What does it take to inspire
Every enterprising educator strives to offer their students exceptional educational experiences. Stephannie Dormer, Executive Teacher of Technology at Melrose High School in Canberra, knew exactly where she wanted to be and what she wanted her students to learn. Considering the best way to go about this led her to the work of The Global Digital Citizen Foundation, and the Essential Fluencies.
“Although I already understood the Fluencies, I felt as though I was in the dark with what I was doing,” Stephannie claims. “I think the biggest challenge I faced was the uncertainty of the students and whether they would learn or not, and then the impact this would have on the rest of the course.”
Where do we
begin to transform?
The content being studied was programming control structures. This refers to detailing the direction that a program will take in computing. It determines how a program will respond given specific parameters. “When I implemented Solution Fluency I knew what I wanted the kids to learn as the end product, but I hadn’t planned out each step along the way,” Stephannie recalls. “I had a couple of milestones that I knew we had to cross, but apart from that the process developed one lesson at a time.”
Stephannie encouraged all her students to demonstrate their knowledge in ways that they believed would be most suitable. Providing them with that level of autonomy went a long way toward ensuring her learners not only took control of their projects, but that they also gained a higher awareness and understanding of the content.
“Previously when I taught this topic it was dry, boring, and hard work for both me and my students to get through. While the learning still took the same time, the depth of understanding was considerably deeper.”
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
By the end of the unit Stephannie had received many creative submissions including PowerPoints, essays, and flash animations. “In previous years I had not been able to teach a programming language to the students; we just did drag-and-drop programming,” Stephannie says. “This semester we seemed to progress further with better understanding. The students became a more cohesive group.”
And how did the students do with their projects using Solution Fluency? “The results were outstanding and beyond my wildest expectations. It was an absolute pleasure to mark!”
Using Solution Fluency in Stephannie’s technology classroom has transformed things in positive ways—including Stephannie herself. “As a teacher, some of my previous beliefs have been challenged and are still being challenged,” she says.