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What Kind of Teachers will Continue to Flourish in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

A Student is talking with the robot and at the same time entering various steps of the Math task on the robot’s keyboard. The robot is giving supportive feedback to the student all the time.

“Well done Lisa, now let’s try the next task.” The student is practicing rounding with big numbers and the robot is teaching and guiding the student.

Picture: 19 Mayıs 2018, Cumartesi Güncelleme, twitter 

One group of students is connected with students on the other corner of the world. They are telling how they have collected data of the population in near villages and cities. They are discussing what would be the best rounding accuracy for every village and city. They are debating and defending their point of view why they are rounding in different accuracy than students in the other class.

Teacher is looking from the wall monitor one group which is collecting number of cars in the near traffic roundabout. This group is doing a project work of cars and part of project is collecting data and use statistics. The group can ask help virtually from the Road Safety.

It is only couple of years ago when people were talking how artificial Intelligence is going to change the world. The use of artificial intelligence in education has become more common than we thought. We are now daily using applications of AI like:

  • grading students’ written answers
  • Bots that answer students’ questions
  • Virtual personal assistants that tutor students
  • Virtual reality and computer vision for immersive, hands-on learning
  • Simulations and gamification with rich learning analytics

We also have learned that thinking is the most important aspect of the school culture. Teachers have remained as authorities in the classroom on content, analysis and propriety. Teachers have become more vital than ever for steering students to the best, and away from the most spurious sources of information in the digital world. The 21st-century classrooms are marked by not one center of authority—the teacher as all-knowing—but by many more. The students are also authorities on technology, with the teachers as content masters and learned guides.

All this have made us to co-exist and co-create with AI and changed at last totally the Math education to the next level in the school. AI have forced teachers around the world to develop their teaching methods more versatile and students-centered.

Is the text above our future?

Every teacher today is more or less using new technology products with more or less confidence. We need to learn all the time, being life-long learners, and at the same time we think and need to be critical – what is the quality of learning?

At the same time self-driving cars have been tested, and we’ll start to take for granted disease-diagnosing algorithms. It is clear that schools will change as places and how we will teach and learn there.

We need also to be very aware that there is no way to predict exactly what students will need to know. Students are aware that they will need to be flexible, able to work collaboratively, be comfortable with experimentation and be able to embrace and embody what it means to be a lifelong learner.

Hope #AI forces us to change our Maths education

As part of the Top Global Teacher Bloggers / CMRubinWorld.com / Global Search for Education  http://www.cmrubinworld.com/TGTB,  above is my answer to question of May: What kind of teachers will continue to flourish in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

How Are You Promoting Well-being, Health and Happiness in Your Classrooms?

As part of the Top Global Teacher Bloggers / CMRubinWorld.com / Global Search for Education  http://www.cmrubinworld.com/TGTB, this is my answer to this month’s question: How are you promoting well-being, health and happiness in your classroom?

We as educators need to look at the whole education system.  That is the inside of the school and its mechanisms as well as the relationships between the people. We can make small changes with class projects but permanent changes in students’ well-being requires more structural changes. Some think schools are similar around the world, but my experience is that there can be huge differences!

Well-being Through Structures

Well-being, health and happiness can and must be promoted on many levels in the school.

First we should look the school building.  In the early 60s and even later school buildings looked like hospitals. They looked like rectangular prisms with long corridors with similar classroom on both sides. Students moved from one class to another, sometimes without any breaks.

Today we understand better the importance of environments for learning and also how important the breaks between the lessons are. Good school buildings today have modern architecture, with open areas where students can gather together, work in smaller studying places around the building such as the library.  Even in the classrooms one can have different areas for different learning situations.

In Finland our new curriculum added extra hours for sports based on education research. If you move around enough you can also concentrate better and learn more easily. Also the breaks between lessons are important. The younger the pupils the more we have focused on activities outside in the schoolyard.

Well-being Through Services

It is obvious that every child should be provided with free transportation, free lunch and free books during their studying years. In our curriculum you can read about children’s rights to have these services. Students have the right to get personal support e.g. for learning problems.  They can stay in the school nursery during the school day if needed.  In every school we have a special professional group of adults: a psychologist, principal, social worker, class teacher and sometimes the youth police. Their jobs are to do preventive work such as running anti-bullying programs. They deal with issues that class administrators are unable to handle. When issues arise with student the parents and the student take part in the meeting.

