Monday, January 20, 2014

Rethinking Instruction in the Classroom

This weekend my oldest son came to me with a request, he wanted to create his own YouTube channel. He is under 13 so we created it together. Until he is older, it will be a channel we both have access/ control over. He explained to me that he wanted to create videos of he and his friends gaming, Lego creations, and silly things he and his friends do.

After having a conversation about privacy and explaining rules like: no full names, no locations, friends need to ask their parents for permission before appearing in videos, and always thinking through if he’d want his grandmothers to see what he posted, I left him alone. I remember thinking that maybe he’d create a video in a week or so and then be done. Boy was I wrong.

His channel is a bit over two days old. He has already created and uploaded more than five videos with at least that many more created. (We put the kibosh on any more right now because he was slowing down our internet – one video a day is the new rule.) He’s had over fifty views and has six subscribers. He has taught himself iMovie, YouTube, and assorted other things. All told I’d say he’s devoted the better part of ten hours this weekend to creating.

While thinking of Luke and his YouTube journey this weekend, I couldn’t help ponder my post from last week, IN THIS WORLD. I also stumbled across this video:

And I can’t help but wonder – are we setting our students up to be creators in our classrooms? Can we get this level of engagement where a child will work for hours on something because he wants to? So many of our classrooms (mine included at times) can slip into versions of what I attended myself back in 1980, what can we do about that? How can we “hack” this education model?

I know I don’t have the answers, but I think half of the battle is beginning to ask the questions. Each day my goal is to try something new in the classroom and to turn more of the work of learning over to my students. How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. And, in case you’d like to try it, the “new” thing I’m experimenting with this week is the app Explain Everything. Hopefully I will have great results to write about sometime next week.