It has long been said that you learn best by doing, but if in our educational system, that concept was mostly confined to homework assignments.
Today, however, teachers are learning to connect with students in a far more active way – students are no longer reduced to passive absorbers of information, but empowered participants. For a long time, the edict was to “sit still and listen.” Now, educators are harnessing the natural energy children possess and applying it to learning. We believe that shift will better prepare our children for adulthood.
There are plenty of examples everywhere you look.
One of the more exciting examples in happening in the Columbus Municipal School District through a program called Story Maker, a literacy and technology platform that helps teach the basics of building a 3-D animated story. The CMSD is one of 98 school districts nation-wide, and the only district in the state, engaged in the program.
Last year, students from Stokes Beard Elementary School and Columbus Middle School used the platform to create scenes for an animated feature-length version of “The Wizard of Oz.”
This year, students from Joe Cook Elementary have joined the Stokes Beard and CMS students and are involved in a far more ambitious project. In “Return to Oz” the students were given a dilemma in the story. It will be the students’ job to advance the familiar characters, introduce new characters (along with their back-stories), and write a script, with dialogue, to complete the tale.”
Although they may not realize it, the students aren’t just having fun with a story, they’re learning basic skills in literacy, creativity writing and critical thinking, disciplines that, in times past, might have been delivered by a teacher in a traditional lecture format.
There’s not much question as to preferred way to teach these skills. The kids have bought in with the kind of enthusiasm that’s hard to produce in a traditional method of teaching.
Get a kid excited about learning and the biggest battles are already won.
We applaud our schools for defying conventional methods of teaching to explore ways in which students can be more active participants in the learning process.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.