- Work with learners to establish an authentic audience for their learning outcomes
- Empower our learners with an evidence-based belief that their personal voice is valuable and powerful
I have written several posts on this blog over past years about the significance of an 'authentic audience' and this one back in 2008 is still highly relevant.
Sharing, like giving, has benefits in both directions; the person shared with is blessed as is the person doing the sharing.
For both our learners and our teachers the act of sharing is hugely beneficial. It it is affirming to receive feedback and a sense of appreciation, and motivating to raise the bar on ones own performance.
I am sure many adults shudder when memories return of having to handwrite a neat/perfect copy of something so it could be 'displayed on the wall'. Especially for those of us old enough to have experienced the drip of fountain pen ink ruining a laborious copying task.
And who read it? No-one.
Or to have been selected by the teacher to come out the front of the class to read our completed piece to disinterested-at-best classmates.
The digital age, with social media leading the charge, has made sharing the minutiae of our lives with all and sundry the norm. And in the process created a new social disease as well as careers and business opportunities.
In 2005, when social media was becoming main stream, it was a given that education needed to rethink how to move into this world that our children want to inhabit and to harness this new source of energy and engagement for our bottom line - raising student achievement outcomes. Our journey in Manaiakalani has been one of carefully weighing up the pros and cons of developing a learning environment increasingly online. We've been proactively using tools that would 'hook' our learners while constructing systems and processes which are age appropriate, legal and allow us to teach our young people to be Cybersmart from first arriving at school.
To use a transportation metaphor, sharing your learning online follows a similar process to learning to drive a vehicle;
you start as a young child strapped into a car seat in the back simply enjoying the ride, you hear the types of driving talk and explosions the driver makes from time to time, you graduate to sitting in the front seat next to the driver and observe their driving habits, you swap seats at the right age taking the wheel while the adult instructs you, etc etc
We do harness the huge audience potential of the internet to engage and support our learners, but we certainly enjoy more localised audiences such as our own school publications and assemblies; big events such as productions and learning showcases; our Manaiakalani Film Festival; and a live audience of thousands last night at the Movies in the Park event.
I conclude with the tagline chosen by the first KPE Podcasters in 2005, a group of Year 5/6 children who are now all grown up and have left school:
"We want you to hear what we have to say"