Online and Offline…it’s all the same

A guest post from T.Irene

As we walk around the building we can hear and see evidence that thinking is well on it’s a way to being valued, visible and actively promoted. There are  so many small moves being made in every corner of the Lower School at ISL ( more to follow on this in the next blog post)

CC R. Ritchart 2012

CC R. Ritchart 2012

Thinking about the 8 Cultural Forces that define our Classrooms. We are seeing happenings in all the Cultural Forces of :

  1. Time
  2. Modelling
  3. Language
  4. Environment
  5. Interactions
  6. Routines
  7. Expectations
  8. Opportunities

It is amazing to see how far we have come in such a short space of time. However my mind began thinking about if we can figure out how to have all of this happening in our online learning spaces as well. It is possible to create an online environment that facilitates thoughtful interactions for the whole community as part of our deliberate shift towards a culture of thinking.

In order to make this happen, we need thoughtful bloggers, whose blogs are sharing what is happening in the learning spaces, the process of the learning and the trial and error of teaching and learning, the reflection. We need to make these blogs public and create an expectation of commenting that reflects the same thoughtful purpose.

Online and Offline…it’s all the same

I thought maybe all of these same forces can define our online learning spaces as well. Here is a remix of Ron Ritchart’s 8 Cultural Forces that define our Classrooms.  The 8 Cultural Forces that Define our Online Learning Spaces. 

  • Opportunities: Providing purposeful activities that require students to engage in thinking and the development of understanding as part of their ongoing experience online, through blogs and connecting with others using digital tools
  • Time: Allocating time for thinking and blogging by providing time for exploring topics more in depth, as well as time to formulate thoughtful responses on blogs
  • Modelling: Modelling who we are as thinkers by blogging and commenting on blogs
  • Language: Using language of thinking on our blogs and portfolios
  • Environment: Creating and maintaining an online environment that facilitates thoughtful interactions for the whole community, including …well …everyone.
  • Interactions: Maintain ongoing collaborative inquiry in an online community created for that purpose
  • Routines: Use the same scaffolding techniques and tools online as we use in the classroom (model and scaffold thinking routines as the structure of blogs)
  • Expectations: Value the documentation of thinking and inquiry on blogs and portfolios. Provide the opportunity for the whole community to engage in blogging

The Lower School at ISL are purposefully steering our culture towards more visible, valued and thinking being promoted in our learning spaces.  I think we can do the same as we begin creating our digital learning spaces too.

CC J.Bevans 2016 created with Typorama

CC J.Bevans 2016 created with Typorama

Again there is already much happening:

  1. We have a few teachers embarking on purposeful blogging and micro-blogging with their classes, however, we still need to define what we are actually doing on these blogs. We could be modelling thinking routines, using conditional language, providing time, opportunity and space for all of our community to interact.
  2. We are trialling SeeSaw in many classrooms and SeeSaw makes a very clear distinction between ePortfolios and Blogs in the mechanics of their software, however, we haven’t decided what types of things should be in ePortfolios. We could be using digital learning spaces as the vehicle for our students to independently show their patterns of thinking and thoughtful responses. If we look at both blogging and ePortfolios through the lense of the Project Zero cultural forces, we could clearly design for deep and visible thinking in these (digital) spaces too. A great blog from Langwitches calls this Blogfolios.

Blogfolios are the glue that can hold it all together!

We have nine coetail‘ers here at ISL, so there are a few bloggers and tweeters in our community already. I think it might just be enough to get started connecting this whole community for purposeful thinking beyond the physical walls.

I hope makes my thinking little more visible. I welcome any and all feedback in the comments. This is still a work in progress.


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3 Responses

  1. Suzy Ramsden says:

    Hi Joel,
    I really like the merging of online offline influences of the cultural forces defining our learning spaces. Because of this post I have just about Blogfolios and see this happening on many blogs already at ISL. Blogging gives students voice and purpose in their learning. I have really noticed a difference in their thinking since opening up our class blog to others around the world and joining the QuadBlogging community. Reaching out deepens everyone’s learning and understanding within the ISL community and beyond. Thanks to Tanya and Stephane for always connecting those dots and enabling us to share our purposeful thinking and questions through technology.

    • Joel Bevans says:

      Hi Suzy,
      Thanks for the comment. I think children sharing their thinking and learning in such a way provides an authentic audience for their voice, on a global scale.
      Technology has allowed for these connections which make the world a smaller place and allow for global collaboration through projects, commenting and reflections. Tanya and Stepahne are doing an awesome job as they continue to help “connect the dots”
      Thanks again,

  1. December 7, 2016

    […] mentioned in the previous blog post …. we can hear and see evidence that thinking is well on it’s a way to being valued, […]

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