Mar 1, 2011

The Room is Quiet, The Learning is Turned to 11

Today, the room is quiet.  Silent, really.  I have no clue why.

I haven’t told them to focus on their work.  I haven’t told them to sit and be quiet.  They just are.

The reason I suspect is that they are choosing their work today.  They have been given an opportunity to ask a question and uncover the answer.  The only thing I ask of them is to document the process.  Keep track of their pathway to learning.

One student is asking the question, “Why do we play video games?” He is on his way to discovering the relationship between challenge, exploration and accomplishment.  He will probably start looking differently at school too.  I’m going to send him the way of Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk.

One student is asking the question, “How do we determine who the greatest in a sport is?” He is on his way to discovering the relationship of criteria, statistics, media and the power of heroes.  He will hopefully start looking at celebrities and athletes differently, more analytically, while still being swept up in their brilliance.

One student is asking, “Why is school important?” She is on the way to establishing her own criteria of effective learning and in doing so will demand more of teachers she encounters.  She will take this and rethink every assignment, every lesson and become more of an active participant in her own education.

These questions are just a sampling of what my students are learning.  With this process, they are learning communication skills, reading critically, writing, connecting.  They are learning how to be active in their world and not passive citizens.  They are questioning to establish what interests them for their future.

Each student is exploring their own interests.  It may be the first time that some of them have been given the time, resources and support to self-select their learning.

The room is quiet, but the learning is turned to 11.


  • I am a student at USA in EDM 310 . I really like that you are making students learn in a different way.I suspect that your students have not been asked to do this before.I really enjoyed this post.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks so much for your comment. You are absolutely right, many of my students struggle at first when given the choice. They need to learn how to make the proper learning choices and we work for awhile building the culture of the classroom. But when it happens, when they get it, the results are wonderful.
      Thanks for reading!

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