Big Ideas Fest (#bif2010), Day 20 Comments
theme of the rapid-fire talks at Big Ideas Fest (twitter hash tag
#Bif2010) stressed the importance of incorporating student feedback into
the design process of a school's educational lessons.
Sharyn Gabriel, a Middle School Principal in Florida, shared how she listened to students to create a video game design course that incorporated collaborative problem solving, mathematics and English language arts. This course helped to get some of even her most disillusioned students back on track to being engaged learners inside of their classrooms.
Diego Navarro, Founder, Director and Instructor of the Academy for College Excellence, stressed the importance of allowing students kicked out of the traditional high school experience to become equal stake-holders when they attempt to reclaim their high school degree and become college ready in an alternative learning setting. He argued against the proliferation of the industrial model of education in lower income communities in favor of creating Socratic dialogues and seminar style class environments for these students that had been deemed failures by the traditional education system.
The take-home message from these speakers, and others like them, emphasized making students, especially those not responding to traditional educational pedagogy, equal stake-holders in the restructuring of their educational plans. Both Sharyn and Diego spoke to the hardships many adult educators face when trying to ‘go up against’ the learning status-quo in their districts, but they both expounded upon the payoffs that you can get from your at-risk students that make the upward battle to restructure traditional education for your failing and/or flailing student population all the more worthwhile.