I am such a huge fan of what Michael Smith has been doing with his students in creating an Education Arcade, and I…

I am such a huge fan of what Michael Smith has been doing with his students in creating an Education Arcade, and I wanted to dedicate at least one thinking cycle to how inspired it makes me to create “hand-made learning”. Please watch what he is doing and if you haven’t seen Caine’s arcade, I highly recommend it as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut_GBAYauAM

15 Comments

  1. In your intro you touch on my fears and struggles with “games”– the extrinsic focus. I so remember a time when “handmade” was an integral component of my classroom. I taught all subjects in grade eight, and integration of disciplines in projects provided the path for student choice and engagement. In the videos you share, students are engaged with their choice and voice, intrinsically motivated to quality learning. I wonder if we can frame this for those under current pressures– how to access and create such projects in a school system with subject area time schedules, with posted objectives, and with high stakes testing that focuses on test-prep? To create an engine for change, how do we offer “handmade” and “play” curricula that can work in those systems? I think your vlog starts the conversation because the projects infer the objectives, yet time will be the constraint. These students spent time needed for more test / objectives teaching. One suggestion is #geniushour. At our middle school, we adapt our Friday schedule. All regular classes meet for shorter periods in the afternoon. In the morning, students meet in a content area classroom for projects or exploration, student choice, or PBL teacher-designed. The next Friday students rotate to a different content area classroom. This way, teachers can plan engaging play and handmade learning projects, or students can in one class pursue their own learning passions. If we are to engage students in authentic learning, we need to find such ways for test-hobbled schools to be able to do so also. What other ideas are there for creating time and spaces for purposeful play and handmade, authentic learning?

  2. In your intro you touch on my fears and struggles with “games”– the extrinsic focus. I so remember a time when “handmade” was an integral component of my classroom. I taught all subjects in grade eight, and integration of disciplines in projects provided the path for student choice and engagement. In the videos you share, students are engaged with their choice and voice, intrinsically motivated to quality learning. I wonder if we can frame this for those under current pressures– how to access and create such projects in a school system with subject area time schedules, with posted objectives, and with high stakes testing that focuses on test-prep? To create an engine for change, how do we offer “handmade” and “play” curricula that can work in those systems? I think your vlog starts the conversation because the projects infer the objectives, yet time will be the constraint. These students spent time needed for more test / objectives teaching. One suggestion is #geniushour. At our middle school, we adapt our Friday schedule. All regular classes meet for shorter periods in the afternoon. In the morning, students meet in a content area classroom for projects or exploration, student choice, or PBL teacher-designed. The next Friday students rotate to a different content area classroom. This way, teachers can plan engaging play and handmade learning projects, or students can in one class pursue their own learning passions. If we are to engage students in authentic learning, we need to find such ways for test-hobbled schools to be able to do so also. What other ideas are there for creating time and spaces for purposeful play and handmade, authentic learning?

  3. In your intro you touch on my fears and struggles with “games”– the extrinsic focus. I so remember a time when “handmade” was an integral component of my classroom. I taught all subjects in grade eight, and integration of disciplines in projects provided the path for student choice and engagement. In the videos you share, students are engaged with their choice and voice, intrinsically motivated to quality learning. I wonder if we can frame this for those under current pressures– how to access and create such projects in a school system with subject area time schedules, with posted objectives, and with high stakes testing that focuses on test-prep? To create an engine for change, how do we offer “handmade” and “play” curricula that can work in those systems? I think your vlog starts the conversation because the projects infer the objectives, yet time will be the constraint. These students spent time needed for more test / objectives teaching. One suggestion is #geniushour. At our middle school, we adapt our Friday schedule. All regular classes meet for shorter periods in the afternoon. In the morning, students meet in a content area classroom for projects or exploration, student choice, or PBL teacher-designed. The next Friday students rotate to a different content area classroom. This way, teachers can plan engaging play and handmade learning projects, or students can in one class pursue their own learning passions. If we are to engage students in authentic learning, we need to find such ways for test-hobbled schools to be able to do so also. What other ideas are there for creating time and spaces for purposeful play and handmade, authentic learning?

  4. Sorry it took so long to get back to this comment. I really do love your concept of the #geniushour. I have loved getting to know it and seeing the learning artifacts in particular that have been created by kids. 

