5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently

This morning at the Ed Tech Teacher Google Jamboree I had the opportunity to give a short presentation to kick-off the day. The title of my talk was Preparing Students to Work Independently – Five Things We Should Be Doing. The slides from the presentation are embedded below. Below my slides you’ll find an outline of my talking points.

Nearly ten years ago Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod’s Did You Know/ Shift Happens (http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com/) videos made many of us aware of the fact that the nature of learning and the nature of work has irreversibly changed. Yet in many schools we continue to we still teach as if we are preparing students to work and learn in the 80’s and 90’s (you can pick the century). While there is value in some of the traditional methods we must strive to incorporate new perspectives and instructional strategies.

1. Acknowledge What’s New in the Classroom and the Workplace
What’s different in the academic world:
1. Ubiquitous access to the Internet.
2. Faster and larger networks of classmates, friends, and family. Students expect to tap these networks for help.
3. Increased school/ class choice.

What’s different in the workplace:
1. We’re doing jobs that didn’t exist 5 -10 years ago.
2. “Going to work” doesn’t mean you have to leave the house. My friend Kate is an IT manager for a Fortune 100 company and she hasn’t gone to her office in years.
3. “Getting a job” often means creating your own job.

2. What’s it mean to be an “expert.”
1. What’s easy to you is amazing to someone else.
2. Students don’t always need you for an answer. They might need you to simply guide them to an answer.
3. You don’t have to have all of the answers. Richard Branson makes the point that what he’s best at is connecting people to get the answers and put a plan together.

3. Create Wise Consumers of Information
1. Take time to think. What do you already know? Who do you already know?
2. How would someone else interpret this information?
3. Can you verify this information? Particularly important when using social media as a search tool.

4. Encourage and Support Publishing Online
1. Want to be a writer? Be a writer, tell people about what you write.
2. Publish a podcast, a YouTube channel.
3. Create and share games.
-Creating and publishing is what leads to “getting a job” or creating your own job.
-Creating and publishing is what can distinguish you from a crowd of students.

5. Working independently sometimes means working with others.
1. Acknowledging when a project is too big to handle alone.
2. Knowing when to ask for help and who to ask for help.

Stop and think, can these tools help my students learn, work, and thrive in a constantly changing world?


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!