Saturday, July 25, 2015

Student Behind the Wheel - Teacher Rides Shotgun

Credit: Brooke Hall

It's time for teachers to ride shotgun!!  -Brooke Hall

In order for us to drive a car and receive our driver's license, we are put in the driver seat.  We might take a class or some lessons from an instructor, but then we are put behind the wheel to prove our learning.

Why do we not look at education in the same way? Why do we think that listening to someone lecture and taking a test to prove that we listened, suffice as learning.  I know when I look back on the things that I learned, I was engaged and in charge of my own learning with a goal in mind.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't test students or set benchmarks. I'm simply saying to allow students to be in charge of their own learning.  Give them a choice to show what they know. We do not have to be the center of teaching at all times.  We can ride shotgun with the students helping guide and facilitate their learning.

"If you don't have a vision, you remain stuck in what you know! And the only thing you know is what you've already seen." - Iyanla Vanzant

Sometimes with Educational Technology we get caught up in the glitter and the Next Big Thing (NBT) that we forget the important pieces.  It's not about the shiny new Macbook or iPad in the students hands or the great new apps downloaded. It's about the NBT which is the right in front of you, the ones filling your classroom chairs ready to dive in and show you what they know. Each year we have the NBT moment with a new set of students in our classroom.  They can take those shiny devices and create something amazing for the world to see.

When we put student's in the drivers seat, amazing things can happen:

I read a recent article where Staple's teamed up with Ron Clark's students and others around the country this past year. The result of this real-world opportunity was a new line of back-to-school products designed by students.  The skills these students had to use in order to design, propose, work with an authentic audience, and pitching the product is as real-world as it gets.  They can take these skills and continue to use and develop these skills as they grow.  This is what it's all about, this is authentic learning!! Assessment/benchmarks become a piece of cake when we turn our classroom into a real-world setting with real-world lessons.  Take a look at your standards and objectives and see what you can turn into a real-world lesson.

Take a look at your standards and objectives and see what you can turn into a real-world lesson. Allow your students to be behind the wheel and you ride shotgun helping them navigate and get to their destination.

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