Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Low Tech Learning

At the root of all learning theories, there is inevitably, always, something about how more learning takes place when there is doing. There is no denying that. The more you do, think, and create; the more you learn.

When technology is added to the mix, there seems to be a notion that tech is the answer to all the problems. While getting a device in everyone's hands great, there are also times when teachers and students need to do some lo-tech tasks/projects/etc.

Doing the same thing day in and day out (especially if all the students' teachers are using technology all day long) can lead to students being bored with the work.

There is still a need to accomplish things with your hands.

Just because you have technology, doesn't mean it's the best tool in your toolbox to use. Sometimes, paper and pencil is good. Sometimes, the good old, tried and true, turn-to-your-neighbor still works wonders. Sometimes, just asking questions and having the students answer them is acceptable. Sometimes, not moving around the room and staying at a desk is needed. Sometimes, scissors and glue, is the best thing since sliced bread. Sometimes, creating using your entire hands and not just the pads of your fingers is just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes, students need a break from tech. Sometimes, students still need to experience learning in a hands-on way.

Make sure you get back to your roots occasionally. It helps with understanding where you came from. 

Renaissance Printing Press. It helps to understand the computer today.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Makin' Holes For Others

I'm currently watching the Big Ten Network's "The Journey." They are doing a segment on Shavon Shields of Nebraska. Will Shields, former Hall of Fame NFL offensive lineman, is his father. He had an interesting quote in the article. I am going to paraphrase because I can't remember it exactly. It went something like:
"All I do is make holes for others so they can reach greatness." 
We all know that offensive lineman are the most unselfish athletes, but what a great quote.  As I was watching the show, all I could think about was the connection to education. How appropriate is it to teachers?!

The last project that I did (here)  just finished up today. I haven't done a project like this with these students yet this year. I was inspired after reading #PureGeniusBook by Don Wettrick to do a little more innovation in my room. I have done #GeniusHour before (I called it Passion Projects), but I wanted to try and do a little innovation within my social studies class. I let them really be in charge of their learning. They were responsible for coming up with questions to guide their research. They started with some basic understanding of the Renaissance questions and then found those answers. Then, they needed to come up with an "UnGoogle-Able" question. I determined if it was UnGoogle-Able if you could find the answer in under a couple of minutes.

Some students really struggled with coming up with these questions. I tried to steer them a little with my words and actions. I also gave them some flipbooks that really lay out what type of question they needed. , think Evaluation and Creation levels of Bloom's.

I was pleased with most of their efforts on this. Of course, some students didn't take things as serious as they should and waited around until the last minute, or they didn't put forth as much effort as needed to do well, or they didn't really take my advice when they asked, or they told me they were confused after their presentation was given (even though I checked in with them regularly and gave them suggestions that they didn't really take or listen to), or because they don't usually have to "think" as hard as this, they gave up.

What blew me away were the types of things that the students created because of the freedom available to them to be creative. Yes, of course, not all the students liked having to actually create things, but the ones that "grew" as learners loved it. They had complete autonomy to dive in. Fail. Get back up. Try again.

You have to be willing to fail, in order to be willing to be successful. 

Some of the things that the students used were - here

All of this leads back to the original quote from Will Shields - "All I do is make holes for others so they can reach greatness."

Every facilitator of student learning experiences should have this as their motto. It's about opening up the learning so our students can reach their greatness. It's about designing learning experiences with an element of creation involved and having our students showcase their talents. It's about being prepared with lessons that motivate learners. It's about guiding students to look beyond their potential ceiling and then breaking through.

It's about opening up holes for others to achieve greatness. 

Go out and help others achieve greatness.