When schools moved from in-person to virtual at the drop of a hat in the spring of 2020, many schools and educators panicked. Too many lacked the tech savvy or, frankly, the creativity to find ways to keep rambunctious students engaged through Zoom.
The problem? Teachers were trying to teach as they always did–and even those practices made it challenging to keep kids engaged.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that students want to have a say in what they’re learning and how. Classrooms across the globe are teacher-led, rather than being student-centered. And because of this, students shut down amid COVID-19 and distance learning.
Today on the Education Evolution podcast, I’m talking with Meg Ormiston about what a more student-driven classroom looks like and how any type of school or classroom can use micro-teams to keep engagement up and students learning. Even when nothing else in their lives looks the same right now.
Meg Ormiston, in her role as consultant, partners with school systems that have committed to 21st century learning experiences for everyone. Meg creates a unique partnership in each district, reflecting the mission, vision, and direction that local leaders identify. Her district-wide projects include guiding teams through the visioning process, designing and delivering professional development, facilitating classroom modeling, developing student leaders in technology, and educating parents.
Meg is the lead author in the NOW Classrooms series of five books all published in 2018. The books, written by 27 practicing educators, are organized into grade bands of k-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and leadership guide. The NOW Classrooms: Lessons for Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Technology books are practical and sequence technology skills k-12. The 3-5 NOW book was awarded a Teachers Choice Award by Learning Magazine. Also, Meg was named as one of “2018’s Most Influential People in EdTech” by Tech and Learning Magazine.
After twelve years teaching and coaching in the classroom, Meg volunteers on her local school board, facilitates grant projects, and continues researching and writing about best practices.
To learn more about Meg’s work, follow @megormi on Twitter.
Jump Through the Conversation
[1:45] What is a NOW classroom?
[2:30] Elements of the NOW classroom
[3:52] How micro-teams work
[5:45] The power of having students lead micro-teams
[10:03] How students become leaders with micro-teams
[12:45] How a fifth grade classroom became a service organization and supported a school of 900
[15:54] It IS possible to shift a school for the benefit of students
[20:23] Meg’s magic wand: I wish everyone had kept up and knew all the great educational technology tools before [COVID] happened. You chose to not come to the different sessions and…a lot of teachers were not prepared. So students were not engaged.
[23:22] “The Arrow” continuum from teacher-driven to student-directed learning
[24:48] Top 10 Toolkit of educational technology for teachers
Links and Resources:
- Meg’s NOW Classroom Series: Classroom-tested lessons that connect technology to key learning outcomes and prepare students to succeed in the 21st century.
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- “The Arrow” continuum from teacher-driven to student-directed learning
- Top 10 Toolkit of educational technology for teachers
- Making Hard Choices: Readjusting Your Curriculum for Reopening School
- Email Maureen
- Facebook: Follow Education Evolution
- Twitter: Follow Education Evolution
- LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution
- Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids
Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.
We assume our children will organically learn how to organize their thoughts and belongings, be able to manage their time, and more. Not true. In fact, if you thought about it, you’d realize that you struggle with this too. We must teach these executive functioning...
Neurodivergent students often get pulled out of classrooms and taught separately because they are “different.” Well, we’re all a little bit different. Does that mean we should all be taught in silos? Not a chance. There’s an inclusive program in the Seattle area...
How do we know if our children are digesting what we’re teaching? We give them assessments! And if you’ve ever stepped into a traditional classroom in the U.S., this could mean many things. Often it means large, summative assessments at the end of a unit or school...
Latest Blog Posts
School change is so much harder than I thought! When I did my doctoral research on school innovation and created a hands-on learning school-within-a-school in the 90s, I had no idea that I’d spend the next few decades making tiny changes. Changes that often...
Thanksgiving looks different this year. Traditions are being shattered in 2020 and new realities are emerging. Thanksgiving is no exception. After Canada’s Thanksgiving in October, COVID statistics jumped, reminding us that, sadly, the pandemic isn’t taking a break...
A traditional classroom setting is just that...traditional. Teachers must teach specific subjects for a required amount of time, often using prescribed curriculum materials that may be a decade old. There’s little consideration for the individual learner--their...
Together we explore the role the current education system has had on neurodivergent youth, why pull-out programs might work in some instances (but generally don’t), the problem with special education, and why acting is a valuable tool for students with autism.
There are many ways to assess student learning, aside from the traditional test. And traditional summative assessments only test a student’s ability to memorize information for the short term. What happens when they need to remember information long-term and apply it in different scenarios?
This week on the podcast, I’m talking with Doug Roberts, an educational consultant who works with education entrepreneurs and district superintendents. He’s recognized the importance of connecting leaders across state lines to help bridge the gaps that are all too evident now.