Thursday, April 14, 2011

Next move: Detailing how we'd learn

Today we attempted to talk about a potential project to see into how we actually might learn.  We spoke about the "Hunger Free Communities" planning grant and how that represents a kind of complex, authentic project that would have a great deal of room to learn all sorts of principles.

Some of the things we established were:
1. The project provides meaning and motivation. There is no need to have a 1:1 correlation between the content of the project and the learning objectives--that is, there can be a logical learning schedule that sits outside the project but ties into the project at reasonable places;
2. While we may value the relationships that students are building between one another and their benefits, we must do the rigorous work of creating a strawman learning plan for those who have a different value system (e.g., parents?, colleagues?, students?).  This would look like a schedule of what is learned, approximately when,  roughly how, and how it will be assessed;
3. A sufficient variety of simultaneously-engaged projects may be required to ensure that a range of "content" can be relevant (e.g., a project around only statistics of hunger and food insecurity may not address issues found in mechanics, although it could address something about physics if in part of it they were to compute energetics of locally growing food or something such as that).

Our next step is to consider a specific example of a quarter, imagining what students' learning needs could be and how you might address this from your teaching perspective.  For example, if you taught physics and you saw that of the 100 students, you'd have students at maybe 3 different levels of learning physics, how would you address that?

For next week, we are to bring topical weekly lists of what you might cover. In making this transparent, we may begin to see overlapping in the learning of concepts.

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