The Connected Learners- A Book by Students for Teachers

We have heard plenty from teachers. We have heard plenty from educational “gurus” and theorists what students should/shouldn’t be learning and how we should/shouldn’t be teaching.

I have written and talked plenty about the need for globally connected educators. I have even written a chapter in Heidi Hayes Jacobs‘ upcoming book about Global Literacies.

It is time to hear from students!

Ann Michaelsen, a High School English teacher from Oslo, Norway did precisely that. She gave her students a voice, the time to research, write and platform to share THEIR perspective. What does it mean to be a connected learner as a student?

Ann shares in the book’s introduction

As a classroom teacher, you cannot create your own educational system. however, you can change what is going on in your classroom. This book will show you how to help your students become connected learners. Our hope is that teachers and students will be able to model a true learner centered environment!

The secret seems to lie in giving students a voice, letting them take ownership and asking them to learn skills that help them perform a “just in time” not a “just in case” authentic task.

The chapter on motivation is especially interesting. Marie and Silje relate their motivation in school to the ever important question: WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THIS?  The two young authors conclude that it is not just about finding ONE answer to that questions. HOW many answers one can come up with is  directly related to the degree of motivation you will experience.

We, as educators (in the classroom, but also as curriculum writers and decision makers) need to truly start making MOTIVATION  part of our priorities. How can we help students come up with more and more answers to this eternal question…beyond “because you might need it in the future”, “because I said so”… or “you want to get a good grade”.

Let’s make learning authentic and real! Let’s make knowing “why they are learning about something” a priority for our students. Let’s help students answer the question “Why do I have to learn this?” in a variety and in many creative ways.

connected-learners

Interested in the book? Take a look at their website and a reflection on the process of the work.

The Powerful Learning Practice Press made the book available as a PDF file.

Written by a team of 27 students at Sandvika High School (Oslo, Norway), Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom is a unique compendium of stories, advice and how-to articles designed to help high school teachers and their students around the globe shift from classrooms that are isolated and teacher-centered to digitally rich environments where learning is student-driven and constantly connected to the global internet.

The 220-page collaborative book takes the reader through all the steps to create a digital classroom, says a spokesman for the team of Grade 9 students, “ranging from setting up Twitter and blog accounts, to finding educators and students online for global learning activities, to how to optimize the use of search engines and teach the key elements of digital literacy.”

The book represents the culmination of a student learning project supported by English teacher and international blogger Ann Michaelsen, recognized by Microsoft Partners in Learning as a “Global Hero in Education” in 2012.

“This book offers a unique insight into what students and teachers need to know in the 21st century classroom,” says Michaelsen. “I’m extremely proud of what my English learners have accomplished and shared in this remarkable example of project learning.”

Entirely written, edited and designed by the students themselves, the 10-chapter interactive digital book is designed to be useful for teachers and students in both high and middle school.

“PLPress is helping with the promotion and distribution of this unique book as a public service,” said Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, CEO of Powerful Learning Practice LLC, “and in recognition of all the educators and students around the world who are leading the shift to connected learning.”

All profits will go into a fund for the Sandvika High students to support physical field trips to schools they collaborate with online.