I came into this week with a very unclear understanding of open learning. After researching and discussing on Twitter, I felt like I had a much better idea. However, then the question of application in primary classrooms entered into the equation. After reading and responding to blogs I came to the conclusion that open learning technologies and strategies can be approached like standards: they have to be scaffolded through the grades and introduced in small steps with teacher guidance and support. It may not look completely “open” in the K-2 grades, but we can set our students up to be able to use the technologies and strategies in the upper grades. By using these strategies we will also be able to meet portions of the Alaska State Standards. In kindergarten Alaska State Standard W.K.6, “With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.” and in first grade students are expected to “use” a variety of digital tools to publish writing. K-2 grades are all expected to participate in shared research and writing projects (Writing standard 7) and even though this doesn’t specifically require technology, we could certainly utilize open technologies to help meet it.
Brian and Sarah helped me think of other reasons why open learning is so important–it offers a venue for student to construct knowledge and allows for differentiation with our diverse learners. Gerald discussed some OER resources that he uses in his high school classes, which pushed me to think about how I could apply similar tools in work with students in the youngest grades. Josie brought up a further point that open learning can help students who can’t be in school because of illnesses, etc. Aleta offered a great idea about using video clips for guest speakers and having the students write questions to send back to the speaker. The questions could be sent using open technologies!