Thursday, May 19, 2016

Part 2: Creating an Educational Ecosystem: Parts of an Ecosystem

Part 2: Creating an Educational Ecosystem: Parts of an Ecosystem

Organisms:  living things.  Of which there are consumers, producers, and decomposers.  Organisms in an ecosystem are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, growth and development.  

Environment: surroundings.  The climate, terrain, order or disorder of the system.

Energy flow and Nutrient cycles: how energy (chemical, potential, and kinetic) as well as chemicals required for growth move throughout an ecosystem.  In a classroom ecosystem, this is the flow of information, learning, and teaching.  It is also the repetitious cycle for how the routines and repetitious nature of learning and information travel.

Interactions: Ecosystems are made of the first two, but an ecosystem is defined by the interactions of the organisms with other organisms and the environment.  Teachers are the ones with control over the ecosystem of the classroom.  Controlling the flow of information, interactions of the organisms with each other and with the environment.

Define your Ecosystem:

I will hopefully challenge you to reflect on your classroom and your practice.  Not to judge, just to ask you to think and ensure that this is the type of learning environment that you want for your students.  Before you read part part 2, consider the following questions: What do the organisms and environment look like in your classroom (include yourself)?  How do the organisms and environment interact to support the flow of information and learning in the classroom?

What are the parts of the ecosystem (organisms and environment) and how do all these parts interact to support learning?

While there are those in every district that work to develop culture, teachers have the responsibility to create the learning spaces inside their classrooms.  The ecosystem is the learning space and we, as educators, should always work to improve this space for the students in the classroom.  By defining, creating, and adjusting the educational ecosystem in our classrooms we are, in essence, driving the helping to drive the culture of our district.  Superintendents create a vision that is simple and clear.  Teachers need to define our response to that vision in a simple and clear learning ecosystem.  Without it, we are not in the conversation and all vision of learning will appear as top-down.

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