Monday, June 18, 2012

What Motivates Students Today?

Do you ever have the feeling that although you are speaking up, somehow your voice isn't heard? Those of you who follow my blog know that one of the issues close to my heart is the power of student-driven learning (see In Defense of Student-Directed Learning). I've attended several conferences and workshops lately where when I made a comment about putting the power of learning into our students' hands; people looked at me like I had three heads (could you imagine the hair styling time for three heads?). That's not going to change what I know to be true. Students want to learn, but what motivates them is not extrinsic rewards. It is our job to guide them in pursuing how they learn, what they learn, and how they share their learning with the world while not just mastering standards, but far exceeding them.

Enter Alan November, the keynote speaker for the Alabama Educational Technology Conference. This man has been providing students with the opportunity to apply what they are learning to solve real-world problems since the mid-1980's. His students find a need and they design a solution. His TED talk is very close to what his keynote was. He shared student ' stories that illustrated that what students really want is purpose, authenticity, a global voice, and time for mastery.

Throughout his keynote, I found myself wanting to stand and cheer. Here is a man who had his students living this over twenty years's nothing new. The stories he shared inspired me to try new things, really let my 5th graders have more freedom. I hope that you enjoy his talk as much as I did and I'd love to hear your thoughts on student-directed learning. And if you are in San Diego next week attending ISTE12, be sure to come by and hear my students tell you all about the power of student-directed learning.

 photo credit: . Entrer dans le rĂªve via photo pin cc

1 comment:

  1. Julie,
    Isn't it wonderful that people have gone before saying important things about student-directed learning! I had the best year of my teaching career last year when I started letting my students have #geniushour, like they do at Google and other innovative companies. Now, in the next year my plan is for my classes to be like genius hour all the time.

    I am constantly reading and writing about this topic--sucking up the learning like my dry Iowa garden sucks rain in a long-overdue thunder shower! (Little weather report on the side...)

    I wish I was going to be in San Diego for ISTE, but I'll be following along on Twitter. Say hello to your students for me!