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Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age

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95 pages, Perfect Paperback

First published May 25, 2012

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Alan November

8 books3 followers

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5 stars
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3 stars
55 (19%)
2 stars
11 (3%)
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3 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews
Profile Image for Angie Hull.
42 reviews9 followers
August 4, 2017
"Who Owns the Learning?" brings ideas of integration of technology into the classroom in a mindful way. The short text shares a number of ideas on how to create global awareness and perspective, creating students to complete their own work and learning, and building a collaborative classroom in a digital world. It shifts the idea of having the "computer be a $1000 pencil" into the power of technology to enhance learning and critical thinking. The ideas are easily applicable and there are models of what has been done in classrooms around the world. This text really made me think of what I can do better this coming year while utilizing the technology in my classroom.
1 review
November 25, 2016

Education use to be taught in one-room schoolhouses where older students were responsible for helping to teach the younger students. At home, these same students were needed to perform jobs and chores at home that were essential to the survival of their families. As family farms became more machine driven and schools moved to graded classrooms, the value of students as contributors to the culture of our schools was lost. Teachers became the central figure in the classroom and students lost the demand for collaboration and contribution. Alan November focuses this book on bringing back the need for students to be an integral part of their learning in what he calls the “Digital Learning Farm.” The teacher now is seen more as a facilitator while the students are now directing their own learning led by their natural curiosity.

Who Owns the Learning? Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age is comprised of an introduction and six chapters well-defined chapters. The introduction is very insightful as to how Alan November came to the idea of the Digital Learning Farm. Chapter one lays out all of the components and roles of teachers and students within the Digital Learning Farm. This chapter also offers up many inspiring real-world examples. Chapters two through five goes more in depth into the roles and responsibilities of the students. Each chapter focuses on a different role. It explains the role, gives real-world examples and also offers ideas of tools to use. Chapter six brings it all together and gives real-world examples of classrooms that have made the Digital Learning Farm work for them and how they were able to do so. Throughout the book, there are QR codes and websites given as resources to help in your own journey of becoming a more student-led classroom.

I first heard of Alan November while watching a TED talk featuring him at a technology conference. I found his parallel between the way things use to be in the classroom and how they could be now extremely interesting. I know that a lot of people would see this as going backward. Looking at how things were done in the classroom hundreds of years ago actually sets the students up to be self-motivated individuals. By becoming more self-motivated in school, students are growing up to become adults that are lifelong learners and are more willing to collaborate.

As I was reading this book I was disappointed to see that there were not specific examples of early elementary classrooms. I am a first-grade teacher and after having read this book I felt motivated to make my classroom more student led and teacher “facilitated.” I feel that I could use some of the ideas and examples that are given in the book but they will need to be changed in major ways to work for six and seven year olds. I would highly recommend this book for all educators, but more specifically to teachers in upper elementary and beyond. After having read this book I have a better understanding of the importance of the students as contributors to the classroom. November writes, “The revolution has begun. All over North America, pioneering teachers have led the way in implementing ideas that leverage the capabilities of their students to take a more active role in the learning process.” That is the kind of “backward” thinking that I can get behind.
Profile Image for Margaret Towery.
12 reviews8 followers
March 25, 2013
This books lays out the ways that technology can help students take charge of their learning. What I liked about this book is that is gave several specific paths to student ownership of their learning. What I fear is that the specific tools and methods outlined may be out of date by the time many teachers get their hands on this book. Less than a year after publication, it seems like one or two major tools are now on the scene that are not mentioned in the book.

