Tuesday, September 8, 2015

7 Reasons to Give Up Control to Your Students

by Mark Heintz

A few years ago I observed Linda Ashida changing the dynamic of her classroom by having students display all of the class materials through AirPlay. She relinquished control to the students and saw tremendous benefits.  Over the last year, I moved to a similar organization of the classroom and have seen the following:

1. Pacing. Students broadcasting over AirPlay changes the instruction pace to that of the student.  If a student displays any material from the class, they control the pace.  This way, I do not move too quickly through the information.  It forces me to have a student highlight the objective, open the reading, display the link, fill out the worksheet, or write the summary statement.  Having students display via AirPlay provides another layer of protection that further ensures all students are where they should be and are keeping up with the pace of the lesson.

2. Student examples.  Having students display everything over AirPlay provides live student examples of work.  Students become comfortable quickly with showing their work.  Providing their examples to the entire class provides instant feedback for their entire class!  What once was a one-on-one conversation, now benefits the whole class.  In a few minutes, I can evaluate several student's work in a timely fashion that benefits everyone.

3. A Safe Environment Focused on Learning.  If students display materials instead of the teacher, it rapidly creates an environment focused on the students' understanding of skills and content.  Students begin to feel comfortable sharing their work with the class.  They actually desire it, because it directly helps them get better at whatever you are working on.  Students know they can fail or be wrong at something because they will get the help they need to learn it.

4. Inclusion. A quiet student can have a loud presence through displaying via AirPlay.  An off task student can now be redirected through displaying the notes, writing down the summary, or displaying the materials to the entire class.  The student remains on task while displaying the information.

5. Students have all the materials.  When students display the course content, they have access to all of the materials.  As a teacher, I put up everything on Schoology.  For them to display everything, the course has to be logically laid out for each students to access the materials.  At the end of the lesson, they know where all of the learning materials were and often have them downloaded on their device.

6. Student Centered.  To have students display the materials, I plan on more student centered learning.  It forces me to create lessons that involve the students heavily and provides feedback to them constantly.  The lesson structure is developed with lots of checks for understanding that are centered around students displaying their work to the entire class.

7.  Freedom. Not being at my computer frees me to be with students. If I am not moving to the computer to change a PowerPoint, click on a link, pull up a reading, or anything else, I can be with the students.  I move around and see what they are doing instead of spending time at my desk. It minimizing my transitions as a teacher.  When students pull up the materials, I can be engaging students.

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