Are your students learning from each other? Do you create projects that require students to produce learning, share it, compare it, and make it better? Could you use technology to complete that task? Are your projects game oriented, project based, scenario driven, or exploratory? Are your lessons student centered and do they encourage students to attempt, possibly fail, evaluate, redesign, and redo? Why not?
Teachers need to put the student in the center of the learning tasks and they need to remove the focus from the front of the classroom in order to reach the modern student and produce great learning. The instructional design of a project utilizing share, compare, edit, and redesign phases will allow the teacher to have more time to help his students, evaluate their work, put the student in real learning scenarios, and employ current learning strategies and standards that challenge students to develop life long skills. The students in these types of classes also develop real world skills, and students learn how to learn. Many of our most successful entrepreneurs promote this type of learning, and they frequently state that this is what they seek in future employees.
Life long learning is our most important goal, but without experiences that get evaluated and reworked students are not developing life long learning skills. Lab environments with clearly stated goals and objectives, technology tools, and time for editing do produce the best examples of what our students can do. We need to give them more time to explore and worry less about discrete items in lists, dates, charts, and tables. They need to learn to use the information that is easily accessible to them, and they need to produce it in creative, interesting, unique, and meaningful ways. Good instructional design is still as important as ever.