Phases, Stages, and Labels: Who Am I?

I’m sitting at a district training event, one which I initially missed because I was attending an important family event, and on today’s agenda is “Digital Learning.”

Marzano’s  Stages of Learning a New Strategy was used to take inventory on the audience members’ level of experience and comfort with incorporating digital learning  into their individual classrooms.

  • Cognitive Phrase (I’ve heard of this concept, haven’t explored much about it yet.)
  • Shaping Phase (I’ve done some reading on the concept, explored it in my classroom a little.)
  • Autonomous Phase (I’m well versed in this concept. I use it often. It’s almost second nature to meFullSizeRender (3)

I was asked at what phase am I with “Digital Learning.” My first reaction is, how in the world can I answer this? My actual response is, “All of them, of course.” IMG_5310

Engaging students in academic content within digital environments is a messy endeavor, and each learning experience is different, every time. Whenever I go to a professional development session focused on “digital learning,” I hear a lot of talk about “the stages of ___________.” It is natural for us to label, categorize, and compartmentalize our world because it helps us to better comprehend its complexities, but there are complications in doing so. This is about as simplistic as Prensky’s (2001) dichotomous characterization of learners from “Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants.” (Seriously, I could go on about Prensky…)

If we think of students as being either a “native” or an “immigrant,” or our teachers as being in the thinking phase, the shaping phase, or the autonomous phase, then we are not explicitly making room for dialogue of the various messy gray areas of teaching and learning in a digital environment.

However, it’s a good place to start the conversation. I’m curious about your thoughts on digital learning. What does it mean to you? What is important for us to keep in mind?

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