How do we make it compelling?

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Since I have joined the “education blogoshere” (people talking about education online), I have found myself pondering about how we can make what we do for our students more compelling. I have been reading with great interest what the young men and women over at Students 2.0 have been blogging about. All of the current posts that are available are quite credible, and considering that they are all pre-college students, their analysis and writing are very impressive (or just plain impressive no matter what age!) I have been following the discussion (or comments) following a post entitled “The difference between “teaching” and “preaching” and have found that it shadows my own thoughts about educational reform. I know that I have talked alot about technology and changing how we engage our students, and in turn have generated interest and disdain from those who have listened. I do not believe that reforming education should be based on teaching students how to use technology as an end in itself. Technology is changing to fast for that, and besides it seems as though a good share of our students are ahead of us anyway. I think reform needs to change the way that we approach teaching students. We need to allow them to be more self directed within the paremeters we set. Technology is simply a set of tools that students can use to find, process and create new information. With technology students can collaborate and network with their classmates both inside and outside of the classroom. Technology can make the classroom become transparent and allow resources, including people from all levels of expertise and parts of the world, to become available to our students. To make what we do compelling does not require extensive use of Web 2.0 tools but they certainly seem to engage learners today. I have asked my son to create a blog and begin discussing what he is doing in class (we started this just today.) He could not wait for me to read what he had posted. I asked him if he wanted other people to talk about what he had to say. He was amazed that somebody might be interested. He now wants to be an expert on atoms and elements in case anyone wants to comment on his post! Compelling? It was today anyway! I had him read a post over at Students 2.0 entitled Global Villages and told him it was written by a 14 year old student. He was amazed and a little unsettled that someone so close to his age could write so well and seemed to have such an amazing grasp (his words) on the Internet and how it was helping her learn. One thing I have learned is that I do not have all of the answers, but I do know that we need to question how we do things now, if only to confirm that what we do is best for students and also to motivate us to continually search for compelling ways to engage them! WHAT DO YOU THINK?

One thought on “How do we make it compelling?

  1. I read the blog, “The difference between “teaching” and “preaching”, and I think that is what so many of us teachers do. I know I do, and I would love not to “preach”. Unfortunately, we as teachers have gone through 16+ years of education and then teaching on top of that, that I feel we have this system so engrained in us as to how we are supposed to teach. I would be thoroughly enjoy telling my students, “our next lesson is GPS, you tell me what we need to know and why”. Will that work – well it didn’t really because they too have the “system” down and couldn’t think about it without me telling them what I thought they needed to know. I think it will eventually happen, but we have to begin somewhere. I think it does have to start with students wanting us to change, because otherwise, we will stay in our rut.

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