Students as learning designers can be an awesome way to engage students and produce great result in terms of learning outcomes.  Lets have a quick look at this in the context of the wider educational ecology.

Different environments allow you to do different things.

Consider the features of this environment.  There are dirt, trees, water, air.  What activities are they suited to?

Attribution: angela7

Consider the features of this environment.  What activities are they suited to?

Attribution: adwriter

The different environments are differently suited to different types of activities.  You probably wouldn’t play ring-a-ring a rosie with your kids in the jungle.  The trees are densely concentrated and don’t allow for it.  Same goes for education.

Different types of environments create different opportunities to engage in different types of learning. You probably wouldn’t allow students to design their own learning for every subject all the time.  It creates an environment dense with ideas and learning, time doesn’t always allow for it.

My project takes one little feature of a learning environment eg ‘students as e-learning designers’ and asks what learning opportunities might students create from access to this feature.  This type of learning requires students to spend some time in the jungle, but I believe this time in the jungle in a regular classroom would be just one part of the overall ecology.  ‘Students as learning designers’, allows students to pick up a specific skill set, work in a different way and explore a different context.  These skills will then hopefully carry with the student in different ways as they move into other types of activities.

I’m just really learning about this type of learning myself so I’m interested in other teachers understanding of this area.

What kinds of environments do you create for your students?

  • What year do you teach?
  • How much time do you spend on enquiry or problem based learning?
  • How deep into the jungle do you go?
  • What kind of results do you get?
  • How do you select the right environment to open up the right opportunities?
  • How have you used technology to create a new environment?  How did it change the activity that was happening?  How did the skills transfer into new environments?

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