In ICT this afternoon, my class were focused on exploring the audio editing software audacity, with a view to writing and producing a podcast in the next few weeks.
One thing that struck me this afternoon was how the children were teaching themselves the skills they needed to use audacity effectively. Throughout the session, children were coming to me, reflecting on the skills they were developing and eager to share things they had discovered that I had not shown them at the beginning of the session. The children were achieving outcomes that were not ‘planned’ to be achieved until weeks 3 and 4 of our planning and yet are clearly ready to move on to more complex ICT skill development already.
Now, this is perhaps nothing particularly striking. That my class are ready to move on already is a realisation that, I am sure, many teachers have during many lessons throughout the year and is something that I will focus on adapting through future planning and assessment. However, upon deeper consideration there are a few wider issues that this experience has forced me to contemplate.
In particular, the session made me consider the broader meaning of audacity…
…’the willingness to take bold risks’ (not, ‘rude or disrespectful behaviour’!)
Where children are allowed the opportunity to explore and investigate, to follow their own lines of enquiry and pursue their own interests, learning outcomes can be powerful. You only have to consider Sugata Mitra’s ‘hole in the wall’ project, or to look at Esme Capp’s fully collaborative, ‘negotiated’ curriculum, which I have written about previously. Perhaps, we should take more risks that allow children the freedom to investigate and learn as much as they can. Perhaps, we should look towards a self-governed system of learning, rather than always delivering ‘learning objectives’ within predisposed frameworks, alongside predetermined outcomes and prescribed achievements.
Not only has this experience led me to reconsider how I structure ICT sessions, but also to consider how I can effectivey plan learning opportunities that allow my class to pursure self-directed areas of study so as to engage and empower children to take control of their own learning. Perhaps, more self exploration is needed, rather than directed input.
In saying this, however, I am also aware of the need to direct and model certain aspects of learning in order to secure children’s academic development and progression. For example, children need to understand the basics in terms of Literacy and Numeracy in order to be able to access other areas of learning.
To be honest, I don’t really know the answer (if there even is one? In fact, did I even ask a question?!), but I feel it’s important to have the audacity to attempt to find out in order to improve and progress the learning experiences of the children I teach.