important for teens to ask themselves. Both in content (lol) and form (e.g., $p3lling), as paper recedes, educators will increasingly need to form a nuanced approach to setting rules for appropriate communication. Are lower-cased or all-caps allowed in blog comments? De spelling and punctuation matter? How do accompanying images in your blog posts reflect on your writing?