So Jeff (who is becoming a daily link-to here) has announced a new site for a new class on Web 2.0 tools that he’s teaching. TeenTek is all about his students blogging about what they find newsworthy and interesting, and it’s all about teaching the tools of the trade in the context of what the kids discover as meaningful. (I know, I know…once I latch on to some phrasing it takes me a while to let go.) And, it’s all about helping kids to understand that one of the most powerful things they can do when they have an audience is teach. (I’m learning a lot about cell phones already.) I really hope Jeff’s students feel the license to explore their own passions but at the same time come to understand the power of being able to take what they learn and communicate it in a way that readers (in the broadest sense) will understand and learn from.
But the other piece of this is, of course, that this is a course specifically created to do the type of learning we’re all talking about. (What a concept…hey, really…what a concept! I wonder if Jeff would share his proposal so others might, um, propose a similar course at their schools.) What about the 99.999% of courses out there that are about content? Even Jeff himself in a comment to my previous post says:
I wish I could spend that much time developing the stories, interacting with the world here in China in which these students live. But theissue is content. I have to get through x amount by 1st quarter, by 2nd quarter, etc. Our school systems are not built around learning, instead they are built around content and assessing the learning that takesplace within that content or context.
And he continues by asking the $23,456.34 question:
How do you make that change? How do you ’sell’ this to principals and parents when they walk in and ask, so what have you covered? Instead of asking, what did my student create, contribute and learn?
Yeah. So how do we do that?
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