Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How am I supposed to know what I need to know?

Yesterday my students and I were using sketchup. This is a free 3d architecture program that I really enjoy. But, we ran into a problem. We thought we knew how to do something with the program (for those of you who know sketchup we were trying to create "groups" and "components", but it doesn't really matter what we were having problems with). I had taught the basics of sketchup using video tutorials from the Sketchup YouTube Channel.

I knew the answer was in this one video tutorial that I embedded in our classroom website. I told three students at the end of the period to review this video (approximately 7 minutes long). I reviewed the video myself and found out what I was doing wrong. When I asked my three students the next day who reviewed the video to solve their problem, here is what I found. None of the students had reviewed the video. Only 1 student went home and did some experimentation to see if he could solve the problem, but didn't review.

This tells me either:

A) My students are used to being told to find answers but have realized that if they wait someone will find the answers for them and tell them.

B) They don't understand review is an active process where you seek out what you need to know because you don't know it yet! They view review as a passive process, like waiting in line at the grocery store.

Either way, this is not good. 21st Century learners have to figure out what they don't know yet, and how to go and find the knowledge they need.

I reviewed and I learned. I have to teach them to figure out what they need to learn. I have to teach them to review. That is the real lesson I am teaching.

Drives me nuts that people think I am teaching "computers."