Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Effective Learning: Rigor, Engagement, Student-Centered Task, & Tech

What is effective learning?

Having a common understanding of effective learning is key. The research done by the Peer-Ed Team shows that “school-wide improvement in student achievement occurs only in schools where teachers and administrators have explicitly created a shared norm about effective learning."

Effective student learning includes:
Some questions and discussions to ponder about effective learning are found on this Lino It (seen below). It boils down to creating rigorous, authentic, engaging, student-centered tasks.

Creating student-centered tasks

If it's a mini-lesson, I think about what the students could do to demonstrate their learning (evidence of learning), and this would become their task. I also try to consider Multiple Intelligences and 21st century learning skills.

When I asked some of our Collaboration Coaches this question and I used the example of compound words, they came up with a variety of quick tasks such as:
  • have students with the singular noun written on a white board, (have the student describe what the one word means or act it out), and when they stand together, they make the compound word (followed with students explaining / acting out how their word changed when it became a compound word);
  • or, have students coin their own compound words based on their interests such as "skateball," and discuss its meaning. They could even write it out, or draw a picture about what their new word would look like. (Thanks Marla and Katrina for these ideas!)
If it requires more time and deeper learning, I consider project-based learning or connecting with an authentic audience about the topic. I also explore the Hess Matrix for ideas of how to dig in deeper.

I may even look at this task template to help spark ideas, then instead of using their suggestion of always writing an essay, I'd have them create:
After I know they've been exposed to several different mediums for creating their work, I'd let them choose what tool to use to best present their work.

Final thoughts

The bottom line is it's about creating student-centered learning tasks that have value and are worth doing.
  • How do you create student-centered tasks?
  • What do you believe effective learning is?
  • How else did this post connect with you?