Lead Learner: What are optimal conditions in which to learn, for you, & for your students?- July 1, 2019

This post is week 4 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. In this week's post, I share what I believe are the optimal conditions for me to learn and for my students to learn.

For me as a learner?

Having just come back from #ISTE19, this topic is very much on my mind. It made me think about what made ISTE so engaging- so interesting that I left the experience energized and inspired? What made it an optimal learning space for me?

First, I had choice. There was such a variety of sessions and so many formats. This alone could be overwhelming. But luckily, ISTE had an app that allowed you to filter sessions by time, type and presenter. This allowed me to select sessions that truly interested me. Knowing myself, I tried to pick more active sessions including one BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) session each day.

In addition, I also had autonomy. No one was checking up on me to make sure that I attended sessions.

But most of all, I was engaged and interested. The sessions I attended were all topics that I wanted to learn more about. To the left are just some of the amazing sessions and experiences I had.

For my students?

With this in mind, I believe that my students should have voice and choice in their work. This is one of the reasons I use choice boards often with my students. A simple Tic Tac Toe choice board like the one on the right modified from Kasey Bell at @ShakeUpLearning does that.

I also believe that students need authentic learning experiences that use PBL and 21st century skills. These are the skills that will set our students up for success in the future. They need to practice collaborating, communicating and using critical thinking skills.

But just like me, students work best when they are engaged and interested in the content. There is a hook that draws them in and gets them thinking and synthesizing what they learn. My students also get particularly engaged while using certain apps like Flipgrid and SnagIt.

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