Learning by doing, and other things that happened today

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So I was really pumped up today in our weekly PD time for two reasons:

  1. We had choices about what to work on and whom to work with.
  2. The task was open ended. No product was required and no methods were prescribed. 

The choices we had were all dispositions that we are looking for in students. The one I chose to work on was “inventive”. As in we want our students to be inventive, how do we make it happen? 

There were three of us that chose this topic and we all seemed to be on the same page about a few things:

  • The problems have to be real. One teacher said “we don’t want their work to go up on the fridge, we want them to make the fridge”.
  • They need an authentic audience. As in not the teacher and rest of the class.
  • The problems have to be important to the individual student. 
  • Grades get in the way. We may not be able to get rid of them, but if we want kids taking risks, we have to get the grades out of the way.
  • Project based learning is the way to get kids inventing. And the less we prescribe, the better. Open ended projects will get us the most creative results. 

What struck me as I started to think about this short list is that these are the exact same reasons why I was pumped up about the work we did today. Chosen by us, no prescribed product, authentic audience, real (and important) problems. 

Learning by doing, I see what you did there. 

Also, this happened today: 

  

  

 
A kid made these after I told the class we needed something better than tape to hold these doors in the unlocked position. A few notes:

  • Not a graded assignment 
  • Kid chose to work on it
  • Audience = the facilities manager and maintenance workers

Our facilities manager liked them a lot. And he brought us another project: 

  
Apparently these are absurdly expensive if you only need one or two. So we’re gonna make one. Getting the font right and the raised Braille lettering correct will be the hard parts here I think. 

This reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask, do you have something that’s broken and could maybe be fixed with some inventiveness and 3D printing skills? Bring it on, Lion Design Team can handle it. Will you be our authentic audience? We’ll do a Google Hangout and you can show us if it worked!

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