A Participatory Culture 250 words

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It seems counter-intuitive to both the tech revolution and an over populated world that one of the defining characteristics of a 21st-century learner is that they expect to participate or contribute to the world around them.  They expect to be heard.

Back in the day, we were raised to be observers.  The expectations that the larger community would or could hear one voice was limited to that Norma Rae movie.

In schools, this is reflected in the maker movement…  The make, maker spaces, and project-based learning. It is in some sense a refurbishment of what has always been a best practice.  Science projects are not a new idea, neither are school gardens or craft tables or shop classes. In a much larger sense, the idea of Makerspaces is the 21st-century trifecta:  Real life application, student engagement, and evaluations based on evidence of growth.

One glitch in this newly reminted idea is in its perceived size.  Asking a teacher to create a maker space, or switch to PBL is huge.  Suggesting that the kids make a video, or a book or a model is not.

All teachers know that kids learn better by trying and applying than by memorization and reiteration. The challenge is finding ways to create that project that make and still measures growth toward a standard.

I do not have an easy answer to that.

But…

A picture, video or recording of a student showing you what they did, seems like a good start. We can do that.

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