Today I'm wondering how we get kids to want to PAY for school? Seem a bit crazy? Well, let’s quickly think about how your experiences at MACUL can show us 3 rules for making learning an Event that students will never forget.
To start, why do you hand over your currencies of money, time and energy to be here? 1st off you are interested in this stuff. 2nd you are engaged by the format. And last, this is fun.
You are able to find resources, ask questions, connect with others, choose how and where you want to learn, and share your ideas..all in a vibrant environment.
So what about your students… would they pay up to be there for your events? They’d pay money to go to the movies.. For a concert or a video game. They’d give up their time for a birthday party or trip to Cedar Point.
Can the classroom compare with such chosen interests, with passion and fun? I believe it can if we focused on providing experiences that helped them catch fire instead of going down a checklist of things that make them want to fall asleep.
Schools require a huge payment of time from kids….. 13+ years, 7 hours a day is taxed right off the top. To maximize that investment we need to burst those bubbles. If you don’t want them to forget, make learning an event.
In order for students to pay up from their Energy accounts we have to put major deposits into the “this is totally cool” fund. It works like compounding “interest”. Teachers are great at finding these Hooks, but are told that the “wow” factor holds less value then the “80% Proficiency” factor.
The memorable events in my learning journey don’t back that up and I believe we have to find a balance. We spend a disproportionate amount of resources on Proving that we are doing our jobs instead of Improving the experiences kids have in school.
We actually don’t need huge things like a conference…because Events can be any size. Just like a day in your classroom, MACUL is made up of 1000s of small events that Engage the mind. Events are conversations, Events are feelings. Events are moments.
Some of you might be skeptical about the word because of how much planning goes into a big event or because you think it is one & done.…but by definition an Event is just simply something that happens that is of importance. We look forward to Events, we document events, and we reflect on events…big or small.
Picture an event you are looking forward to… will you talk to others about it? Will it be fun? Will you take pictures? Shouldn’t learning be fun enough to put on instagram?
Why do you think so many of the people here are posting or tweeting about their learning with Ed Tech? Even more will go back and share at staff meetings and in the teacher’s lounge. The a-ha moments are memorable.. the energy stirs up reflection & a desire to share.
The same is true of our students… just take a look at their willingness to share in social spaces. … forget the hashtag #springbreak… Meaningful learning experiences are being transformed by new media.. it allows the Events to live on and even can start a movement.
We should learn from what environments our kids naturally hang out in, what they’re willing to give their time, energy and money towards. Pay attention to their interests and ask yourself.. Would they pay .99 cents to download your lesson?
I think they would if we did a better job of keeping their focus on learning by more intrigue and less force. Put on a show and let them do the same. Not a monologue but a collaborative performance where students contribute by blogging or making movies or building stuff.
Contributors are engaged…they have a stake in the learning process. Now it won’t always be easy or clean….but conflict and struggle lead to meaningful events, too. Think about how pleasant your sub plans for today were… that was part of this event…and it was worth it, right?
My darkest days as a teacher were when I knew what I was doing was not interesting. The most memorable were like this one, where the students wanted to Skype with an author and Adrian jumped up and asked him on the spot “What was your inspiration”?
Every classroom activity should start with us asking “Will they be interested?” “Will they be engaged?” and “Will they have fun?” If you don’t want them to forget, make learning an event.
Your students will remember how you made them feel, the opportunities you gave them, the challenges you helped them through and the expectations you set for them. Technology as a tool can help us to do all these things AND meet all the high standards that have been set for you and for them.
You’ve seen that and felt here at MACUL with events big and small. Experiences that are going to change the way you teach. Now, I leave you with a challenge to go create events in your classroom that will change the way your students contribute to this world, pursue their dreams and learn for a lifetime. That, will be learning worth paying for.