Observations and Questions #8
Traits for Success - Involving Students in Digital Learning
If we can accept the notion that in digital learning the teacher becomes the guide on the side, then we know, intuitively perhaps, that students must play a different, larger, role in their education.
But then again, educators have known this for years. Changing the paradigm is difficult - and almost impossible as the system if education is almost rigged to be self-perpetuating.
The current crisis, and the move to on-line, distance, remote, or digital learning can provide a paradigm push toward change.
Fundamentally, the curriculum creator, the teacher, the expert must learn to push aside expertise and instead focus on what drove him/her to become an expert. It was curiosity in combination with commitment. That committed curiosity is what led teachers to become teachers.
In the digital world, teachers and curriculum planners must ask questions of students that encourage them to engage with each other in the pursuit of knowledge. Some may refer to this as a digital Socratic method - and whatever nomenclature works, works.
Instead of “What were the causes of the Civil War?” teachers need to ask “What were the fears of loss that drove people to fight in the Civil War?”
Instead of “What is the Pythagorean Theorem?” teachers need to ask “How can understanding the Pythagorean Theorem help contractors ensure a foundation is square?”
Or - “What mass transit system would you design for the future?”
Or - “What are the economic impacts of a move to renewable energy?”
This is a paradigm framework that uses the capabilities of the computer to engage students in meaningful, relevant learning.
This can happen on-line.
To make this happen takes time, energy, and creativity - it can never happen as a response to a crisis which seeks to meet the “seat time” demands of the Carnegie Unit.
An essential question to ponder - What technical features promote successful on-line learning?