4MAT learning

4MAT learning was developed by Bernice McCarthy in the 1980s and has never really gone away. There is an interesting  paper by Sandra Craven which she submitted in using class 4MAT research as a part of her Masters of Education degree. She concludes:

“Student communication and presentation skills using the 4MAT System showed marked improvement in that student application of the system included audience participation, involvement, and engagement. Furthermore, improved organizational and research skills produced presentations that not only entertained but informed. Although students did become aware of learning styles, to say that they understood their learning style, or were capable of truly honouring their own after only one experience, would be untrue. Only through repeated exposure brought about by the teacher during lessons will students reach this goal. The collaborative learning experience was much more successful than this educator anticipated. This was evidenced not only by student actions during the project, but carry over has been noted in the classroom generally. Furthermore, because of the intensity of the project, students appear to have bonded and are now treating each other with greater respect.”

Teachers have always striven since then to teach students according to their needs and develop materials which will connect with different sorts of learners. Differentiation became the key word and has stayed. Teachers are more than aware their classes are made up of so many sorts of people with different learning needs. When they then have to address curriculum requirements, standards, professional standards, deadlines, national testing and then the documentation around that and put that all into a digital context it is not surprising it becomes overwhelming at times. Teachers put the content value in but the picture can sometimes become muddied with the content  value out because of the complexity of classrooms these days. It doesn’t matter who is teaching what and at what level, 4MAT is a useful way to address content delivery to maximise the outcomes for learners no matter where they are and what they are using in terms of resources. We are all now engaged in lifelong learning. When you have no idea what you know, what you are supposed to know, what you are doing and what you are supposed to be doing then you need tools to clarify the picture so that you can make it realistic and know what is possible at the time.

The content model and the strategies you employ to deliver content which will make the path clear for learners. You have to develop a way of connecting with  learners at each point of the learning pathway. AbbyEagle explains  well how to use 4MAT learning :

“The ‘why’ learner needs to know why they need to learn the material.

The ‘what’ person wants lots of information and is looking for facts.

The ‘how’ person wants to know how things work?

The ‘what if’ person learns through a process of self discovery.”

Read more: http://www.abbyeagle.com/nlp-coaching-resources/4mat-system.php#ixzz4Zq1qNo7J

By focussing on those four areas and gathering your resources and delivery around them you have a better chance of being less lost in the array of demands from varying sectors of education. The sector requirements can be fitted in on the basis of clarifying what needs to be done, what needs to be developed and the value it will then provide and the learning goals being set.

Little Lucy helps you learn

Lucy is one of the new emotionally intelligent robots developed by Professor Rajiv Khosla at La Trobe University. It is a collaborative effort across nations , in particular with Japan. There’s that word again – collaboration. Nothing of significance is achieved or created these days without collaboration. Lucy was originally designed to help with dementia and aged care patients but has now branched out into helping autistic people in a very significant way. In the SBS article Robots ‘help autistic children learn’ mother and nurse Yvonne Cartwright articulates extremely well what Lucy has done for her two autistic children but she also articulates views which resonate with any teacher. Robots are computers. We may personify them and identify with them as being like people but they are hardware and software. They will repeat things over and over. They will do what they are programmed to do . They are as clever as we can currently make them and will develop as we use them to engage with real people and then have experts like Professor Rajiv Khosla who will patiently, and seemingly happily, use his knowledge and network to improve the capacity of the robot to do and be more. Cognitive computing is making a difference in the lives of real people . It is allowing them to connect with others and it is allowing them to develop their personalities. It is also improving what they know and can do. Robots will repeat and repeat and repeat and not tire of it. In a real classroom they could provide some engaging help in lots of ways and they sound like they can develop linguistic skills so it would be good to have a Lucy in language learning classrooms. Finally, the future is here. Yvonne Cartright sums it up for teaching in the article:

“We don’t celebrate them finishing high school or uni, we celebrate those light bulb moments where you see sheer joy in your children’s face by something they’ve done, and they know they’ve achieved something.”

We don’t finish anything. We are on a learning continuum and as robots become available to us we shall be learning with them and teaching them how to achieve something else.

Technology gives hope

I cannot help but be totally inspired by Nick and Chris Fryer who have had Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy since the age of 8 and were not expected at all to live until the age of 37. Their interest in, and capacity to work with, technology has given them a life full of hope and inspiration. They are world changers and are enabling themselves to have an even bigger impact on the world by their creative use of technology. You can miss the first 3 minutes of this video and see just how much they can do and how inventive they are. Now they have got this far they are taking an interest in other MS affected people and creating a YouTube channel to show them that they , too, can have a positive, productive life. You can read the abc news article Muscular Dystrophy Robot Building Twins to understand better just what they have achieved through technology and how their use of technology is having a profound impact on the world of people who have Duchenne’s MS. Nick and Chris are showing us that we no longer need to be limited in any way. Technology offers a pathway to those who were previously marginalised because we thought we did not have a way of helping them. As it turns out, if you give them the tools they can help themselves and  us , show us the possibilities and create solutions to problems in a way we had never previously imagined.

The flipped classroom

We are going to work on flipping our classrooms as a school this year. We are a busy school with good access to technology and resources. Why wouldn’t you want to make the best of your teaching time and technology? Flipping the classroom is a concept which can make better use of the resources you have, including human resources. It is not just something which you can do. You have to work through the steps. This video alerts you to the things students need to know as your transition to a flipped classroom. It also alerts you, as a teacher, to the things you need to pay attention to. This week’s posts will be dedicated to the flipped classroom because it is new to us and luckily old hands have shared their ideas and resources online so we can benefit and build on them. So where do you start?

1. Work out what students ought to be able to do by themselves and where they would need your help in class.
2. Encourage them to take notes and write their questions and difficulties down.
3. Establish a content library .

The content library is critical. Where will it be? How will students access it? This is discovery learning with technology. The follow up in class needs to then look at how each student can be learning from what you have provided. It is focussing on making the most of you as a teacher to teach all the students in your class so that your class time is interactive and focussed more on explicit learning.

What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd?

Hannah Fry’s video from Head Squeeze is fascinating. It does have implications for schools because we are teaching both geeks and nerds , we are driven by both geeks and nerds and we might be a geek or a nerd as a teacher. The disconnect in an educational context can cause frustrations, communication blockages and a simple case of delivering the wrong content with the wrong tools to the wrong audience and wondering why it didn’t go well. I’m not particularly fond of stereotypes but there are times when using them can help clarify the picture so you can go back to treating others as individuals. What I really liked was the section on the scatter graph where you can see the language differences we make ourselves in social media. Basically, you cannot fake being a nerd and that was a light bulb clarification moment for me and something worth knowing.

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