Student controlled learning

The little experiment of mine called teentek.com just produced its first video podcast. Now some of you might be wondering why this is so amazing to me. I mean we’re 3 1/2 weeks until school’s out and they just now produced their first video podcast? Because the class sees new students every quarter (8 weeks or 20-40 minute classes if there are no assemblies), it’s hard to get any momentum on projects that take time. I never new 40 minutes was so fast. This quarter 3 students decided they wanted to produce product reviews for students on the web site. Of course the site is completely ran by them, so they can decide to do whatever they want. They did ask me for advice (which was nice) and I pointed them to CNet.com to watch product review videos. From there they controlled the learning. I have not seen, talked to, or interacted with these three boys in 3 weeks. They checked out the video camera themselves, they taught themselves how to run it, they taught themselves how to import it into Windows Movie Maker, how to edit it, how to render it. I uploaded it to our school’s YouTube account (although they could have done this as all three have their own account) So when you watch the video keep this in mind…this is student controlled learning. I hope to sit down with them next week and debrief what they have learned and what they plan to improve for their next video (which was my challenge to them with 3 weeks of school left). I can’t help to think what this would look like in content area classrooms. If students were in control of their own learning. Why is it that in a tech rich class like this 3 students can go off by themselves for weeks and produce a video learning more skills than would ever be assessed on any test in the process. Yet in the classroom we have a hard time motivating students to learn, to be in control of their own learning. They want to ‘sit and get’ because that’s what they know…that’s how they’ve been trained. What is it about technology…about a free flowing class like this that allows students to be in control, produce products that they are proud of, and of this writing have been viewed by 28,915 people since September. When...

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School 2.0: Adaptable vs Knowledgable

I just left this comment on a message board with some pre-service teachers: What is more important to be adaptable or knowledgeable? (think dinosaurs) The word adaptable and adaptability have been floating around in my head for some time now and how they define what we are trying to do in the 21st century and why it is so hard for us to put our finger on what School 2.0 means. I then read this from David Warlick But it’s why I want to think about the term School 2.0 in a different way.  Rather than referring to 2.0 as a version number, we might refer to it as a value of velocity.  School 0 and school 1.0 are schools that are not changing, that are not adapting.  School -1 and School -2 are schools that are going backwards, which, in my opinion, describes U.S. education over the past six years.  School 2.0 is a school that is dynamic, rich with content, equipped with  information tools, and deep with knowledge-building conversations.  School 2.0 adapts! I agree, and it’s becoming more clear to me why School 2.0 is so hard to define. School 2.0 is about adapting to the changing times, about adapting to the skills/knowledge/resources that our students need to be successful once they leave us. The problem is schools want concreteness. We like our mission statements our vision statements we like knowing that there is something we are meant to accomplish. What if School 2.0 was defined by it’s adaptability? School 1.0 was about knowledge and being knowledgeable in your field. You only needed to be adaptable when a company downsized or you were laid off. But in today’s flat world you need to continue to adapt, continue to learn, because if you don’t someone else, be it your neighbor or a person in Asia will. School 2.0 understands that this is just the beginning and there is no end, that everything new leads to something else new. If you think we’ve reaching the end, then I encourage you to watch this video. This brings me back to a post I did just over a year ago when I talked about schools being in a state of perpetual beta Perpetual Schools: A theme for many educators is the idea that schools are ever evolving to meet the real-time demands of students. Rather than release scheduled theory updates. Educators...

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