November compares today's classrooms to the farmsteads of old, where every child had legitimate contributions to the operation and were thus valued in an authentic way. He calls classrooms a Digital Learning Farm, and sees the following as important roles of learners:
1. Student ad Tutorial Designer (build your own Kahn Academy)
2. Student as Scribe (create a class blog of each day, creating a digital textbook of the course)
3. Student as Researcher (learn about advanced searches and critical analysis of sources)
4. Student as Global Communicator and Collaborator (using Skype and other tools to connect with the world)

These shifts look practical and effective and after reading this book (keep a device handy for QR codes and website references)you will feel confident about giving it a go.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,613 reviews39 followers
July 17, 2013
Wonderfully informative as to what can 'be' in the classroom to motivate students by allowing more freedom in their research, but first teaching the importance of effective research. Alan November calls for increasing empowerment of the students in co-creating curriculum, owning their own learning, and making contributions to online-created sites like class wikis. It's an exciting and inspirational book to help teachers re-look at their teaching, here in the 21st century! A favorite quote: "As long as you're asking what's next, you'll get there."
Profile Image for Kris Patrick.
1,486 reviews69 followers
December 29, 2017
“Too many of our elementary students are still memorizing the fifty state capitals when they could be building interactive digital maps of the history of state capitals.”

Big props for November’s enthusiastic support of school libraries AND school librarians. Loved to that he consulted Joyce Valenza for Chapter 4, The Student as Researcher. He shares specific ideas for teaching research strategies with students - not a plea to just do it. Who Owns the Learning doesn’t, however, address K-2 or AP/IB researchers, but that’s ok. It’s a slim read. I’m intrigued by the idea of having students customize their own search engine to most effectively teach web literacy skills.

He and I are in agreement that wikispaces has to be one of the best free online tools out there creating student legacy - my new favorite phrase.

Goodreads friends: November is a proponent of hiring two school librarians working on flextime in one school so one of them is always available for student questions via texting and email. What do you think? Please comment!
Profile Image for Marybet Hudson.
128 reviews
March 25, 2018
This book has lots of ways to empower students to take more responsibility for their own learning, as well as the learning of those around them. I have found some ideas very easy to implement in my own classroom very quickly. For example, I now have a class scribe every day who is responsible for updating the Google doc about our current read-aloud.

I also learned a lot about what I don't know as far as internet research. I had no idea you could type in a country code to get information just from that country, or how Google uses algorithms to customize your search results -- which doesn't always lead to great results.

I recommend this book to all classroom teachers.
102 reviews
December 10, 2018
This book offers up suggestions for integrating technology into classroom learning...using technology in ways to open the world up to students NOT using technology to replace pen and paper.
Some suggestions are a little dated in that technology has advanced. However, the book still provides inspiration for rethinking how we teach.
Profile Image for Tam Newell.
624 reviews2 followers
January 7, 2018
A quick read about an easy way to integrate technology into classrooms better. The author suggests four roles in the classroom that start to turn the Learning over to the students. This one I will definitely be putting into practice.
Profile Image for Andria.
1,110 reviews
October 21, 2018
It seems so specific, not as many options or voice and choice as we have been learning about through personalized learning.
January 29, 2021
Docente de Tecnologíco
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mika Auramo.
769 reviews29 followers
July 11, 2016
Alan Novemberin teos ”Who owns the learning” käsittelee nimensäkin mukaan oppimisen omistajuutta.

Esimerkit ovat pitkälti peruskoulua ja lukiota vastaavilta luokka-asteilta, joskin muutamia tulee collegesta ja pari työelämästä. Siinä oppimisen omistajuudessa on keskeistä oppilaskeskeisyys ja käsite ”Digital learning farm”, jonka voidaan sanoa tarkoittavan pedagogisesti mielekkäiden digitaalisten materiaalien ja ohjelmien käyttöä.

Kun peruskäsitteet on määritelty, esiin nostetaan tapausesimerkkien avulla neljä aluetta, joilla oppijat voivat osoittaa omaa osaamistaan: oppilaat erilaisten tuutoriaalien tekijöinä, muistiinpanojen tekijöinä (kurssiblogit ja vastaavat), kolmanneksi johdatellaan oppijoita akateemisen tutkimisen perusasioihin, lähdekritiikkiin ja tiedonetsintään ja viimeiseksi puhutaan globaalista taidoista, empatiasta ja etnokeskeisyyden tunnistamisesta.

