5 ways to make learning more dynamic
Does your classroom offer one-and-done types of learning activities, or does learning grow, inspire and evolve throughout the year and beyond? With digital tools that are available 24/7, the learning doesn’t have to stop when the bell rings, when the worksheet is turned in or even when the school year ends. Learning can take on a life of its own and become dynamic.
Dynamic learning is at the heart of my book, Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning From Static to Dynamic. This concept alone should change the way you think about learning in general and the way you facilitate learning in the classroom.
Education is loaded with trends, buzzwords and enough acronyms to create alphabet soup. We are constantly trying to find new ways to support our students, and oftentimes, we are attracted to the next new thing—the next magic acronym that’s going to solve all of our problems. Teaching isn’t that simple, of course. Teaching is more of an art than a science. Formulas don’t work because one size doesn’t fit all. It doesn’t fit all teachers, and it doesn’t fit all students.
Traditional teaching has to change. It’s simply not enough anymore. Why do we still have so many static assignments and activities that don’t allow us to transform learning for our students? We have to move past the idea of doing old things with new tools and truly make the most of what this 21st-century world has to offer.
Why do we still have so many static assignments and activities that don’t allow us to transform learning for our students?
Static learning vs. dynamic learning
Static learning is characterized by an overall lack of movement, growth and action. It’s learning that happens in short bursts, and it’s most often demonstrated by the learner completing one-and-done activities, short-term assignments and stand-alone worksheets—all confined within the bounds of the traditional school day.
Dynamic learning, however, is characterized by constant change and activity. This learning takes place organically, growing and evolving through more unconventional means, with the learner collaborating, creating and communicating to demonstrate progress and mastery. Dynamic learning also extends beyond the boundaries of a traditional school day, beyond the physical location of the classroom, beyond the use of tools as digital substitutes, or even beyond the traditional notion of hard-and-fast due dates.
5 characteristics of dynamic learning
With dynamic learning. Educators must think:
- beyond the bell, and focus on a lifelong learning mindset for students
- beyond the grade level and subject area by helping students tap into passions and interests that are outside the given curriculum
- beyond the walls by publishing student work for a global audience, and bringing in global connections and collaborations
- beyond the tools and use them to do new things
- beyond the due date by mentoring and coaching students to continue learning even after the project has been assessed
Start with small, incremental changes
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am not living in a pie-in-the-sky world of education. I realize we still have to operate within the confines of the systems we have, but I believe that we can meaningfully incorporate more dynamic learning strategies in our classrooms without ignoring all of those things we have to do and are required to learn in our classrooms. I also don’t think it’s a choice.
We are doing students a disservice if we don’t move beyond traditional learning and use the technology we now have within our grasp. Just small pushes against the walls, against the system, can bring about meaningful change.
One small step at a time is all it takes. Even in small increments, we can make a big difference and prepare our students better for the future.
Kasey Bell, a former middle school teacher, is an award-winning digital learning coach at Shake Up Learning. She is also an international speaker, author of Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning From Static to Dynamic, blogger at ShakeUpLearning.com, host of “The Shake Up Learning Show Podcast,” and co-host of “The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast.” She was a featured speaker at FETC.
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