From my twitter feed, today
KQED MINDSHIFT HOW WE LEARN via Kevin Amboe
Five Changes Every School Should Make
Make all learning real, relevant, tied to communities, with real application in the kids’ lives outside of the classroom. Example: Ban research papers—unless they are published online and have an informative, persuasive, or other real purpose for others. Learning should have an impact beyond getting an “A” on the assignment.
Teach kids to think through, with, about, for–and create–new, interactive digital global communication. I don’t mean this as an add on. I mean rethinking all the subjects we now teach in view of the possibilities (what techies call “affordances”) of the digital age. That means getting rid of the “two cultures” binary. STEM subjects are impoverished without creativity, analysis, critical thinking. The Information Age is about putting back together the knowledge that the Industrial Age subdivided. A simpler way is to say have them all learn Scratch multimedia programming and think about the possibilities.
Things I learned from my methods classes:
1. You need to make learning relevant. You need to tie it to the here and now. We learn best when we need to use knowledge for a greater purpose. It is not good enough to teach skills and content for future use.
For example, if we require students to research a Canadian Explorer, and report back simply to receive a mark, they will. However, if we ask them to join that explorer on his journey, find out where they went, what they did, and blog about their adventures, they live the part. They need to use all the research and tie into their imaginations, They need to create, to become involved. They will take away so much more and enjoy the experience.
2. Children love to share. We all do. The bigger the audience, The more successful they feel. This year my class made videos that we posted on YouTube of their novel studies. They enjoyed the literature circles they participated in as they read their books, but they loved turning them into movies. They asked for one more chance to make a movie before the year ends so we are racing to do just that. This time, the excitement is much higher, the plans are more elaborate, the sets and characters are coming together quickly and after a few days we are almost ready to film. This one is all them. Their project. They are working at night and planning at recess. There have been trips to dollar stores for the extra sparkle and telephone conferences to create scripts. This is a true labor of love.
What I learned from my students:
3. It's not about the mark. It's about growing, sharing and teaching each other. It's about working together and appreciating and enjoying each success. It's about being proud and celebrating. It is about being our best.