Who Owns the Learning? Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age Perfect Paperback – May 1 2012
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“There is nothing like a great question to send you on a rich and meaningful quest for learning. A great question forces us to challenge our most taken for granted beliefs and threatens to uproot our most deeply rooted habits. ‘Who owns the learning?’ is one of those great questions. When I first allowed myself to ask the question, and really sit with it for a while, I soon found myself questioning everything in my teaching practice. Fortunately, November offers inspiring stories along with practical advice to help us on the journey forward, while leaving enough space to make each of our journeys our very own.” —Michael Wesch, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas "Fantastic! Captivating from the start, this book will change the way one thinks about the process of learning. The many examples help provide explicit guidance on how to move from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered approach." —Eric Mazur, Area Dean of Applied Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts “When Alan November first shared his concept of the Digital Learning Farm, educators sat up and paid close attention. As usual, he was onto something fresh, thought provoking, and of imminent value. Based on years of experience throughout the world, November describes in detail what the contemporary learner can look like in action, in any school setting. For the forward-thinking teacher, school leader, professional developer, and curriculum writer, Who Owns the Learning? is a must.” —Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Author and Director of the Curriculum 21 Project, Rye, New York
About the Author
Alan November is senior partner and founder of November Learning. Alan’s personable and friendly nature, coupled with astute observations about the economy, education, and technology make him an extremely popular, entertaining, and engaging presenter. For Alan, it’s not the technology itself that it is important; it’s the way we use it. His ideas about global communication, collaboration, assessment, and critical thinking have inspired schools, governments, and corporations around the world to rethink and redefine their approach to education and technology. Alan November’s presentations are thought-provoking, creative, and motivating. He has an uncanny ability to tap into the needs and energy of his audiences. Alan makes people think, question, and laugh. His background as a dorm counselor for at-risk students, classroom teacher, technology coordinator, alternative school director, city planner, new school designer, university lecturer, and years of consulting around the world give him a breadth of understanding and educational experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I would highly recommend this practical guide to all teachers.
November wraps up the book describing a "Digital Learning Farm" that seeks to pull together all four strategies in one, grand, master approach. The final chapter describes another real-life example of two teachers partnering to forge, over a number of years, a new approach to their middle school history courses. This is probably the weakest part of the book. November's description, as a capstone example, is overly sketchy and does not really connect all the dots. I suspect that this is more reflective of the book than the work of the teachers. I found myself wanting more, and not in a good way. That said, November again provides links (via QR codes at urls) that allow the reader to explore these teachers' (and students') actual work in greater detail.
Each of the four strategies is accompanied by information to get a teacher started. For example, the section "The Student as Global Communicator and Collaborator" ends with a few pages on how to get started with Skype. While this might be helpful to some, the book might have been more helpful if it used this space instead to illustrate additional examples for different subjects or grade levels. There are lots of resources out there for getting started with Skype, and perhaps the book could have just steered the reader towards these. The examples seemed to emphasize middle-school-level teaching, and this might not translate for some - that would be a shame, because November's strategies can enrich the learning experience for a wide range of ages/grades.
Criticisms aside, the book is effective in outlining ways that teachers can bring more student ownership and engagement into their classrooms. As one other reviewer commented, the book is ultimately more about how we teach than it is about any specific strategy or project. November outlines practical, approachable ways to shift away from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side" teaching, incorporate technology as an authentic learning tool, and help students take ownership of their own learning.