After a bit of reflection and professional reading over the holidays, here is what I want each and every lesson / experience / sequence of learning I facilitate to include. They are my Rules of Thumb for Designing Good Learning Experiences, circa early 2015.
- Rich, deep, meaningful, original tasks: PUZZLE, PROBLEM, PROVOCATION, EXPLORE, PLAY, CHALLENGE – students will “work the hard parts”
- Integrate reading, writing and inquiry – all ‘modules’ pre-planned and available so
- A) students have the responsibility of choosing their own pathway through the learning and
- B) so they can see “the whole game” of learning – see how each piece helps them develop new understandings, skills, and knowledge and
- C) So I know I have coverage of all the things I know are important: content knowledge + web/visual literacy + disposition exercising (The Magnificent 8) + knowledge skills + creativity
- Designed to be tight enough to be focused (creative constraints), but flexible enough to be self-negotiated
- Be designed for M.V.T.A (Minimum Viable Teacher Assistance)
- A catchy title and an interesting, original task + an introduction video (ie, a Generative Topic)
- A WALT (We are learning to…) and a TIB (This is because…)
- Linked reading / audio / video resources + official reading objectives
- Linked knowledge building workshops / Snappers + official writing objectives
- Scaffold appropriately with examples / models / exemplars (for practice, play, imitation, imagination, and simulations)
- Online / offline component with a bias towards leveraging the opportunities provided by digital tech
- Each will have a S.T.A.R moment (Something They’ll Always Remember)
- Offer autonomy, mastery and purpose
- Have “checkpoints” for feedback (self, peer, teacher)
- Have a “want to know more?” or further curiosity prompts
- Each will be aware of what the assessment is that term and contain elements of practice (you gotta do what you gotta do!)
- Outcomes will be defined across understandings, skills, abilities and dispositions (within the process and final product) and digital badges provided based on these outcomes
- Each will contain a reflection piece based upon the overall understandings of the inquiry + reflecting on the learning muscles being exercised + the inquiry process
My role then changes to:
- “a stream of highly contingent, situation, problem and person-specific interventions and provocations – not nuggets of truth” – Claxton
- Pushing, prodding, tilting towards understanding
- Providing the knowledge or guidance needed at that time
- Questioning, facilitating discussions
- Providing EXCELLENT feedback based on content, understandings, AND dispositions
- Tracking quality learning, ensuring engagement. Following up / chasing up.
- Modelling good thinking and learning dispositions
Designing these kinds of learning experiences takes time, but that’s the bread and butter of teaching; it’s the stuff we should be spending our time on, wading through these complexities to facilitate challenging, interesting learning for our students.
Now….to actually sit down and get to it!