Setting the Parameters For Student Learning

Once again a post by Seth Godin has relevance in Education. In this post he talks about working with talent. His recommendation is that you have a strategic mission with regard to the outcomes or risk waste, irrelevance or both.

Which makes me think of two things immediately with regard to classroom instruction:

1-We must set the parameters for student learning.
2-We must set the parameters for student content creation (a valid form of assessment).


The difference between learning and schooling is very much on my mind these days. One is process oriented the other product oriented. Setting the parameters for learning means we model HOW students ought be engaging in the topic/subject at hand. We need to let them in on what learning would look like. We also need to model how to use the tools that will ultimately yield the information being sought (ie. Search Engine, Wikipedia, Google Docs). We need to create exemplars in advance and share them beforehand. This way, if students only manage to model their answer/project after the exemplar, they have experienced a useful format for future inquiry/learning.


The powerful new paradigm in Education involves students as content creators. There are many advantages to this-sense of empowerment, "real life" learning, creative skill building, stimulation of multiple intelligences. Technology provides so many opportunities for students to create and publish their work safely. Personal websites, podcasts, videos, digital design tools/repositories, and cloud computing platforms all hold potential for students and classrooms and I believe we ought to use as many of these ways of representing learning as possible. We do, however, need to model how to use these tools which takes time.

No question about it--learning takes time, if done properly. With technology there might be more time necessary upfront to be sure all students understand how to use the tools. However DEEP learning is possible if we regularly develop strategic lesson plans that involve definitions of how to 'do' the learning and how to represent it. I'm reading: Setting the Parameters For Student Learning Tweet this!