“Without an authentic audience – whether that be global, local community, family, or even oneself – a learner’s sense of purpose can decrease,” writes Matt Renwick in a final reflection about an afterschool enrichment program exploring passion based learning. “Lacking that ability to connect and grow, our new knowledge is gained within a vacuum, instead of for others to witness.”
When students in Matt Renwick’s afterschool enrichment club shift from a collaborative focus to a competitive drive in Minecraft, it’s time to get out the Lego maker toys and ponder some fresh questions about the relationships among digital games, hands-on projects and curriculum objectives.
The kids in principal Matt Renwick’s afterschool computer club love the time they spend creating (and destroying) things in the virtual world of Minecraft. Can these experiences help students develop a “growth mindset” and essential lifelong skills like effort, persistence, and positive attitude? Renwick is beginning to think so.
After several weeks of trying out a variety of web tools and games, principal Matt Renwick and his teaching partner decide the afterschool enrichment club may need a little more focus. They propose that students learn screencasting by developing short presentations with the general theme “How to Do One Thing Really Well.” Matt highlights three students’ experiences.
Setting boundaries & limiting choices can push students to think more deeply and become more creative, says principal Matt Renwick in his 3rd report on an afterschool enrichment club. Provided, of course, the constraints don’t actually stifle creativity.
When principal Matt Renwick mentioned “Minecraft” in a flyer about an afterschool computer club, 30 percent of his elementary students showed up. In his second reflection on passion-based learning, Matt digs deeper into what educators mean when they talk about passion – and what needs to happen when frustration raises its predictable head.