Deeper Learning is an annual gathering of educators focused on creating opportunities for students to learn deeply. In sunny San Diego, we experience what this means for ourselves, connect with others already making it happen, and learn.
Collaborative Problem Solving Skills for School, Work, & Better Communities: LRNG Games invited educators to participate in this activity focused on building communication skills.
Outdoor Ed explored taking students through experiences that are in their "stretch zone" (zone of proximal development) so they can experience something and then process the experience. The activities can be linked to curriculum easily- ex: Colorado River stakeholders (strings attached to a cup of water, each stakeholder has a string and all must carry it out to the field). Simple trust activities can lead to greater connections and learning (blindfolded through a mousetrap field).
Establish the expectation of student-driven learning. Students are given parameters and expectations for the project, and must teach themselves what they don't know in order to get there. For example, one student needed to learn how to use two different programs he would need to create his VR (virtual reality) project, so he accessed web tutorials and learned them on his own.
Deeper learning is about letting go of the hundreds of standards in favor of going deeper with fewer. It's about giving yourself permission to take the time to do this. It's about remembering that information is at our fingertips now, so teaching students how to learn is the real imperative.
Deeper learning can be found in student-led true project based learning. How do we get them there? Empathy in student interviews, analyzing those interviews for what makes students spark and what turns them off... then using...a design thinking structure, a steampunk your passion project, or an open question that allows for multiple pathways to the learning or 'answer'. It starts with empathy for the learner- student voice and choice should be forefront. Lots of opportunities for discussion and reflection- for teachers and students.