Turtles without shells – Being vulnerable with educational technology

How do we start unleashing the power of deep learning?

What a wonderful initial provocation for this week’s learning in COETAIL, course four!

Turtles without Shells

My deep dive into the resources this week started off by watching Brené Brown’s, Daring Classrooms (2017):

This analogy that Brené uses, “Turtles without Shells”, relates to the vulnerability we must embrace as learners. When we remove our protective armour, and stimulate an environment which encourages others to do so, it creates an idyllic environment for risk taking and learning.

One way Brené posits we can do this is through empathy and gratitude. Gratitude does change things, particularly when shifting our, innately human, hardwired negativity bias.

This is particularly topical at present for me where my current teaching context for this school year has not been face-to-face. As social learners by nature, home-based learning can wear down even the most positive of spirits. However, whenever I, or my students, find ourselves in a slump over our present context, it’s a good opportunity to be “vulnerable”. We do this by addressing one’s feelings as human, without judgement. In conversation, we think about what is being advocated, then, we look for opportunities to turn that into something we can be grateful for. For example, a response of “When can we learn again in person?”, could be followed up with, “In a breakout room, let’s chat about two to three things we can be thankful about with technology during this time.”

Brené’s video offers some great introspection to be “vulnerable”. The message has great reach and is not just limited to reflection upon our pedagogical practice.

Unleashing deep learning with Educational Technology

Embedded in our anchor text for this course, “A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning” (Fullan & Langworthy, 2014), was this gem of a video. It includes some legends in education like Sugata Mitra, Salman Khan and more. Almost a decade old and yet the message is still so topical to teaching and learning today:

I’m a huge fan of Sugata Mitra – he reminds me a lot of Seymour Papert. In this video, Mitra advocates that schools need to move away from the “3Rs” in education. He even makes the profound argument that learning arithmetic, in general, is antiquated. Sugata suggests that reading comprehension and effective online research skills are the key gateway skills for the future. He also illuminates that children need an “armour against doctrine” of any kind – whether it be political, religious, and etcetera.

This video is definitely thought-provoking. Just imagine how progressive these ideas would have been ten years ago!

Creating collaboratively = Redefinition with Educational Technology

Getting further into the resources, there was a nice marriage between Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model and the readings in Fullan & Langworthy (2014). This connection, I thought, was illustrated beautifully in the latter on page 31:

I really love the simplicity of this graphic. Essentially, this could lead to an excellent guiding precept for all educators when considering the efficacy of their pedagogical practice with the use of educational technology. This precept is, “How can I create more opportunities for my learners to work together to recreate what they’ve learnt creatively, perhaps for a different audience?”. Even more effective when paired with, “Could the tool provide opportunities for this task to be done asynchronously and collaboratively beyond the walls of this school?”.

Fullan & Langworthy (2014; p. 35), also quite succinctly define the role of technology…

Definitely provides a sound argument for a 1:1 device policy in upper primary and beyond.

To close up on this inquiry into unleashing deep learning, I’ll leave you with just one of many small snippets of sage wisdom from one of my all-time favourite inspirational educational thought leaders, Seymour Papert.

One Reply to “Turtles without shells – Being vulnerable with educational technology”

  1. Hi Justin,

    I love how you cohere vulnerability with gratitude, engagement and deep learning. A beautiful integration of the concepts of the week and of the course in general.

    Thank you for sharing!

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