A New Type of Learning

Posted on October 4, 2012 by

5


In the first week of US History class we were assigned a reading about the importance of partnering by Marc Prensky. Having taken a class similarly focused on collaboration last year, I though I knew exactly where this article was headed: it was the classic “back to school” reading, trying to to set the tone for the year. Since I had received one of these types of reading in virtually every other class, I was not ecstatic to begin reading. After I finished though, I realized I was half right. It certainly set the tone for the year so far, but it wasn’t something I had seen from any other class.

Now this article didn’t completely change the way I look at school and learning, or anything that drastic, but it did bring up some really thought provoking points. Along with ideas about the advantages of working with others instead of textbooks, using technology to personalize the learning process, and the using technology as a way to partner not only students to other students, but also teachers to their students. I though all of these point were interesting takes on the modern technological era and how that plays into the learning process, but there was one point in particular that I especially enjoyed reading about: the effect of students learning something for themselves.

Although it may seem a bit random that this was what I appreciated the most out of all the other observations as the article mainly stressed the place for technology in the classroom, but I have a legitimate reason for that. The largest 10th grade project at my school is called a “This I Believe” speech, and it is just what it sounds like. Each student stands in front of their English class and presents a value that is important to them for whatever reason it may be.For My “This I Believe” speech I happened to speak about the same thing: the importance of students learning for themselves.

I could talk for a long time about why I think this is so important for the modern student but I’ll give the brief overview. In today’s academic world, students are constantly bombarded by information they learn for lectures, note taking, and textbooks, rarely getting to figure anything out for them self. Although, not utilized often enough (in my opinion) by teachers, letting a student discover something has a two distinct advantages. It not only offers a fresh way to learn without teachers hovering over you, but it is also a gratifying experience, encouraging future research and discovery.

In US History we have begun on this path from day one. We were given three questions revolving around defining what it means to be an American, with the end result being and answer to the questions. Since each student is forging their own metaphorical path, every classmate is going to come up with an answer unique to the research and interviews they have conducted. So far this has been a gratifying experience and a break from the monotonous pace of the rest of my classes, and am excited to see where the last bits of my research take my answer.

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