If students had the choice…

It’s the day before Spring Break and so it’s relaxed here in the computer lab today. The student’s spent the first half of the period reading and commenting on student blogs from around the world. The second half I’ve allowed them ‘free time’ to explore and do a little research.

– A student found this video which is now slowly working it’s way around the room. (Could this be used in Science?)

– 3 girls are discussing the layout of their blog

– 1 boy is playing a flash game

– 2 boys are talking, and trying to figure out how to beat a different flash game

– 3 girls and a boy huddled around one computer watching a YouTube video.

– 1 student writing on his blog

– 3 students watching a “How To” soccer video on YouTube

– 1 student reading a discussion board on cheats for a video game.

– 2 students playing with Google Earth

It’s interesting to take a step back and just observer what our students would choose to do if they were just given time. If you reread the above again while thinking of learning, are these students engaged? I would argue most of them are, they are learning on their own. It might not be what we consider worthy of time in school, but at the end of the day they are learning. Reading how to beat a game, having a conversation about a video, or watching and learning how to do the perfect header in soccer. One student is watching a music video and actually sitting in his chair trying to learn the dance steps. There is learning happening, it’s just not learning that we value, that fits nicely into a standard…but it’s there.

[tags]YouTube[/tags]

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2 Comments

  1. As I was reading through the list, I started to think about all the connections they must be making to their own interests and their own learning needs. There’s not one thing on the list that couldn’t be justified as new learning or adding to previous knowledge. They must have a great teacher who has taught them the value of the tools available to them. 🙂 Every once in a while, I wander into our elementary labs when they’re having some free time and think about what I see on the screens. I think the value of what they do with their free time is directly related to the value placed on the tools used for instruction.

  2. When I give my students free time on the computers over 50% of them end up on http://www.maidmarian.com (girls and boys). At first I thought it might be a bad idea for them to be playing these massive online rpg games. Then I listened to some of their conversations: “You join the chat by typing in backslash, join, then the chat room number. We’re all in room number 13. Talk to us on there.” They are sitting next to each other, but instead of talking they are typing their messages to each other while they explore these games. Or, “No go up to the (whichever part of the map he is in). No, its south of where you are at. Look on the map.” Or, “What language are those people typing in?” The only time now that I think it might be a problem is when one of the admins does a walk through.

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