Student-Centered Learning

Are We TRULY Learner-Centered?

Author: | Category: Making Magic

Meet the Maker

Matt Watson, Director of Maker Outreach

If you could hang out with any cartoon character, who would you choose and why?
Underdog. That dude is just really chill and humble. As the shoeshine boy, he learned to be a great listener. I bet he knows the perfect place to get a good beer.

Which song can you listen to all day long?
The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” It’s one of the best songs ever written - a unique balance of early-emo angst and relentless optimism; and that guitar vibrato is simply perfect!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow, but TODAY is for living.

What is the “why” for this month’s “Making Magic”?
Before the 1980s, products were designed with the product in mind and the user had to adapt to how to use it - including education. Since the 1980s, nearly every industry has shifted to a user-centered model of design where the designer analyzes how the user acts and what the user needs/wants, and then designs the product around them. But not us! Sure, every school and district CLAIMS to be student-centered. But are we REALLY? Do we design, plan, and create educational experiences that are focused on the end user, the learner?

This Week’s Focus

Driving Question

How can we ensure that our projects/classrooms are truly learner-centered?
The whole idea behind Project-Based Learning is to make learning relevant, rigorous and authentic. Yes, we do our best to create our projects with these goals in mind. But unless we study our LEARNERS, we can lose sight of what is relevant, rigorous and authentic to THEM. Let’s look at how we can deepen our understanding of our learners, and even include them in the project design process.

The whole idea behind Project-Based Learning is to make learning relevant, rigorous and authentic. Yes, we do our best to create our projects with these goals in mind. But unless we study our LEARNERS, we can lose sight of what is relevant, rigorous and authentic to THEM. Let’s look at how we can deepen our understanding of our learners, and even include them in the project design process.

Watch

TED Talk: David Kelley And Human-Centered Design

As you watch:
Enjoy: the interesting innovations that David Kelly & his colleagues have developed,
Remember: this TED Talk was given nearly 20 years ago!
Ask: What is IDEO doing differently as they use this “human-centered” design process?
Reflect: How can I immerse myself into my learners’ experience, getting out of my own way, so that I can design (or allow my learners to design) a more relevant learning experience?

Read

What Exactly Is Student-Centered Learning?

Explore

Stanford d.school Take your time as you explore the website - go slowly, play with it and look around. Ask yourself:

  • How is the website different from others?
  • What makes their educational approach student-centered?
Don’t forget to click on Real World Projects and explore some of the projects that they are running.

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