We envision an education system where learning transcends the traditional school calendar and setting. We envision a system where students progress based upon mastery of a skill or topic, rather than time spent in a classroom.
And hey - students shouldn't be bored in the classroom. Let's reshape our system so that learning is personalized, and students have a true voice in their education. Invest 4 minutes and watch this video about transforming education.↑
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The Connected Classroom: Understanding the Landscape of Technology for Student-Centered Learning
The Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Parthenon-EY
Across the country, educators and leaders have adopted, adapted, created and implemented a broad range of technology supports to help deepen student-centered learning opportunities. To help the Foundation best assist its grantees in effectively leveraging technology supports, it engaged Parthenon-EY to assess the education technology landscape and pinpoint the needs of education practitioners pursuing student-centered learning practices.↑
6 ways to support kids who don't take ownership of their learning
by Angela Watson Angela is a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience. In 2009, she turned her passion for helping other teachers into a career as an educational consultant based in Brooklyn, NY.
You know the exact problem I'm talking about: you're patiently showing a student how to solve a problem or figure out a process, and the student responds by saying, "Can't you just tell me the answer?"
Or you're responding to a student's question with questions of your own to try to prompt him or her to figure out a solution independently, and the child says, "Can't you just tell me what to do?"
When kids are unmotivated, the solution is natural: give them more ownership. In more traditional schools, that might mean homework menus where students have a choice about which type of assignment to complete, or other small ways in which kids get to make decisions about their learning. In more progressive schools, we're seeing an increased focus on project-based learning, Genius Hour, 20% Time, makerspaces, passion projects, and all these wonderful opportunities for students to take charge of their own learning.
These approaches are all designed to make learning more authentic and empower kids to decide what they want to learn about, determine how to learn about it, and choose how they'll demonstrate their learning. Theoretically, it sounds like the solution: if you make the learning meaningful, kids will be naturally engaged and jump at the opportunity to take ownership.↑
When working with my high school students on implementing their own student-led projects, I adapted much of my project-based learning (PBL) curriculum from a guide titled Youth Engaged in Leadership in Learning (YELL), created by Stanford University's John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Families.
Adapted from the YELL Curriculum Guide (I specifically used Unit 3; Unit 1 is on Communication and Unit 2 is on Leadership- both have great ideas), this was my (shortened) version of my 10 lesson plan for scaffolding student-led projects in my classroom.
Getting Started with Student-Led Projects
Assess. Decide how you will access the project and student grade(s) ahead of time and communicate that at the start. I suggest some sort of electronic portfolio (I used Google Docs) where assignments and formative assessments exist at the end of each lesson. At the end, there I had a performance-based assessment with a rubric. There was also a final reflection paper due at the end of the project.
Adapt. Flex this up or down according to grade level and skills.
Relate to Content. This will work in middle and/or high school advisory, social studies, language arts, or other project-based block.
Plan. This can happen in 2 weeks or 6 weeks (or longer). You could also massively extend lessons, especially lessons 6, 7 and 8 and this could become a 6+ week unit. Use your creativity and know what will work best for your students. You are on your way to building successful student-led projects.
Involve. Involve other adults in the building, and let parents know this is happening. Line up adult mentors who could come in to the building and help students on particular projects that line up with their expertise, or use online tools to connect students to mentors/adult experts.
Lesson 1 - The World is Ours. What Do You Care About?
Have students brainstorm ideas, problems and concerns. In my classroom, we did this in groups and the list was LONG. It filled two butcher paper sheets long. Students can brainstorm. There are no wrong answers. Examples include: drug abuse, lack of internet at home, more access to video games (this will get listed as an injustice), too many stray dogs in your neighborhood, alcoholism, homelessness. Debrief.
Lesson 2 - Assets and Deficits: Mapping Your Community