I have one focus and I ask myself one question. The focus is to design engaging learning experiences for students. The one question is: How do we design an environment that makes kids want to come to school every day?
I believe there are three main components involved in meeting the focus and answering the question. The learning, the environment, and the overall learner experience. These three components allow schools to engage students in meaningful ways and potentially hook them into becoming lifelong learners.
Learning can be simultaneously rigorous and engaging. I often hear about learning activities that hit the mark when to comes to student engagement but leave more to be desired in the area of academic rigor. In order to shift the narrative to rigorous and engaging, standards alignment should be added. Sometimes the best learning happens when students don’t know they are learning and think that they are just having fun. Designing experiences for students will help cement learning for students. I can recall the time that my 8th-grade class took a trip to Washington, D.C. For me, it created a lasting memory about U.S. History because I had the opportunity to see history come to life.
The Learning Environment
Schools should consider designing learning spaces for the way they plan for learning to take place. Workshop, collaboration, and large group instructional spaces are a few examples of the flexible spaces that can be implemented within the classroom setting. We created collaboration areas throughout the building to give students a choice of the place where they will learn. As a result, we have found that our students appreciate having the choice to do their work in places other the classroom.
The Learner Experience
Students need an experience that’s different and authentic. The learner experience can be one that drives students to the school instead of away from the school. Our learner experience is focused on customer service. We want students to know that they are important and everything that happens in school revolves around the goal of learning. What if students went through their day having choices and responsibility as opposed to being told what to do all day? We seek to create an experience that supports and empowers students. They have a voice in how they learn. The average person experiences around 5,000 advertisements daily (Schroeder, 2016). I believe we should market the product lifelong learning and future success to our students.