I had the chance to go to an ignite session at ISTE 2017. I originally went to support my friend Kyle Hamstra in his presentation, but I got so much out of these short presentations. The most impactful share was a student. He is a young student who spoke about how he is a connected learning in an unconnected school. He highlighted all the great things he does and the hashtag he uses to promote digital literacy and digital citizenship, #bethatkindofkid. He promotes the idea that students should be able to share their voice, solve problems, and empower eachother.
The part that got me in his presentation was the fact that he did all of this outside of school. He stressed the fact that he was not able to do these things in school because his school did not support this type of learning.
Another student, an 8th grader, talked about how he felt like a failure when he was in the traditional learning environment. It took going to another school with a flexible environment and a maker mindset to start to realize that he wasn’t a failure. He even shared that when tested he had a reading level that surpasses the 8th grade.
These stories demonstrate the need to move away from traditional learning models. Those that require students to sit in rows of desks and complete worksheets or just Google information. Why do they need to memorize dates or facts that can be found on their phones? They need to explore, create, and push the boundaries of what we already know and do.
I don’t understand why we hold students back in these ways. Humans are social beings who learn more through collaboration than they ever do just by passively listening to an expert. We have to be able to create schools that are flexible for students and allow them to explore their interests. Where they can build and learn the skills that will actually get them hired to their dream jobs because most jobs want innovators not repeaters.
Our students want more from us, why can't we give it to them?
If you want to see these student presentations for yourself, they were live streamed to the #passthescopeedu by @braveneutrino (Stacy Lovdahl).