Novenberin kirja on monien muiden vastaavien tapaan rakennettu siten, että käytetään jotain pioneeriopettajaa ikään kuin tienraivaajana, ja lähdetään syventämään esimerkkien avulla, mistä siinä on kyse ja mitä voidaan saavuttaa. Amerikkalaiseen tapaan nostetaan esille lukuisia oppilaita, jotka tarjoavat kirjoittajalle, miksei lukijallekin, ahaa-elämyksiä, että näinhän tämä homma toimii. Johdannossa onkin siitä hyvä esimerkki, kun Alan oli rehtorina, ja yksi oppilas oli tullut kesälomalla luvatta tietokoneluokkaan ohjelmoimaan. Silloin hän huomasikin, että Pinkin havainnot motivaatiosta pitivätkin paikkansa, eivät ne kouluarvosanat olekaan kaikki kaikessa.

Kirja onnistuu hyvin siinä, että sosiaalisen median vaikutus mielipiteiden muokkauksessa tunnistetaan hyvin, samoin yhden tietyn hakukoneen pyrkimys muokkaamaan samoin hakutuloksia yksittäisen käyttäjäprofiloinnin avulla algoritmeineen. Opettajakeskeisyydestä luopuminen tulee samoin moneen otteeseen esille, ja nykyopettajalla pitäisikin olla pyrkimys antaa oppijoiden itse asettaa kysymykset, joihin etsiä vastauksia.

Digifarmiajattelun lähtökohtana on lisäksi opettajan roolin muuttuminen tiedonjakajasta enemmän mentoriksi, ohjaajaksi ja oppimisen fasilitoijaksi. Näillä farmeilla ei ole tarkoitus opiskella sisällöillä, jotka ovat vain paperin korvikkeita. Sen enempää kirjoittaja ei juurikaan ota kantaa oppimateriaaleihin sen paremmin kuin opetussuunnitelmiinkaan.

Sitten taakkaa vieritetään koulujen rehtoreille ja koulutuksen järjestäjille, sillä ilman kunnon johtamista uudistuvaa oppismiskulttuuria on perin hankala viedä eteenpäin. Tällaisen oppimiskulttuurievoluutiossa tarvitaan suunnannäyttäjiä, muutosjohtajuutta ja innostuneita opettajia, jotka ovat sitoutuneet itsensä kehittämiseen ammatillisesti ja ajantasaistamaan pedagogiset näkemyksensä.

Lopuksi vielä palataan oppilasnäkökulmaan ja yhdessäoppimiseen. Se osallistaa ja saa oppilaat ottamaan paremmin oppimisen kohteet haltuun kuin se vanha malli. Erilaisilla sulatutuvilla menetelmillä oppijat pystyvät toimimaan yhdessä tehokkaammin myös verkkoympäristössä. Luovuus ja innovaatio ovat arvossaan, samoin kodin ja koulun välinen yhteistoiminta.

Kaiken kaikkiaan kirjaa lukiessa tuli olo, että samat asiat olen jo moneen kertaan lukenut monista eri lähteistä. Keskeisintä olivat ehkä tukeutuminen Pinkin ajatuksiin ja internetin käyttäminen hyväksi opinnoissa ja siten tehdä oppiminen näkyväksi. Tavoitteena lienee osoittaa kirjan lukijoille, että arvosanoilla ei tulisi olla merkitystä oppimisprosessissa, vaan sisäinen motivaatio ja oppilaiden omien intohimojen löytäminen saa aikaan mullistavia tuloksia. Lopuksi oppilaat kasvavat globaaleiksi keskustelijoiksi, jotka oikein ”seisovat opettajan hartijoilla”.
85 reviews
September 21, 2016
An easy must-read for every educator! Only issue: as is inevitable with technology books, some of the information is out of date or there are better options now, but that's not November's fault.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,838 reviews27 followers
August 17, 2016
I was required to read this book as part of my summer homework by my school. I am inherently biased against it.

