For the past six weeks 27 students in my grade 11 & 12 Life Transitions class have been taking part in an independent learning project. The initial seeds for this idea came from a discussion with a principal who talked about a similar initiative at her school, inspiration hour. I introduced the learning project to my students, telling them employers want people who can learn and can do so on their own. At the beginning I was very nervous about a project that turned 100% of the learning over to the students, however as the days passed I began to see some positives emerging. Students had to first come to grips with the idea of learning whatever they wanted, this was all very new to them. What I noticed over the course of this project was the pride the students had in what they were learning about. I had students coming to me in the hallway during breaks telling me what they were working on, what they've learned, what they've created, and what they were planning to do next.
Recently, Alec Couros, a professor at the U of R, tweeted a link to one of his student's website. I was shocked to see it was the portfolio of this students' learning journey in his class. I saw many parallels between his assignment and mine, I also saw a few things I am going to "borrow" as my students repeat this process in May and June.
So, what did my students work on? Here is a sample of some of the projects that happened in my class:
It is important to note that some students really struggled with this process. Some students had trouble with managing their time while others had a hard time settling on a project. For these students I challenged them to think about why they struggled and reflect on how their learning style was at odds with this process.
Needless to say, I am very excited about repeating this process. #education #learning