FAIL - First Attempt in Learning
The first experience I had in attempting to personalize is with an awesome 3rd grade teacher that wanted to gamify her Everyday Math unit. During this time, I was very intrigued with gaming as I watched my teenager continually fail while gaming, but never give up. How do we get students to try again when they fail at school?
We built the game like structure that included a goal, roles, and feedback system that would hopefully lead each student to find their flow. Flow is working at the very limit of your ability according to Jane McGonigal. We introduced this game to the students so they understood their role and choices. We explained to the students what learning targets were and that we did still have to use the assessments for EDM, however, they would be working on the concepts they need to work on at their pace and they could let us know when they were ready to be assessed on that particular concept. It was a successful unit that actually gave the teacher time to work with small groups more often and let the students show how they could own their learning and really learn to guide themselves.
Let's do it!
This was the last unit, so it was a review of skills that had already been introduced earlier in the year. This is the site that guided them while online. They took the pre-test and then we went through it as a class. Each student saw what they needed to continue working on (missions). The students all got task lists for each mission (skill) they needed to work on. Students used the existing EDM worksheets, games, drill and practice sites, videos, creation apps on the ipad (screencasts), and any other suggestion that they had to learn and practice.
Once they felt that they had that skill mastered, they would take the assessment. In class, students knew exactly what they were doing, because they were in charge of getting through their task list. The classroom teacher pulled small groups for work and seminars as needed. There were three times that there was a guest teacher in the room during this unit. They were
blown away with the motivation and focus these students exhibited during this time. They knew what needed to be accomplished. They had choice in how they chose to learn it and practice it. They got to demonstrate their learning when they were ready!
Another piece to this unit was working together for the greater good. So, we infused a challenge to the class on Freerice. This is a site where students can practice their basic math skills while earning rice to feed the world's hungry. So, they were practicing their skills, feeding the hungry and we were keeping track of everyone's totals on a gauge on the site. They loved to watch that gauge go up and were
very motivated to cheer each other on.
SAIL - Second Attempt at Learning
We had many GREAT things come out of this first attempt. What we learned was:
- It allowed for one-to-one and small group work.
- It appealed to multiple learning styles.
- It worked well when we had a guest teacher.
- It helped to teach learners more about organization and tracking their own learning.
- There are a lot of different resources that are free, use them.
- Not all students use the same free resources, that is alright.
- Students owned their learning.
- We need a place where students can record and work quietly. The classroom space was not enough.
There is always room for more learning and making this unit better. We will attempt it again this year with another group of students. Each year, making changes and updating the tools available for students to have as a choice. Hopefully, more students will have suggestions of how they can demonstrate their learning to us! We are open to their ideas!