Tagged “Connecting Digital Learners”
Post written by Matthew J. Weyers
Two years ago, prompted by a blog post that asked, "How many student assignments end up in the recycling bin within minutes of students seeing the grade?," I began thinking about the role of rewards and social interaction in education. The post's question hit close to home, and made me reflect deeply on my current practice. I decided to evaluate my 6th grade language arts and science courses through the lens of two questions: Beyond a letter grade, what motivation do my students have to do well? and, If the primary motivation is extrinsic, how can I make the project more intrinsically motivating? By the end of the school year, I had a three-pronged answer. I had to
- Relinquish a certain level of control and place added responsibility on students.
- Allow students to produce work for an authentic audience (meaning not just for me).
- Give students autonomous opportunities to collaborate on their work.
Here are some of the practices I'm using to hit these three targets.
How do we help each student succeed? One promising way is to personalize learning and put each student at the center of her learning experience. Broader than individualized or differentiated instruction, personalized learning is driven by the learner. Ensuring personalized learning for all students requires a shift in thinking about long-standing education practices, systems and policies, as well as significant changes in the tools and resources. To address students’ abilities, interests, styles, and performance, schools need to rethink curricula, instruction, and technology tools to support giving learners choices and schools flexibility.
It has been described as learning that takes place “anywhere, anytime, and anyplace.” More importantly, personalized learning has the promise to ensure equity, engagement, ownership, and achievement for each child, in each school, and in each community so that she is college, career, and citizenship ready and is prepared for success in our global, knowledge-based society.
ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently, the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers what topics in education will be most worthy of discussion in 2014.
Whenever I think about personalized learning, I drift toward the ways adults learn. We know what we like, how we remember things, the topics that interest us, and the best ways to absorb new information. It's easy for us. I know I'm a kinesthetic learner so I recall things much better if I'm active. For example, I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I'm running, doing yard work, or driving because I remember a lot more when I associate a passage or new bit of information with what I was doing at the time. But students don't have the years (decades) or experience to know what works for them—they're still going through trial and error and as adults, we need to give them every chance they can get to play around with their own learning.
In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life.
New one-page profiles of the 2013 National Blue Ribbon schools highlight each school's mission, demographics, culture, and goals.
The 286 schools—210 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, 53 high schools, and one K–12 school—represent promising ideas in different settings, from rural areas to major cities. Schools were recognized in one of two categories: Exemplary High Performing, based on overall academic excellence, or Exemplary Improving, grounded in improving student achievement. Now in its 31st year, the program celebrates schools that serve as admirable examples of the United States' vision and commitment to education.
Post written by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, a Medill School of Journalism candidate at Northwestern University concentrating in finance reporting and interactive publishing and business reporter for MediaTec Publishing in Chicago, Ill.
Gary Stager has taught in classrooms all around the world, and he said the common thread that binds exceptional learning experiences together is hands-on project-based learning.
In his 2013 ASCD Annual Conference session, "The Best Education Ideas in the World: Adventures on the Frontiers of Learning," Stager showed attendees videos of elementary school students building robots and solving complex engineering problems while appearing to enjoy the process.
The audience members smiled and clapped as they watched a young Australian student use nothing but pipe cleaners, LEGO blocks, and her brain to build a toy ballerina that spun. In his presentation, Stager theorized that this type of project-based learning can propel modern curricula because students use critical thinking in multiple disciplines to create the end result.
For years, school researchers have pointed to the digital divide between students from disparate socioeconomic groups as a major problem in public education. But now a different digital divide is receiving a closer look as research chronicles the widening gulf between the technology skills of teachers and the students who enter classrooms across the United States. While students often tend to be the earliest adopters of new technology, many teachers find that after lesson planning and grading there is little time left to become tech savvy. Unfortunately, many choose not to stay current, and they simply ignore or avoid technology as they continue to teach the same lessons in the same fashion. Therein lies the problem. Nearly 70 years ago, John Dewey claimed, "If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." Dewey's prescient understanding of our emerging divide begs the question, "How can 20th century teachers effectively teach and lead 21st century learners?" While others have suggested a long-term solution that classroom educators must become 21st century teachers, I propose that the first step is in becoming a 21st century learner.