In addition, I don't think I'm the target audience. I think this book seeks to persuade non-tech-using teachers to begin using tech. I'm usually a tech leader in my department so I didn't find a lot in the book to inspire me.

It did, however, remind me of a survey I read about in June from A.C.T. That survey showed that only 18% of college professors believed the freshman class could distinguish between a fact, an opinion, and a stated judgment. The book was light on facts but heavy on opinions and stated judgments. It's election season and I have run out of patience for light-on-fact/heavy-on-judgment arguments.

This I do believe: Many jobs that exist today did not exist 10 years ago. It was, therefore, impossible to prepare students for these jobs since educators had no idea what skills would be needed. I believe we need to prepare students at a more fundamental level because we have no idea what skills they will need to be successful in the workplace in ten years. I believe we need to teach students to be flexible because we have no idea what skills they will need to be successful in the workplace in ten years. I believe we have no idea where tech will lead us, therefore, students need to learn tech at a basic level. Most of all, I believe many of my fellow teachers don't know the difference between facts, opinions, and stated judgments.
Profile Image for Shannon Clark.
565 reviews6 followers
July 19, 2013
This book just confirmed what I had already been contemplating having my students do in science this year. I had wanted to divide them up into research teams to construct their own learning of the standards so I'll definitely be doing that.

Having them create math tutorials is a great idea, even if they only do it in a note form instead of video.

A daily scribe would be great as part of our blogging experience, but not sure if they would need to write about our entire day or limit it to a subject. Will have to think about that some more.

The skyping part of the global connector is an easy one to do. I might need to go ahead and set that up with an author and another classroom.

I really liked all of the ideas and suggestions that were described in this book.
Profile Image for Alison.
797 reviews
August 17, 2013
I have not been so geeked up after reading an educator book in quite a while. I've been a longtime fan of "learning to learn" over "teaching to the test", and this missive is all about student engagement, effective research skills in the digital age, and other issues that resonate with me. Alan November (fab name for a teacher) articulates why it's the way to go for 21st century schools, and has great concrete examples of how to involve students in creating content and becoming responsible for their own learning.

The five starts is for the content, not the writing, which tends to be repetitive. This style is found in many of these types of books for teachers, librarians, and other educator types. I forgive it.
Profile Image for Joy Kirr.
988 reviews128 followers
February 27, 2013
I was thinking this was going to be about how to let students choose what or how they learn. I've heard Alan November in my district, and also in Boston at the BLC conference in 2012, and this book was full of stories that I've already heard.

What this book does have... four key jobs, that if you can implement in your classroom, you'll have a totally global classroom that collaborates together. I see two jobs that I could implement with some ease - scribe and researcher. I could then use the collaborator jobs when/if we Skype or use Google Hangout. (He didn't even mention Google Hangout - is it that new?)
Profile Image for Barb Keister.
288 reviews10 followers
July 17, 2013
I read this book as a participant in the 2013 #cyberPD book club on Twitter. It wasn't in my pile of books to read over the summer, but I'm glad I did. While this book is full of middle school and high school scenarios, I found many elementary applications. Most importantly, I learned how to use the Internet more effectively. This book is all about developing a global classroom - helping kids to use and analyze on-line resources, connect with learners across space and time, and creating an atmosphere for authentic learning. You can read more about this book on Twitter using the #cyberPD hashtag.

