In her new book Teaching in High Gear: My Shift Toward a Student-Driven, Inquiry-Based Science Classroom, Marsha Ratzel recounts a transformational journey marked by a gradual shift from teacher-centered to student-driven education and bolstered by a powerful virtual network of colleagues from around the world. Here’s an excerpt!
Most of our current school system revolves around academics, writes high school teacher Shelley Wright, “and yet, I think it falls miserably short of what our kids need. To be honest, I think our academic system of education is highly overrated, at best. At worst, it destroys a number of our kids.”
When students are connected, all learning has the potential for being language intense and leveraged to build literacy skills, writes STEM coach Brian Crosby. Opportunities arise that motivate your students to interact at a high level and require them to be articulate to be understood. Add constructivist learning activities around STEM and Maker projects and watch the literacy skills grow.
Our job as educators is to be thought-provoking instead of thought-providing, says Wisconsin principal Matt Renwick. One-to-one technology is only as good as the meaning students make with it. Our students will make meaning if what we present is meaningful to them. This means taking advantage of strengths that may in the past have been seen as problems. “Talking” and “arguing” are fine examples.
Primary teacher & connected educator Kathy Cassidy summarizes the first year of one-to-one Apple iPads in her classroom of six-year olds. Cassidy offers a crisp summary of each aspect of the experience, with lots of great photos!
Why do we have so many students who are frustrated and bored, just waiting to be challenged? We’ve made education about manipulation and hoops instead of inspiring our students to pursue learning that matters to them — learning that can help them make a difference in our communities and the world. By beginning with the Why questions, says teacher Shelley Wright, we can create powerful student-driven learning environments.