I’ve still been thinking about the teacher as DJ metaphor, the idea that now that we have access to a much wider array of materials, and that creating content is getting easier, we might think about moving away from that traditional follow the lesson plan mode and instead create playlists of content and assignments that teachers can pick and choose from based on the needs and interests of the students. Inherent in this concept is that whatever mix is selected, the goals and objectives of the unit would be covered. Interesting concept.
How might it work? Well, I’ve been thinking about Martin Luther King Day coming up and how I’m sure many American school kids are “learning” about his life and his effects. (As an aside, can you imagine how much the depth and scope of that learning varies depending on where you are?) What if we were to create an MLK Day “Playlist” for teachers that they could then spin to their own needs?
Well, here’s a start. It includes some of the usual suspects, but also lists Flickr feeds, Wikipedia entries, and projects using Audacity, etc.
Now I’m sure there are many more resources out there that we could draw upon, but it’s the concept that really interests me. As I said yesterday, I’m really sickened by the obvious inflexibility of the curricula that my kids are getting at their school. There is so little in terms of exploration. (Last night Tess said “Nobody actually likes school, daddy. It’s too boring to like.” Oy.) I know for a fact that my six year old will do the exact same projects my eight year old is doing, and the mere thought is driving me nuts. But that’s the way we’ve done it. But now, when we can get to all of this other stuff, why not think more expansively about what we do in the classroom? Why can’t we have different kids consuming different content (stuff that might interest them more than the one size fits all stuff) and producing different outcomes that show they’ve gotten the goals and objectives? Too hard? Too much time? I wonder. If we’re entering an open content world where we share and share alike, and if we’re getting to the point where that sharing is taking some organizational shape (read: tags and metadata), then all we really have to get over is the resistance.
I largely agree with Stephen when he talks about self-directed learning. But I think the role of the teacher is to nurture that by directing appropriate and perhaps individually selected experiences to kids and assess whether or not her students’ have achieved the outcomes. Yes, that seems easier to do when every test is the same. But it’s not what’s best for the kids, I don’t think.
So, what do you think? Anything you want to add to the playlist?
Nothing to add, but thanks for pointing out H2O– it’s a nice approach to mixing content and networking, gotta play there a bit more.
I think a worthy MLK project would be one of those variants that use a blog to write a series of historical events in the order/time frame they occurred, e.g like
Diaries of Franz Kafka:
The Diary of Samuel Pepys:
Someone, some class could easily do this with some segment from King’s life, whether it be the Birmingham Jail time, or the last year of his life, or what lead up to the “I Have a Dream” speech.
IN fact, some intrepid history teacher ought to write a guide for how to set up one of this blog’back history sites.