Category Archives: Professional Journals

Giving Students Ownership of Learning


Credit to Geralt from Pixabay

I always look forward to reading the new issue of Educational Leadership and the theme of this issue is ‘Giving Students Ownership of Learning’. I love that theme! It is full of relevant articles. I shouted out with delight to see Will as one of the authors in this issue. It is so appropriate to see Will’s article “Footprints in the Digital Age” in this outstanding issue. It is online and available for you to read. I’m so glad he ended up in this particular theme as he has been advocating giving students ownership of learning for some time now and continues to fight the battle, day in and day out. Will talks about the importance of self-directed learners being adept at building and sustaining networks. He gives five ideas that will help you begin to build your own personal learning network. He calls and has continued to call for this shift that requires us to foster the development of engaged learners and to rethink the roles of schools and educators. He issues this challenge: “More than ever before, students have the potential to own their own learning- and we have to help them seize that potential. We must help them learn how to identify their passions; build connections to others who share those passions; and communicate, collaorate, and work collectively with these networks. You need to forward it as a ‘must read’ to many others. Good on you, Will! Thanks for all you continue to do to make a difference in the lives of our students!

This issue of ‘Educational Leadership’ has lots more articles that are right on target. Get a copy and read each one!

Reshaping High Schools

The current issue (May 2008) of Educational Leadership is
terrific. The theme is “Reshaping High Schools.”

Bob Wise, former Governor of
West Virginia and the President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, kicks
it off with an article “High schools at the Tipping Point” which zeroes in on
the choice the United States faces:

“Do nothing to fix a broken high school system and watch our
competitiveness further decline, or summon the political will to demand change.”

“Put Understanding First” by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
addresses the high school curriculum and how it should start with the long-term goals of schooling: meaning making and transfer of learning

This publication is packed with many other good articles. Be sure to read it!

Dare to Dream

Yep, I’m still dreaming. Dare to Dream – that’s my motto! I read an article in Classroom Leadership and it ties right in with my post yesterday. The article is Bridging the Gap

by Darrell “Coach D” Andrews. He talks about those “ah-ha” moments when

everything connects and you see true learning taking place. A quote

from his article:

In math, for example, we learn that if A=B and B=C, then

A=C. Tell students they can use this skill to make better life choices:

if Hanging out with the wrong crowd = Missing classes and Missing

classes = Dropping out of school, then Hanging out with the wrong crowd =

Dropping out of school. This kind of critical thinking can help students

assess the effects of their choices.

Now how about using weblogs in those math high school classes and let the students make their own if A=B and B=C, then A=C connections? Wouldn’t that make for some good reading and commenting? I like it!

Then the author gave the following examples to make it work in the classroom:

You can help students make links between learning and life by

doing some of the following:

  • Start a schoolwide dream initiative. This jumpstarts the focus of

    connecting dreams to education and creates a support system for students to

    embrace the concept and make the right choices.

  • Make a dream poster. This provides a visual representation of the

    future students want and the steps they need to take to achieve it.

  • Write a dream speech or newspaper headline. This exercise allows

    students to look into the future and write about what they see themselves

    accomplishing. As a follow-up exercise, they would write the steps they need to

    take to achieve this dream.

  • Fill-in-the-blank survey. You can create a survey that the student

    would complete talking about her future. For example:

    When I become 25, I would like to ___________________ with

    my life. I would like to do this because________________. I need to

    ________________ while I am in school because ________________________.

    It’s important to help students make connections between

    today’s education and tomorrow’s ambition. When they do so, there is a higher

    level of enthusiasm about school and students make choices that will result in

    more promising futures.

This would be great starters for the school-wide weblog seeking out student voices!I sure like the connections Coach D

is making!  I read that he will be presenting “Building Bridges,

Breaking Barriers: Connecting Dreams to Education” at the 2005 ASCD

Annual Conference. Wish I could attend and hear his talk. Let’s get him


Free online journals

There’s an excellent post pointing to Free online journals on Martin Terre Blanche’s Collaborative Learning Environments.

I got lost in the maze as I was wandering through some really good journals. I did come across an article listed under ‘current practice’in E-Journal of Instructional Science & Technology . It was ‘Blogs as Electronic Learning Journals’ by Laurie Armstrong and Dr. Marsha Berry.

This paper discusses the ability of blogs to integrate the personal aspect of a journal to document the student’s learning journey and the resulting effects.


The Wisdom of Blogging

I can’t find this article online but Syllabus has a good article about blogging entitled “Campus Communications & The Wisdom of Blogging”  by Sarah Roberts of Duke University.  Some excerpts:

The number of uses for blogs are limitless.  As a tool for extending learning and encouraging communication and community, blogs are expertly designed to seamlessly integrate the endeavors of many students and faculty.

Consider the undergraduate year-abroad experience.  What if students could have a place to chronicle their experiences in these different cultures and countries?  A homepage for all active blogs by students abroad could be created, featurning the most recent entries and breakdowns by class, year, program or country of study.

In other arenas, blogs could be used to continue particularly lively class discussions cut short by an in-class schedule.  Students could further their arguments with links to other information and evidence to support their positions.

In the pedagogical realm, the uses of blogs are only limited by the imagination.

In the classroom, a professor might document hs or her personal research and allow students to follow their progress via the project’s blog.  Student blogs – the spontaneous transmission of ideas, analysis, knowledge – could be a valuable mechanism for preserivng information for the research community.

The rise of blogging suggests new ways to think about collaboration and communication in the university setting.

New ways to think – it resonates with me.  I was delighted to see an article that included so many possibilities in the university setting.

See the comment below – the article is online now and Stephen Harlow is kind enough to link to it.  Thanks, Stephen!