    As for other ideas, I think that one of the most powerful things that can help to transform the space that we are given is making sure that each classroom has a “stream.” What I mean by this is that any time that a student has a question, creates a learning object, or wants to collaborate with another student, that conversation has to take place in a single location. When all of those things happen in different spaces (or don’t happen at all), it is much harder to have ideas cross-pollinate or to feel progress over the course of the year.

    If each project feels different from the last one and we aren’t building a repository of connections, then everything is still in a silo, no matter how engaging and connected those individual projects are. Starting with a classroom blog, using edmodo, or maintaining an ongoing community elsewhere is the way in which we can make things that outlast their immediate usefulness in the classroom. 

    Or, something like that.

  5. Sorry it took so long to get back to this comment. I really do love your concept of the #geniushour. I have loved getting to know it and seeing the learning artifacts in particular that have been created by kids. 

    As for other ideas, I think that one of the most powerful things that can help to transform the space that we are given is making sure that each classroom has a “stream.” What I mean by this is that any time that a student has a question, creates a learning object, or wants to collaborate with another student, that conversation has to take place in a single location. When all of those things happen in different spaces (or don’t happen at all), it is much harder to have ideas cross-pollinate or to feel progress over the course of the year.

    If each project feels different from the last one and we aren’t building a repository of connections, then everything is still in a silo, no matter how engaging and connected those individual projects are. Starting with a classroom blog, using edmodo, or maintaining an ongoing community elsewhere is the way in which we can make things that outlast their immediate usefulness in the classroom. 

    Or, something like that.

  6. Sorry it took so long to get back to this comment. I really do love your concept of the #geniushour. I have loved getting to know it and seeing the learning artifacts in particular that have been created by kids. 

    As for other ideas, I think that one of the most powerful things that can help to transform the space that we are given is making sure that each classroom has a “stream.” What I mean by this is that any time that a student has a question, creates a learning object, or wants to collaborate with another student, that conversation has to take place in a single location. When all of those things happen in different spaces (or don’t happen at all), it is much harder to have ideas cross-pollinate or to feel progress over the course of the year.

    If each project feels different from the last one and we aren’t building a repository of connections, then everything is still in a silo, no matter how engaging and connected those individual projects are. Starting with a classroom blog, using edmodo, or maintaining an ongoing community elsewhere is the way in which we can make things that outlast their immediate usefulness in the classroom. 

    Or, something like that.

  7. Ok, Now I have some more thinking to do. I think this moves back to curation — managing the bits of what we do in one place. A class blog, or perhaps a shared Google Site or Wiki would provide this. Students and myself could share and link to our other projects (VoiceThread, Google Doc, wiki). But we should choose one for our curation.  Thanks, Ben.

  8. Ok, Now I have some more thinking to do. I think this moves back to curation — managing the bits of what we do in one place. A class blog, or perhaps a shared Google Site or Wiki would provide this. Students and myself could share and link to our other projects (VoiceThread, Google Doc, wiki). But we should choose one for our curation.  Thanks, Ben.

  9. Ok, Now I have some more thinking to do. I think this moves back to curation — managing the bits of what we do in one place. A class blog, or perhaps a shared Google Site or Wiki would provide this. Students and myself could share and link to our other projects (VoiceThread, Google Doc, wiki). But we should choose one for our curation.  Thanks, Ben.

  10. Yes! I think that choosing a “hub” for your classroom is so important. Where does your classroom live online? Where are you curating the best stuff that you (and your kids) are working on? 

    I would think about ways to automate this, though. Going in and editing a wiki each and every time you update something can be a little rough. You might think of ways to use RSS or embedding to make this happen easier than uploading. Let me know what you are thinking, as I would love to help in any way I can.

  11. Yes! I think that choosing a “hub” for your classroom is so important. Where does your classroom live online? Where are you curating the best stuff that you (and your kids) are working on? 

    I would think about ways to automate this, though. Going in and editing a wiki each and every time you update something can be a little rough. You might think of ways to use RSS or embedding to make this happen easier than uploading. Let me know what you are thinking, as I would love to help in any way I can.

  12. Yes! I think that choosing a “hub” for your classroom is so important. Where does your classroom live online? Where are you curating the best stuff that you (and your kids) are working on? 

    I would think about ways to automate this, though. Going in and editing a wiki each and every time you update something can be a little rough. You might think of ways to use RSS or embedding to make this happen easier than uploading. Let me know what you are thinking, as I would love to help in any way I can.

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