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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Was it the students who learned from this or me?

The other day we were working on our Passion Projects in #digcit and two of the students were talking about whether we have learned anything in our class this year.  The conversation went something like this:

Student 1: "She hasn't taught us anything in this class"
Student 2: "Really?  I feel like I've learned more in the this class than any other class in high school.  I feel like I can actually use this stuff in my actual life."
Student 1: "Yeah, but she isn't up in front teaching us every day"
Student 2: "That's exactly why I think this class has been so great for me.  Not only does she mix traditional teaching, but she also lets us explore and learn on our own.  You know she isn't going to be around your entire life to show you how to do everything, right?"
Student 1: "yeah, but"

I had planned to do the following exercise anyway, but thought I would seize the moment and ask the students to help me with the task now.

I asked the students if we could put a list together of all the skills we have acquired this semester.  I literally had no idea what was about to unfold.  I was thinking 5 minutes and we will have our list.  What ensured was 34 minutes of conversation that resulted in a list of 72 NEW skills we learned this semester.  I was even impressed with the end list!

As the students signed out of their Chromebooks and the two students who were talking previously continued talking, this is what I overheard:

Student 1: "Yikes! Did you realize we learned that much this semester?"
Student 2: "Actually, I felt like I had what Murat calls a learning concussion almost every day in here"
Student 1: "I guess I've never been in a class that was so individualized and relevant."

The bell rings and they walk out of the room.

At first, I was very excited about the last part of the conversation.  Then, I had an overwhelming sense of sadness that students today are not having that same feeling in all of their classes.  I model my love of learning every day for the students, whether it be participating in Twitter chats (they claim I "blow up their feed with my learning"), sharing books I've read or resources I've found and they know I get so energized when I learn.  I am disheartened that they do not have that same joy of learning in school.

When do they lose their joy of learning?  When do they become so complacent about their knowledge acquisition that they couldn't care less?

As I walked to my next class and dreaded the fact that I had to work on test prep for the quarterly assessments, I realized that when we started testing the heck out of them, it fundamentally assassinated their love of learning.

But that's a conversation for another blog, another day.

BTW... here is a sampling of the skills they learned.  I put a sampling of them into a Google Form as an exit survey assessment of how they felt about all of those skills.  We are, after all, data based.

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