Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Differentiating Technology

Deven Black is a 7th grade social studies teacher. He put nine activities on a board that could be completed in two weeks. He then assigned these activities nine different spots in the classroom and told the students to go to the spot in which the activity seemed most interesting. There were three spots that were empty and all of the groups were about even. He then let the groups work on their project. He said he walked around and was available for help, but no one needed it.

I think these open ended projects really get students involved in their work. In this case, the students were even able to choose the project that they wanted to do. I think that this gives students motivation to do their work. They can be as creative as they want and since they chose the project, it must be something that they actually like to do. In the end, Mr. Black gave the students time to reflect on the projects and what they learned overall. The students did learn a lot about the colonies, but they also learned a lot about cooperation in group work. I think that this type of instruction could be very valuable in the classroom.  It assesses a student’s knowledge on a topic, but it also allows students to work with and learn from others.

1 comment:

Brady Olson said...

I had a math teacher do this in my high school when he assigned a project. I am glad other teachers have tried this approach, because it does allow students to pick the project that they would find the most fun to them. This in turn makes the students more interested in the topic. I am also glad in this instance that the students separated from their friend groups, although I do not believe this will always be the case.
This is where the danger of this open-ended, pick your own project style can appear. I think it is important for the teacher to emphasize breaking free from some of those friend groups. Otherwise, students pick based on their friends and the topic is just as mundane as it would have been had the teacher simply assigned a specific project.