How Can Students Help Teachers?

Involving Students as Teachers can be an effective means of improving learning. You learn a lot more by teaching. This is being practiced in several places including the MIT TEAL program.

This blog entry that led me to Edutopia has a different, rather innovative idea. Why not use the creative, imaginative power of students to improve teaching?

What if you had to teach the classes you are taking now or something you learned years ago? How would you use technology to do it? What devices, software, games, networks, or applications would you use to help students learn more easily — and have more fun learning?

For instance, imagine that it was your job to teach algebra, Charles Dickens, volleyball, poetry, a foreign language, science, or the Civil War. Would you have your English students use Facebook to create profiles for each main character in Jane Eyre? Would you have them use Garage Band to create a World War II song or the national anthem of a fictional country? Would you use instant messaging or cell phones as tools for classroom discipline? Could you learn math from Mario? The point of this is for Edutopia to gather specific ideas and advice from you for teachers to try in their classrooms. So, be sure to describe things in a way that a teacher – any teacher – would understand. You might want to mention any rules about technology and media that exist at your school and whether or not they would need to be modified. We’d love to hear as many suggestions as you can think of!

I will add a few more to the list:

  1. What happens if there is extra-credits for ideas to improve teaching and learning? Will it encourage students to be creative?
  2. What happens if we use tools like twitter, define hashtags or twitter groups to collect, discuss and implement student ideas?
  3. What if we request students to dream about what they would like to see in a class or alternatives to a class?
  4. Why can’t we try some un-conference ideas in schools?

Meta: This is how I got to this post

1. I was listening to Jon Udell’s interview with Phillip Long on Technology Enabled Active Learning.a few days ago.

2. I gave a talk to NEN students on technology trends but mostly talked about ideas on improving learning (showing the MIT Sketch Video). That seems to have evoked a lot of interest. Many students came up to me and volunteered to help if I start any initiative in improving learning.

3. I read a  post on Twitter that gave me a link to Will Richardson’s  Advice From Students to Teachers on Technology Use

If you have ideas, please post them as comments here or even better on Twitter with a hashtag #helpingteachers