Educators are well aware of the benefits of students engaging in their learning experiences, but they often find it difficult to keep students focused and actively participating in the traditional classroom setting.
In the book Turning High-Poverty Schools Into High-Performing Schools authors William Parrett and Kathleen Budge encourage teachers to engage students in authentic, relevant, and future-thinking experience by embracing a variety of instructional models:
- Project-based Learning: Students benefit greatly from tackling real-life problems within the classroom. Such projects bring together a variety of content areas and provide students with a number of ways to contribute to the process and final product. Students learn valuable collaboration skills as well.
- Place-based Learning: Students benefit greatly from learning in places other than the classroom. Service projects, community-based learning, outdoor classrooms, internships, externships, and similar activities are often quite engaging for students, and they happen in real-time outside of the school walls.
- Expeditionary Learning: Students benefit greatly from longer duration immersion experiences that are often found in expeditionary learning activities. Such expeditions may include spending a week in a cave studying structures and mapping systems, traveling to a foreign country for several weeks to learn about people and their culture, and similar type experiences.
During the COVID pandemic, it may not be feasible to get out of the classroom with your students. Don’t let this dissuade you from trying to bring technology into these kinds of models. You might find them to be very engaging for you and your students!