The Ray of Learning

From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92833011@N00/1501764098/

As we are getting closer to the end of the school year, I have been thinking a lot about the continuation of our Eportfolio project.  Then I came upon this great video, that shows the power of media and sharing it over time:

It is amazing to think how really easy it is now, if planned for properly, it will be for students to actually be able to see their growth over years within our school.  Taking pictures, videos, sharing writing, and so on, our kids will be able to create this digital scrapbook of their learning over a long time.  Watching “Sophie” in the above video and seeing her grow throughout the years, is pretty powerful.  It will be even more powerful when she is able to see it through her own eyes.

What I have really come to realize over this past year through this project, is that we really need to start honouring in school that learning is more like a “ray” than a “line segment”.  A ray starts at one point (birth) and continues on infinitely.  Line segments however, have a start and end.  Obviously curriculums are built upon this idea, but we need to create more opportunities for students to just continue and build upon their learning from grade to grade.  Of course we believe in the concept of lifelong learning in schools, but how often do we have students in K-12 able to continue on with projects or passions, for years?  Do we create enough opportunities for students where they do not see themselves as working their way through the system?

I have often heard things similar to this in classrooms; “If you think grade 4 is hard, wait until you get to 5!  That is when it really starts picking up.”  Every year our students need to be challenged and kept in flow, not just in the tough grades (which can vary depending on who you ask), or else they will simply check out.  I am really looking forward to seeing the ray continue on next year with our students, and hoping that we can do more to create these infinite opportunities for our students.

3 Comments

  1. Pete Rodrigues said:

    Thanks for sharing this George!

    May 8, 2011
  2. This is really great, George, and I love the video.

    Tony Wagner says all the time that the single most valuable step a school can take in transforming learning is to implement comprehensive K-12 digital portfolios for our students– and I have been talking about it with my folks for two years, but not yet succeeded in launching it.

    Good for you for launching the ePortfolio project. Have you written an update to the October post linked above about how it is going?

    Jonathan

    May 11, 2011
    • The project is absolutely fantastic. We are actually looking at implementing it within our entire school division next year. The important part of this whole thing is that we see the long term vision. As the years progress, students will become more comfortable and proficient at sharing their learning within these portfolios. They will also become more aware of the different literacies that we can share in this work (oral, video, written, etc.). Using a blogging format is something that I think is very conducive to a “long term” vision because all sites will have some type of embed code that students can implement into their blogs. No matter the technology, it will always have this.

      We will really see this success in a few years. If you are interested in implementing this long term, let’s talk sometime.

      May 11, 2011

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