What Change Do Students Want?

After a day filled with using technology in various ways, I am left thinking….”What change do students want?”

Grade 12 Bio students did a brain dissection that involved normal dissection techniques but included the use of BYOD to take pictures of the parts of the brain.  They were then to take the pictures and create a personal organizer to relate structure to function.  This was out of some students comfort zone but the task was well accepted in general.  It required little facilitation from me.

The Grade 9’s used a electricity simulation program called Edison to discover the properties of current electricity.  I had modified a “normal” textbook lab to be used with Edison.  Students were required to discuss their discoveries each step of the way with me.  This allows me to troubleshoot any problems that they have as they are doing the lab.  It allows me to assess their understanding while the lab is being conducted.

These are examples of the types of things that students are doing in my class on a regular basis.  I think they are great ways of doing things but not all students enjoy these types of activities.

I require students to “figure stuff out” sometimes with me facilitating the process.  I hear “Why don’t you just tell me how to use it?” or “You don’t teach us anything”.  It is hard for them to see the big picture sometimes and I think that is part of the struggle that teachers have.

I posed this question on Twitter on Monday, “Should we tap the brakes on implementing technology? Seems like a lot of money is getting invested in iPads, is it the right direction?”

I received the following response from a Grade 12 student at my school, “tap the brakes. I’d rather do textbook work than try and figure out some apps for 70 minutes!”

Here is my question:

How do we know what types of changes students want in education?  More specifically, shouldn’t students wants and needs be considered with regards to how we are going to incorporate technology into the classroom?

Looking forward to hearing input on this.

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3 thoughts on “What Change Do Students Want?

  1. “How do we know what types of changes students want in education? More specifically, shouldn’t students wants and needs be considered with regards to how we are going to incorporate technology into the classroom?”

    You’ve made some very interesting points. I am curious about your first question. Do students really know what types of changes they want? And is that best for them? Can they even rationalize that kind of a thought?

    As for the second question, I completely agree – wants and needs for equity purposes is incredibly important. Natural scaffolding. Fairness isn’t that we all get the same, but rather we get what we need!

    I think your gr 12 student who wants textbooks is looking for an out because he or she is being challenged! It almost is second nature to that age group. Keep it up Mr. R!

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  2. Maybe “tapping the brakes” allows us to take a good look around to see where we are and where we are heading.

    Are we moving in a good pedagogical direction or are we being inticed by every “shiny new toy” that presents itself. Maybe the thing we seriously need to look at is the actual learning space and environment in which learning occurs.

    I like that Tim makes kids figure stuff out. That is the challenge that all of our kids will have face as they learn beyond our walls.

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  3. It may be a silly response to your question about how do we know what students want, but I wonder if we are asking them? And then are we listening to the response and trying to act on it? Assuming that our students are capable and curious learners who know what they need, seems like a great first step. Then trying to meet the needs they identify would be a great next step.
    I think you are providing excellent challenges that are stimulating and engaging. Do your students have a means to reflect on this and communicate with you (and your school community) about whether this is true for them?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas!
    Mary

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