Responsible for your learning time…

Carnegie playground 5th Ave. N.Y.C. (LOC)
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

I had a meeting today that brought together a lot of different people who are all involved in making sure that the adults in our school district are supporting the kids in our school district (via PD and resource gathering). The most interesting parts of this meeting will not be the topic of my blog post today, but rather the very short discussion about making sure that we are all responsible for our work time as a part of this new group of individuals.

Many types of employees have their time tracked for them, whether by logging in to a time tracking system or by simply showing up every day to a site and being in front of kids. But, it is those outliers, like myself, who go through this very strange (at least to me) process of tracking their own time.

(I currently track my time using a simple program called “Time Tracker”, which you can find here: http://code.google.com/p/time-tracker-mac/. It allows me to simply click the play button when I am “on the clock” and the stop button when I am not.)

While this may sound like a very uninteresting turn for this blog to take, the reason why I bring it up here is because I wonder if this isn’t exactly what we want our students to be doing.

I hear so many educators talk about finding a different way tie students to learning environments other than seat time (Or so-called Carnegie Units), but I hear very few advocating for the students to actually take control of that connection. If a student were to actually keep track of their own time, we could actually have the conversation about what it means to have meaningful learning “time”. If they could only press the play button when they are truly engaged, then we could actually track what is makes learning happen for students. Is this the kind of “responsibility for learning” that we would want?

What I need, though, is a way for students to track the time that they have spent learning on their cell phones. I want them to be able to press the play button while they are out at a museum or at a rock concert or in a park. I want them to be able to jot notes about what they are learning and have that all stored for themselves and for their teachers in a search-able site, where we could apply some analytics. I want to be able to see learning styles measured by this “universal play button”. I want all learning to be connected in this way, where students see the concrete connection between authentic learning and the ability to be honored for that learning (by progressing through school, graduation, etc.).

I guess the question for today is this:

How do you track your learning time, and would it work for students to do the same?

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