Support your local independent bookstore:
Profile Image for Matt Lehotzky.
30 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2013
I had to read thisfor schooland it was an interesting read. As an educator for 12 years I have always been the leader in the classroom. It looks the the tides are changing and the teachers role is to step back and let the students take charge of the classroom. The digital age is also very big and dominating how learning is being taught in the classroom. After reading this book and self reflecting, I realized I could have done thngs a little differently. I am looking forward to be challenged and challenging my students in a different way this up coming school year.
Profile Image for Jennifer Brinkmeyer.
128 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2014
In a nutshell, kids will own the classroom and the learning if it's authentic. He outlines 4 student jobs:
1. Tutorial Designer (great for reteaching)
2. Scribe (would get more students checking the blog and the notes would be more thorough than mine. Also builds in note-taking instruction).
3. Researcher. I do this quite a bit, but I could encourage it more.
4. Global communicator and collaborator. This is about bringing in an international perspective through Skype and pen pals mostly. I haven't done much with this.
Profile Image for Dianna.
274 reviews3 followers
May 2, 2021
This is a great read about how to get students engaged and the pedagogical shift in education. Some very practical and realistic ways to implement various roles for students to let them be in charge of their learning. This is a book that would be useful for educators, administrators, educational researchers and Teacher Librarians. To try to implement all of the ideas at one time would be a bit much but adding one role for students and moving on would be great. I'm ready to jump in and try some of these ideas and implement some of the more advanced information analysis lessons
Profile Image for John F Garrett.
24 reviews
August 10, 2016
If you are a teacher, admin, or parent of a student going into or starting a one to one program I recommend this book. I highly recommend this book for educators even if you are not in a one to one program. It helps you see how you can incorporate 21st century skills in your classroom without a lot of technology. What I enjoyed was that it reaffirms the notion that the teacher doesn't need to be a tech expert to help kids learn to use the technology they simply need to be a content expert and a guide in the journey of education.
Profile Image for Michelle Nero.
754 reviews28 followers
July 19, 2013
A book that opened my eyes to the importance of global learning to help our students learn to collaborate, communicate, and creatve for a purpose and with a larger audience.

Reading this book and sharing my thoughts online (via my blog and #cyberPD), I practiced exactly what November is encouraging of forward-thinking teachers. Now, it's about small steps and incorporating what I can in my resource classroom and sharing my learning with colleagues.
Profile Image for Neena Grosvenor.
56 reviews2 followers
August 22, 2017
A must read for educators

This book is transformative in teaching teachers how to build capacity for student learning. It is a practical guide that requires a shift in pedagogical practice. In the end, if the ideas from this book are put to the test in classrooms I believe you will see engagement and empowerment among student learners reach levels that are unprecedented. I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Suebee.
600 reviews12 followers
February 10, 2014
This books requires a major shift in the culture of education, and calls on principals and superintendents to switch to "The Digital Farm," a school culture where students create, collaborate and connect globally to solve real world community problems or take their own notes and post on the classroom blog. Librarians are more important than ever to teach critical web literacy skills.
Profile Image for Matt.
Author 7 books103 followers
April 12, 2016
A short text filled with a lot of ideas on how to balance accountability with responsibility in 21st century classrooms. The metaphor of learning space as a "farm" makes a lot of sense in designating students for important work in the classrooms. This is a text in which I bought several copies of for my staff to have, read, and ponder.
Profile Image for Mary Kay.
112 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2013
Love the ideas presented here-- but a little dry to read. Everything this man says makes sense, and I absolutely ADORE listening to him in public... yet I still struggled to get through this relatively short, important book.
310 reviews1 follower
August 20, 2013
A quick straight-forward look at way to transform learning in the classroom to meet the realities of our society. My favorite is that it focuses on skills and instruction and not the tools of technology. Technology will always change but the need for critical thinking will not.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
156 reviews9 followers
December 13, 2016
This reminds me of most of the books I read in grad school about teaching-it has some good ideas but is also impractical. I do like the idea of having students create an online textbook for your class (discussed in the last chapter).
Profile Image for Laurie.
312 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2017

I have been looking for techniques for incorporating digital literacy in the classroom, and this book gave me a multitude of ways to do so. All teachers need to read this.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
39 reviews
June 24, 2012
Interesting book. I wish it would have given more suggestions for lower grades. Most of the examples were middle and high school.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews

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