Week 6: What Are The Challenges In Shifting Content From “What” to “Where” and “How”?

There are so many challenges in shifting from the “what” classroom to the new culture of learning classroom.  One is the buy in.  There are so many people who are not open to this way of teaching.  They feel that we give the students too much freedom or that we are just playing rather than learning.  They do not see the benefits of the students using their own imaginations.  I loved the scenario Thomas and Brown explained about the two piano students who both attempted to play but using their own approach to a Bach piece.  There are teachers who would say that these students were approaching it wrong, but “(i)n the new culture of learning, the teacher would see a budding rock star and a jazz musician” (2011, p 79)  Students tend to be more open to learning when they are allowed to express themselves and attempt things they are passionate about.  It is just as important as differentiation.  Every student is different, they learn differently and they enjoy different things.  By allowing them the ability to navigate their learning with their own inquiry they begin to explore and learn for pleasure “play” rather than feeling like they are just being crammed with information.

“(P)lay is not something we do; it is who we are” (2011,p 97).  I loved this quote since it has been my thought for years.  How I play, what I play has helped to define me.  If a student gets drawn into a game such as Minecraft, they may enjoy engineering.  If we can take this activity and focus a lesson around it, it becomes a guided lesson that the students enjoy and will surprisingly exceed your expectations because they will continue to “play” even after they have completed the minimal requirements in the task.  Brennan helped to create a curriculum-aligned social studies game called Historia.  They had found that kids were not interested in social studies so they brought gaming into the classroom.  Through this play-based system, students are led through an interactive game that displays itself like a graphic novel.  Students do research to learn how they can make decisions to solve historically accurate problems to help keep their team alive. (Brennan, 2015)  I have conducted a game like this one, but it wasn’t using a PC or Mac.  It is amazing how far technology has come.

Works Cited

Chaplin, H. (2015). School Uses Video Games to Teach Thinking Skills. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128081896

Brennan, R. (2015). Historia: Game-Based Learning for Middle School History.  Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/short-happy-history-of-historia-rick-brennan

Stephenson, N. (2007). Introduction to Inquiry Based Learning. Retrieved from http://www.teachinquiry.com/index/Introduction.html

Thomas, D, & Brown, J. S., (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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11 thoughts on “Week 6: What Are The Challenges In Shifting Content From “What” to “Where” and “How”?

  1. Sunshine- That is so true Sunshine that many teachers are stuck in their old ways and don’t want to change. I wonder how the teachers of the future will be teaching. I bet they will be teaching this way. I think this is where more students are getting online and learning. They are seeking their passion and learning for pleasure not because they have to but they want to. Historia sounds like an interesting game. I will have to check it out.

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  2. Totally agree, there are many educators who are stuck but there are also parents and others who are outside of school who reject learning that does not look like the traditional schooling they grew up with. I am so tired of hearing people reject the new culture of learning because they think what worked for them then should work for everyone today – failing to acknowledge that we live in a different era.

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    • Yes! I see it as well. This is why I do so much research about the technology before I share it with my colleagues. That way I have something to back me up before I ever try to use it in the classroom. As for parents, they are a little tougher. Inviting them into the classroom while incorporating the technology is a great way for them to see it first hand. Usually when you invite them to join you they feel a little more comfortable since you are not afraid of them seeing what it is you are doing. They seem to lax up a little bit.

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  3. I second what Cynthia wrote. So many times it’s the community that is scared of changing or scared of a new approach. One example I have is when I started teaching 3rd grade at a school, I was setting up my classroom starting the new routines, it was maybe the second week of school, and I had parents asking me why I wasn’t sending homework home. Many parents think that the way they learned and the routines they had in school 20+ years ago need to be the same for their children. If I wasn’t sending homework home, couldn’t they be doing things at home to still teach their child.

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    • That works both ways. There are some that think you are sending too much homework. You can never please everyone, and we can only do so much. With this new way of teaching they can get online and continue to educate themselves whenever they want to, and many kids do.

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  4. I totally agree with both of you about the community thing. One thing I hear constantly from parents and grandparents is “when I was in school…” I do believe there are some things that were better “back in the day,” but overall I think we need to change and adapt as well. I’ve said before that I’m quite resistant to change, but having the support of parents and community would make it much easier to be a 21st century teacher.

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  5. It’s interesting how the language we used to describe learning has to involve concepts and ideas that people don’t associate with learning – playing and gaming. Do people think that teachers are trying to “trick” students into learning the “what” by using gaming and playing? Do parents ask their children what they learned at school as opposed to what they did that was fun? If we can bring back play and gaming and make them synonymous with learning, then the “where” and the “how” will become easier to teach.

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    • That is going to be difficult, but I like the idea. There are so many who do not see the benefit of play, when even physical activity has proven to be very helpful in academic advancement in students. There are just so many who see gaming and play as taboo in the classroom. We are the starting point to a new age, and I am so excited to be a part of it!

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  6. I am scared to try new things, but the students have proven themselves with the changes that I have made. The students come alive and are eager to try new things with technology. It seems to be their language.

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    • I agree, we just need to learn to speak their language. It’s like music. They have their music and we have ours. If we expect them to listen to our music from time to time, it is only fair to listen to theirs as well.

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