To begin with, what is the TEST approach?
Quoting Ira from https://sites.google.com/site/iradavidsocol/home/toolbelt-theory:
“You need to know what you need to do (the specific task: cut 20 sheets of plywood or cut down a Christmas tree, find a book to buy or find a book to borrow). You need to know where you will be doing this (the specific environment: in a forest, in a workshop, in a town with a university library and four bookstores, in a place with neither). You need to know your own capabilities (your skill set: I am strong enough to cut down a tree with a hand saw, I am experienced enough that I can cut a straight line with a hand-held circular saw, I can walk to the bookstore, I know the Dewey Decimal System). And you need to know what is available to you to help you, and how to use those devices (your toolbelt: My neighbor has a chain saw, I can rent a table saw, a bus will get me to the bookstore, if I go online and reserve that library book it will be waiting for me at the counter).”
I also have the good fortune and privilege to be able to work with a wonderful elementary teacher-librarian who approached me, asking if I would help her think about a scope and sequence for teaching technology tools/skills to Kindergarten through Grade 5 students, in a way that would equip them well for middle and secondary school.
This immediately struck me as a great project to work out the realities of implementing/teaching the TEST approach. So I’m hoping to get feedback and ideas, to add to my own!
What do we teach, and why? And what tools could we make available in “Toolbelts” for students, in classrooms? Does that differ from a perspective of identified special needs students?
To be able to apply TEST, I started thinking about what kids need. I came up with this list:
- Self knowledge about how they learn/think, metacognition
- To know/understand their strengths (natural abilities)
- Their competencies at any given time (what skills they have learned and practiced)
- Ability to understand or clarify desired outcomes of a task, what questions to ask (ie if writing isn’t your strength, can I graphically show my learning in science? Or is the teacher also assessing my writing in that assignment?)
- What tools are available and practice using them.
- How to assess and apply an understanding of risk (when is it ok to try something new vs there’s no time or it’s too dangerous and I better do something I already know)
From there, I wanted to think about the learning outcomes/competencies we want to build – and then added in some thoughts about what skills/tools we could teach as part of achieving those outcomes. (note: I’m sure this isn’t a complete list, but it’s a start and hopefully enough to show my thinking)
Skills/knowledge/competencies to teach, understand and practice:
- Ways to learn, research or find information
- Using a library, books, index, table of contents, online library search tools
- Web Resources
- Search engines, search bubbles, parameters
- QR codes
- Ask someone – building a network, how to find people who have done it before
- Ways to communicate something and/or show your learning.
- Audio books
- Digital recorders
- Photo editing
- video editing
- Slide shows
- Whiteboard videos (draw and speak)
- Speech to text
- Word prediction
- Spell check
- Text to speech
- Text messaging
- Direct messages (ie through Facebook, Twitter, etc…)
- Build Something
- Knowing about different materials, hardness, malleability, etc…
- Knowing about glue, nails, screws, and other ways of attaching/affixing something
- Stability, construction and engineering concepts
- Ways to organize/plan/self manage
- Graphic organizers
- Using reminders
- Handling frustration, self soothing
- How to respectfully question or challenge someone or an idea
- When to persist vs when to let go/move on
- Self regulation
- How to ask for/use feedback, self assessment
- Knowledge of and understanding/application of models/attributes of self
- Introvert vs extroverts
- Your creative process
- Brain development and maturation process
- Embracing failure as part of learning/living
- Ways to connect with others, organize, engage
- Social media
- Video conferencing
- Bring in an expert
- Connect classrooms/kid
- Clubs/interest groups
- In community
- On internet
- Government/civic engagement
- Crowdsourcing (when to put out a question/idea and let others add their thoughts, opinions, feedback)
What do you think? What would you add? Or take away?
I suspect our next step will be to select a focus area – something achievable to start with. Then plan out some specific projects, lessons, software/hardware purchases, etc…
Thanks in advance for you help!!