In the real world, being able to work with others is more important than taking a test or writing a paper. Authentic education gives students the opportunity to learn from each other, to build communication skills, and to work together to create a final product that demonstrates understanding.
Quick Tip: If you find yourself explaining the same thing over and over again, see what happens when students explain it to each other.
Students learn more than the three R’s in school. They’re learning self-control, cooperation, and even how they learn best. Though we may not explicitly teach social-emotional skills, students are learning how to survive and thrive within the classroom culture you’ve created.
Quick Tip: If students spend class listening passively, they aren’t developing the SEL skills that will help them succeed in the real world. Peer led discussions, projects, and presentations require students to develop a wider and more authentic range of skills.
Imagine an internet with one website, or a TV with one channel. This is what it can feel like for students who march from subject to subject and follow directions from teachers all day, without any control over their experience. Student voice increases engagement, and increased engagement means increased learning.
Quick Tip: Give your students an anonymous survey after a unit, project, or a week of classes. You won’t be able to give them everything they want, but even small concessions will show them that you value their input, and you’ll see a drop in distracted and disruptive behavior.
Technology alone can’t make your class more student-centered, but it can be a powerful support to a student-centered vision. EdTech allows us to make traditional learning more efficient and opens up new avenues for educational innovation.
Quick Tip: Instead of giving students information, ask a question and have them find answers using a website or Google search.