Well-being Through Democracy

School is for students and today in Finland students can take part in the decision making process.  When we were developing the new curriculum parents and students were involved in the school planning. Students have their own group “oppilaskunta”, the frat, which shares ideas and carries out activities that create a good community for all. Students in this group get training from the Finnish Red Cross.

Well-being Through Teaching and Learning

Even if all of the above is working well, the student to teacher, teacher to teacher relationships are most important. We are talking about the spirit of the school.  That’s about how students and teachers respect each other, build trust and promote student freedom. The principal of the school has a huge role and every single teacher in their classroom in terms of how they support and develop the atmosphere of the school.

In the beginning of the 7thschool year, I asked students to draw on paper what their feelings and expectations were for the mathematics lessons. I got pictures in which pupils drew themselves sitting alone by the desk, they were all in rows and the teacher was a big figure in front of the blackboard and teaching. There were also pictures, where pupils used dark colors to illustrate “signs of sweating” and anxiety towards mathematics. Those pictures proved to me that I had to make changes in math content, activities and communication and my methods of teaching.

After three years I asked the same students to draw a picture again of a math lesson. In these pictures I could see them working and talking together, smiling and expressing positive comments and including memories from several different learning situations.

Being a math teacher I can talk about the importance of how the subject is taught and how important the teacher’s relationship with is with her students. Every teacher should have some knowledge of attachment theory. It is important to be a caring teacher.  The mathematics teacher plays a key role in the quality of the student’s relationship with mathematics.

I believe that if we pay attention to the importance of our relationships with our students and make Math curriculum more meaningful, we as math teachers could make a huge change in students well-being all over the world.

 

Is Blended Learning Becoming Yet Another Overhyped Myth?

“Blended learning is more than just combining an online component to the traditional classroom. It is a systematic process of selecting the most appropriate media for a specific learning intervention based upon the learning objectives.” (Holden 2011)

It is clear that learning can’t be limited anymore in one place, classroom. Learning happens in different places during different times through individual life. I believe that schools for K-12 will always be one of the best places to learn and students to grow up as good citizens, and even more – global citizens. We say that the army is the last place where men see all kind of people from all levels of society.

For students to understand differences in society it is important to study and be together, to find different solutions together and learn to get along with different people – the best place for all is the School.

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Photo by  Elis Lindfors

What are the best of online learning in Blended Learning? 

  • student can work whenever it suits him/her
  • student have more of an ability to be independent
  • some of the students like to work at their own pace and work ahead if they have time. 
  • it may require more time on the student’s part: completing assignments, and logging in if there are regularly conversations with

My question is: When is blended learning necessary and when is it not? When is it best to use and when is it not?

Are there challenges for teachers when using blended learning?

Like many new things there are good and less good examples. But we have to start somewhere to use and develop new methods!

Some teachers use the term blended learning when they are doing same test or task through online. Some teachers have done a video of their following lesson and let the student just watch it. I saw a math lesson where students were copying exactly what the teacher was doing in the video. In face to face situation we teachers can lead students with good questions to understand the math content and they can build their own understanding of the knowledge.  Now they were repeating all steps after the teacher and there is a big possibility that most of them didn’t understand why.

Students need to do more than passively receive online facts; they need to be actively engaged.

One good example comes from my friend, Jaana Lindfors, a language and literature teacher in Finnish middle school.  She sent a writing assignment, a copy for each of her student.  In the beginning of lesson students open their browser and start writing instantly.  While they are writing Jaana can follow them from learning platform and give them immediate feedback. Students say it is amazing and first even little odd when suddenly they notice from the screen that teacher is following their writing. The teacher can make corrections but Jaana says that she likes to make questions, so that the student can find a better solution to his/her own writing. Students can share their work to some of their schoolmates and have then peer assessment. Jaana tells that during two lessons she can visit quite many student’s browser and give them feedback on their writing. If not she continues to give them personal feedback from her home.

Action is a key to successful online learning. It lets students practice what they’ve learned, and gives them a chance for feedback and a clearer picture of their own knowledge.

I have positive expectations to the possibilities of blended learning. I support holistic approach to 21st Century education. It means we need versatile teaching methods and balanced assessment.

As part of the Top Global Teacher Bloggers / CMRubinWorld.com / Global Search for Education  http://www.cmrubinworld.com/TGTB, this is my answer to this month’s question: So what about the K-12 evolution of blended Learning?