Building learning experiences and building motivation

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dinsdag 25 januari 2011

I know I will make a few mistakes here. This is not my first language. On the other hand, learning is all about making mistakes.

I work at a school in the Netherlands. And I try to organize learning experiences in a slightly different way than I used to when I started. I would like to share what we are trying to do. First a link about motivation. And this in itself is an example of multiliteracies I guess.

So if you make sure a student has autonomy (the road to a given goal is free), if he is working on/for something bigger than himself and if he gets the idea he is getting better and better you build on his motivation.

We try to work on learning experiences that do just that.

In a part of our school foreigners can learn our local language, which is Dutch. For about 5 years now we have a department where students from our IT department are building programs for educational purpose. By making these programs they learn how to work with all kinds of programs and how to make multimedia programs. They work on all kinds of programs beside the programs to learn Dutch. And we notice that these kids love building programs for others. They get motivated by building stuff for others.

We also ask the teachers to send us work made by their students. We transform their work into programs so that other students can use them to learn Dutch. They notice the same effect. Their students get motivated too by making stuff other students can learn from. About half a year ago there was a student who was only four weeks studying Dutch when she came up with this. She wrote a song in Dutch and sang it and recorded it. This is what we made of it.

She did a great job. But many other students worked on this. Over the years we developed this template and in building and perfecting this template many students worked on this. There were students figuring out how to print the lyricks, figuring how to push on buttons to make something appear, students who made photo’s, who found CC photo’s. Students who learned to work with photoshop working on the photo’s. And learning how to work with sound.

And we learned. We learned what works and what doesn’t. How to built programs that help students to learn.

And by building these programs (for Dutch we have more than a thousand like these) we give the students much more autonomy to learn Dutch. And by now about 350 students worked with this particular source.

Also working with these programs themselves give a student autonomy. These programs are build to make sure the student is in charge. They can choose to listen first, or to read first, or to read and listen at the same time, to click on words to see what words mean.

Right now several schools work with these resources. Built by students for students.

Daniel Pink has got a point. An important point for educators.

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