Students as teachers

Dandelions are considered weeds and yet they are pretty – from a different perspective.
Students are meant to be learners. I want to try a different perspective where students are teachers.  This is certainly not an original idea (e.g. Steve Wheeler posted: “What the flip?“); however, it is new-ish to me. I’ve read up so much on this that attribution is nigh impossible. I’ve always encouraged classroom as community and learning from each other. I’ve come to believe that “teaching is a good learning strategy”.
What is new-ish I think is considering games-based learning (GBL). Specifically, I mean the big G (read more here). Can there be a big G without the small g? – I wonder.
Now, it’s time to apply!
As an example, here are the elements I am going to incorporate for my Year 11 Information Processes and Technology (IPT) class, within our virtual classroom. In the process, I hope to expose them to less-used features of Sharepoint. The current topic focus in Storage and Retrieval. The context is: “What does the world know about me?” – exploring Social Media.
  • sandpit wiki – play area
  • Resource wiki – student-created
  • forum (Discussion board) – not just QandA, but also somewhere to bounce off ideas. My Year 12 IPT will be invited to contribute mainly questions to help guide year 11s in their learning journey. I’m unsure of whether or not to allow “shallow” feedback such as “good question” or worse, “like”. What do you think?
  • Showcase gallery

At the moment, I am sticking to the forums instead of blogs.

This is not just a matter of integrating technology. Rather, it is providing students with an online platform to ‘teach’ (and learn), augmenting the discussions and interactions in the classroom. No grades for any of these; there is a separate assessment task.
Some people will call this blended learning. Some, like Steve, will call it flipped. Some might call it Inquiry and I may run it as a project-based learning unit. I am also planning a GBL approach with year 9s, more big G stuff and subject to another post.
Students will learn. This time, I’ll let them teach…each other…and quite possibly, me.
With changing perspectives, (my) teaching is evolving and I find that exciting. For the record, I’m also a little scared it’ll fail, i.e. that I can’t facilitate my students to teach. I’ll try anyway.
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2 thoughts on “Students as teachers

  1. Denise Krebs says:

    Hi Malyn,
    I have just spent some time reading this post and the previous one on the big G of gaming. I have much to learn! I love the ideas you have proposed, but I don’t even know where to start. I love that so many others are talking publicly about these education transformation topics. I love my life as a teacher right now.

    Like you, I am on a similar journey, excited, but unsure. I do know my students and I are all happier as a result of the journey we are on, though.

    I recently did a history unit and gave them ownership of the learning of a history standard. It was all quite wonderful. However, there is always that nagging grading issue. Some students still continue to ask if they have proved they understand enough to get a good grade. I’m so tired of grades! You can see our process here.

    Thanks for challenging me, Malyn! (P.S. I miss your photo of the day pics lately!)


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