Education is often driven by the end results. Whether a student understands the material or not is determined by test scores, insomuch that all student learning is measured by the same standards. A bigger issue is that the range of material is limited to curriculums that prepare for testing, so students are oftentimes lauded for memorization and recapitulation, rather than critical thinking.
Because of the heavy emphasis on results, teachers are only privy to their students’ abilities once the tests are graded. They can not follow their students’ learning journeys to determine, when in fact, the student starts to face challenges, and meet them at that point. Since students are expected to achieve the same results (passing or higher), the pre-designed lessons from textbooks do not take into account differentiation and the various skills that each student excels at.
For example, students learning about the French Revolution may be able to read a passage in the textbook and remember important dates for a multiple choice test. However, for students making their own class documentary about the French Revolution, each student performs the planning, design, research and execution according to their own capabilities. We took a look at some ways to encourage learning through process.
1. Assign collaborative projects for peer feedback
When students work together, they are taking their learning process into their own hands. Even with set guidelines, students must take it upon themselves to do the research, communicate and empathize with each other, think critically about the project and problem solve in order to execute it successfully. Students are unconsciously assessing their own skills through organic conversation, debate and simply asking each other for help or new ideas.
2. Use interactive, educational tools that encourage process
Educational tools are a great way for both students and teachers to learn through process. For example, students might be asked to create a Minecraft build of a school over the course of the month, using volume formulas and other mathematical expressions. In this activity, the process of creating the Minecraft build motivates students to learn math. Teachers can realize when their students get “stuck” and which parts of the lesson they’ll need more rigorous practice.
On Creatubbles, teachers can monitor their students’ process. For example, the same students learning about the French Revolution might be tasked to collaboratively put on a digital exhibition of replicas of art during the time period. Teachers can monitor how the groups are performing, gauge their degrees of collaboration, see the types of research they are conducting, encourage their creativity and guide them when they face challenges — all before they produce their final result.
3. Implement assessment checkpoints for students to evaluate their own skill level
Most teachers have heard the common complaint from students, “I just don’t get it.” During the process of creating a project or activity, students can refer to their assessment checkpoint and understand how they are doing. They can recognize whether they are excelling at this point, facing challenges or simply can’t move on. Even if the student cannot move forward, they can reach out to their teachers about specific roadblocks, and thusly, gain an enriching and effective learning experience. As an added bonus, students can also understand which topics they are most interested in and the reasons why. They can, then, carry those motivations onto other lessons and subjects.
Creatubbles is a great tool for students to learn through process. Start using it in your own classes.
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