Friday, October 19, 2007

Engaged Learning? Update

Those who follow my blogs know that I usually focus on the positive- engaging technologies, exciting research, interesting websites, and successes of others worth sharing. Today I came across a video that got me thinking about the importance of engaged learning, a topic I've written about in the past.

(Update- I added a second video that compliments the first.)

Much effort is extended in our high schools to prepare students for the "real" learning that will take place in college. With the increased emphasis on testing, it seems like the moment a child enters kindergarten, one of the main goals is to prepare for learning the skills needed in the following grade. Every student must be "ready".

Ready for....this?

In today's digital world, traditional word-based instruction doesn't always result in experiences that engage the hearts and minds of young people.

The video below was created by students involved in the Digital Ethnography group at Kansas State University. At the beginning of the video, the camera slowly peers around an empty university lecture hall, with the the following quote superimposed over the scene:

"Today's child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects, and schedules." -Marshall McLuhan, 1967

Although the quote is now forty years old, the message communicated in this video is clear. Despite technology, things haven't really changed, as traditional methods of teaching tend to disengage rather than engage a good number of students.


After viewing the above video, watch this video, "When I grow up I want to be a teacher", a parody of a commercial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The two videos really got me thinking about technology, engaged learning and the role teachers must take. I think that preparing students for the outside world is the most important part of our jobs as teachers. However, having students fill out bubbles to show they have mastered a skill is not the way to assess learning.

I particularly found it interesting that during the first video a student held up a sign that said “only 18% of my teachers know my name.” I think that providing students with engaged learning activities fosters interest in their own learning, and would cut down on “less productive” activities.

When it comes to the second video I think that it can be easy for new teachers to fall into a slump when they are trying to meet the demands of the district and state. One quote that really stuck out to me was when it said, “cover rather than uncover material.” I never really thought about it in that way and engaged learning cultivates an environment where the teacher and students are learning together.

Overall, the two videos were very interesting and they made me re-evaluate the way I teach and the way I view learning (on many levels).