I asked Grade 8 students this question: “Which tools or activities are most helpful in terms of helping you learn?”
Their responses were informative. The following is a sampling, followed by a wordcloud.
- The activities I find most helpful are videos, because they help me view what I learned differently. Sometimes I would even google youtube videos to help me gain a better understanding of the things I learned.
- Listening to music while I work, but otherwise it being quiet. As well having things shown and explained to us before we start the assignment.
- The tools that I find the most helpful are Google Docs and also Kahoot.
- I think Kahoot is a good learning activity because we learn and have fun at the same time.
- The tool that helped me the most is using Quizlet because there is some games you can play as you learn the unit and you can also use the flashcards which helps me to quiz myself.
- Some tools that help me learn are watching videos then make notes on the video. Worksheets help test my memory and helps me with questions for the test. Making a chart helps me memorize things better, like what means what.
- I think that having an online textbook makes it easier for me to learn because it is easier to search up the page. I also like activities where we have to use editing tools to colour in images or make maps.
- I personally like when we use group games to learn, such as Pear Deck or Kahoot. I like those ones because our whole class can be involved and learn together.
- Animations make it much easier to understand and learn.
- The activities that ask questions and you have to answer them are the most helpful in terms of helping me learn.
- Tools that help me learn are Quizlet and fill in the blanks.
- I learn best in groups because we all pitch in ideas and then your also getting different perspectives on things.
- I would say that the most helpful activities for me are things like this [learning logs]. Things that encourage creativity and trigger questions to be asked.
- I personally think playing games like “Kahoot” are helpful in terms of helping me learn because it makes reviewing and learning so much fun.
- Some of the most helpful activities were the worksheets that we had to complete and Kahoot. I think these help me learn because the worksheets help me think deeply about religions and Kahoot helped me remember the answers to questions.
- [I like when] we read the textbook instead of doing other activities like when we talk with others or work with others because we may start to get distracted.
- I think that writing down what the teacher says and then putting it into my own words is most helpful because then you get to understand the question more and its easier to memorize for future tests/quizzes.
- Some tools or activities that are helpful would be hard copy textbooks (not online because they’re easier and I like paper), and cards. I like writing things down or picturing things so anything I can visually memorize would be helpful (such as diagrams).
- I think that the most helpful way of learning for me is to answer questions that are related to the topic, read articles and stories about the topic, and talk about it with my friends. This allows me to rethink and remember the facts that I learned in order to complete and understand the task.
The Dude Perfect crew provides a fun illustration of coding: organizing a complex set of instructions in order to produce a particular unique result.
Sal Khan from Khan Academy talks about how we can improve our current model of education so that every learner can take agency over their learning.
Here’s another reminder why the skills and attitudes around coding, programming, computational thinking and problem-solving will be more valuable than any static knowledge set in the future. Technology is changing our world quickly, making our approaches to learning more important than the memorization of information.
“I think in the future, most people aren’t going to stop their education when they finish high school, college, or university. They’re going to have to become lifelong learners.”
Put simply, today’s students need to learn how to learn.
What do YOU think? Does automation in the labour market excite you or scare you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
This clip nicely summarizes the ways that Google protects school and student data.
When I look back on my years in K-12 education, a number of experiences stand out as significant in terms of my development as a student, an educator, and a person. One such experience was Mr. Bergen’s assessment of work that was not assigned at all.
It was Grade 8. The year was 1992. And I was a very keen student. Even as a middle school boy intent on appearing cool, I enjoyed creative writing. I was equally fascinated by the growing number of software products emerging in the world of personal computers at that time: primitive word processors, spreadsheets, publishers, and games were all tantalizing. In the pre-internet world of computing, and with extremely few games at my disposal, I could amuse myself for hours by learning the features of these programs and creating content.
At some point, I started to play with a now-archaic publishing program called PrintMaster. This program allowed me to create headlines, manipulate columns, insert shapes, manage text, and add all sorts of unique fonts. It caught my imagination and sparked a vision: I was going to single-handedly publish a middle school newspaper.
Thrilled with my idea, I asked Mr. Bergen about it. If I wrote articles for a student newspaper, would he allow me to post it on the bulletin board? Even at 13 years old, I understood that this would be a risk for both of us. WIth just a little hesitation, he said yes.
What followed was magical. I wrote stories about my beloved hockey team, the Winnipeg Jets. I wrote stories about school sports teams, school spirit events, and events in the news. Because the personal computers of 1991 could not access pictures of any resolution, I cut out images from magazines and carefully pasted them into boxes in the columns I had created. I agonized over font styles and sizes, balanced page content carefully, used literary devices, and edited my work. True to his word, Mr. Bergen let me post several editions of my little newspaper on the bulletin board. Thankfully, my work was well-received.
Mr. Bergen could have shut down my little venture. He could have wavered at the prospect of unassigned writing and unpredictable content appearing on his bulletin board, and any messiness that could follow. But instead, he trusted me. He endorsed my creativity. He affirmed my passions. And by doing so, he solidified in me a love of writing and publishing that continues to this day.