Name: Bryan Jackson (http:www.bryanjack.ca)
School: Gleneagle Secondary School – Coquitlam, BC
Current title: Humanities Teacher, gifted & talented program
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is being a connector and facilitator for learners around me: connecting students to the course they feel lies ahead of them as students, citizens, or people, putting teachers in touch with resources, other teachers, students, and perspectives that might help them on their journey.
While technology aids in many of these pursuits, the learning experiences I value the most are face-to-face, preferably in the outdoors and away from the hum of our various connective devices. The most invigorating and inspiring parts of my job are creating music, meaning or memories with people in and around my classrooms, wherever we might find ourselves.
What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?
I think it is important that students – and teachers – understand how to access their own potential, and overcome/surmount/work-around their own areas of challenge to discover their own means of navigating life and learning. The essential skill-set in today and tomorrow’s education revolves around knowing how to learn, rather than mastering any static array of fundamentals. This requires:
- the ability to constantly evaluate and assess one’s past and present,
- recognize the goals of the future, and
- be adept in plotting and realizes courses of action that might realize them.
Identifying problems and working individually, as well in groups, to solve them should be central to this pursuit.
What do you feel your students gain by engaging content through consumption and creation of multiple mediums?
I don’t know if the consumption of multiple information sources is necessarily something that we need to actively ‘promote’ as much as a reality I believe our classrooms need to confront directly. The nature of our information landscape is evolving (and expanding) such that learners without a grasp of how to find, evaluate and synthesize new pieces of information across a variety of sources – primary, digital or otherwise – will be at the mercy of an economy that has shifted under education’s feet.
For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?
Navigate at a pace and in a direction that works for, and inspires, you.
Follow local, and international educators on Twitter, or through subscribing to their blogs via RSS. If / when you feel compelled to join the conversation, start a blog of your own; comment on other people’s work; create relationships, and connections. Who do these people read? Who do they interact with or follow on Twitter? Build a circle of learners who push you, who introduce you to people and ideas, and people whom you can push and work alongside.
If you guide your exploration of technology and 21st century skills by your own inquiry and interests, classroom applications will begin to form alongside your existing pedagogical philosophy and values.
As for teachers and blogs I personally follow, a few are:
Jabiz Raisdana @intrepidteacher – http://www.jabizraisdana.com/blog/
Stephen Hurley @stephen_hurley – http://teachingoutloud.org/
Chris Kennedy @chrkennedy – http://cultureofyes.ca/
Clarence Fisher @glassbead – http://www.evenfromhere.org/
Richard Byrne @rmbyrne – http://www.freetech4teachers.com/