Training with Dr. Brandi Maynard

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Differentiating for the digital native

Technology is like learning how to drive, we are familiar with transportation from the vantage point of the passenger seat, but getting into the driver’s seat is an entirely different experience.  As an ally of young learners striving to understand technology, I adapt to their needs and build an appropriate architecture through aggregating the necessary resources, and promoting autonomy along the way.

 As an ally, it is my role to build rapport with students and join them in the passenger seat as they begins their learning journey.  Sometimes students knows exactly what they want to accomplish with technology, while other times I support them by asking thoughtful questions and sharing skills needed to reach a goal.  I must adapt to their needs.  Young digital natives see the world through a different lens and I have come to understand that we can both learn from one other.  We share our ideas and often combine them to discover roads we could have never found on our own.  As a mentor, it is my role to aggregate the best print, digital, and human resources to lead young people towards a high level of excellence.  Throughout the journey, I encourage students to one day become autonomous learners.  Once autonomy is achieved, the mentee will be able to complete the circle of mentorship and help another by riding coming alongside them in the passenger seat.  
How are you coming alongside your gifted learners? How are you preparing them for college and beyond?How do we do that anyway?  What is their future going to look like anyway?  Much different than mine, that is one thing I am sure of.  Another thing I am sure of is that their learning experience must be more than a one size fits all approach.  We must differentiate to meet the learner where they are in the learning process. 
The first thing teachers need to do is determine what content the student needs to learn.  There is no need learning something they already know.  What is the point of that?   Read the content objectives within the curriculum, state standards, or what your child has expressed interest in.  
Next, choose the areas your child does not know.  This could happen through formal or informal assessments.  Your role in this process is to knock out the fluff and get to the heart of what needs to be taught.  
Now, you can connect the content to your child's unique learning styles.  How do they learn best?  Do they prefer to act things out or create learning games?  Are they talented at memorizing or would they rather chant the 50 states.  Find out their preferences and help them connect the content to their natural abilities. This will create a learning experience weaving together the content with your child's unique learning profile.
Finally, you want to help them communicate what they have learned.  Encourage the child to share with an audience bigger than family, school, or community.  Encourage them to make a difference in their world.  We want to move our children to producers of new information rather than consumers.  We want them to join the conversation the world is having about ideas that are important to them.  
Here are some of my favorite tools to reach out to a broad audience--with step by step directions on how to use them.

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