I had an amazing experience at MACUL, Michigan’s largest (over 5,000 attendees) Technology in Learning conference. Every year I attend I try to come away with a few things that I learned or verify what I am currently doing to connect the learning to my students. This year, I came away with three big things.
Big Takeaway #1 – Information has no value!
The way school is still run in many, many classroom around the country (“I will tell you a bunch of information and you will regurgitate it back on a test”) has very little value and does students no good to prepare them for their future, unless they are going to be on Jeopardy. Students can find information very quickly. For example, to answer the very complex question “Why were Native Americans removed by Congress along the “Trail of Tears”? they can find the who, what, when, where and how information very quickly through a basic Google search. But what is done with that knowledge can change much bigger things. It can help students understand societies behavior and how things are done in the very complex, ever-changing world.
Big Takeaway #2 – Everyone learns in their own way, let them show that learning in their own way
I need to teach students how to think in their own way and not just learn “my way.” Everyone has something valuable to contribute, I need to be okay with as many “ways of learning” as there are learners. Let my students show me what they know in their own way.
Big Takeaway #3 – We need to build learning & thinking skills!
In Tony Wagner’s book, Global Achievement Gap, he lists 7 survival skills students need for their future (see below). I verified my teaching style. I have had this gut feeling for a long time that I need to build students’ survival skills using content & curriculum to put those skills into practice. Why? In the bar chart below, there is a gap between the skills necessary to succeed in the future careers and the skills potential employees enter with from their schooling.