One my biggest inspirations in the world of education is Sugata Mitra. Sugatha teaches educational technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. He is also the winner of the 2013 Ted prize for his School in a Cloud Project which won 1 million dollars and it’s currently in full production yielding some insightful results. Considering the impact which the internet is having on our ability to obtain information Sugata argues whether the whole idea of knowledge is becoming obsolete and if so, how does that change the role of schools, teachers and parents. There are currently many buzzwords around this topic such as 21st century skills, lifelong learning and self regulated learning to name a few…
During a number of years I have been implementing into my teaching a project which is entirely lead by the students. My role is to encourage, scaffold and advice. Students choose a topic they want to do and by the end of term they have to show the class what they have done. The students use digital tools to keep a video diary where they comment on their progress and this forms the basis of the assessment. What I have learned from doing this project is that given the right tools and modeling the appropriate mindset, students are able to learn by themselves.
I begin the unit by modeling the mindset:
- If we lived in a world where everything was possible, what would you do in music class?
From the responses to these questions we begin the tuning process. What if you only had 6 weeks? what if instead of this you had that? what if you could also work on this at home? what if you had no internet connection at home?The tuning process is very important because it allows the students to project into the future and see what is realistic/achievable and what is not, this is a great way to practice goal setting.
Finally in order to make it fun I wrap it in a challenge box. I tell the students to set themselves a challenge. This really helps me look into my students intrinsic motivation. I can immediately begin to see who are those students that can take an idea and make it happen and who are those students that get really stuck when they have to get creative or when they have to think of what they like.
Finally I set an example by setting myself a challenge as well and updating my students of where I am within that specific challenge.
This is my challenge:
This is a year 9 student talking about her challenge which was to write a short piece for flute with a sad mood.
Some year 7’s describe their challenge
The inspiration behind it all