We all know that changing any behavior is hard. For me, I need to post more frequently to this blog and do more work to make it better for me and for the audience – I’ve just let it slide down my list too far.
Envisioning the Future of Learning, The class that I co-taught at Stanford with Ami Mehta finished well. The final presentations were on June 7 in Palo Alto and our students did a fabulous job engaging an audience of peers and guests with complex problems. The course came together very quickly, I’m proud of how much we were able to accomplish in so short a time.
As I have thought about the course for the past few weeks, my reflections have coalesced around a few themes
*Students have a lot of previous knowledge, just not always the knowledge the teacher thinks they have. By our second class it became clear that our students had a different background than we were expecting: they had more experience with reading, writing, and analyzing, and less experience designing, connecting, and working with real-life partners. We tried to mash these two backgrounds together, some parts of it worked, others didn’t. Regardless, figuring out where your students are starting and what they bring to the table is critical if you want to get good value out of the time.
* Planning a course is like packing for a trip – take half as much as what you think you need, improvise the rest. We overplanned, trying to jam so much content into ten weeks. By the end of the course we realized we had at least 2 distinct courses going on – one on improving girls education and another about predicting the future of learning and potentially a third focused on communicating complex ideas to a variety of audiences. In any course I teach in the future I am going to whack my curriculum in half and then leave some free time to improvise
* If the conversation has anything to do with young people, make sure there are some young people in the room. We were thrilled to have two middle school students participate in our final exercises. They asked different kinds of questions and gave answers we just hadn’t considered.