Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meaningful work

I just recently read Dr. Scott McLeod's post: Our Students want better work, not less work and it really got me thinking. Our students today are viewed as lazy and lacking work ethic. I somewhat agree with that. In the view of previous generations, our current youth would be viewed as lazy. The days of working on the family farm and doing chores or working to help put food on the table are gone. (Although, being from Iowa, there are still some farm kids out there, just not as many as there used to be.)

Our students today struggle with doing mundane tasks such as worksheets with multiple problems over the same concept. The students who already understand an idea don't want to do 30 of the same type of problems. They also don't want to read a section of a textbook and answer questions about what they read.

I believe that we have smart kids. They don't see the value in doing those kind of tasks. They don't really see it as learning, but just doing work. So the question is.... What is meaningful work? How can we as educators provide meaningful work for our students?

I've got a couple ideas, so here we go...

1. Work that other students can see, evaluate, and provide feedback to.
    I am very impressed with student blogs. I'm working with a couple of our teachers to start a classroom blog where students can publish their work and receive feedback. I got the idea from both Russ Goerend and Becky Goerend.  They both (along with numerous others) have classroom blogs where students publish their work. One of our teachers and I are presenting at ITEC in October regarding this practice!

2. A video
    Kids love videos! Look at the number of YouTube hits each day. With the cost of a flip camera and a computer, kids can create some really cool and educational stuff. I've done this with my students when I was teaching and the kids had some great ideas and really came up with some quality products.

What other ways can we provide our students with meaningful work?

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