Today, however, we tend to think that using online tools that appeal to young people will automatically ensure their engagement. Genuine passion cannot be ignited with a podcast or a blog. Instead, we need to give our students the freedom to learn and engage with ideas that they find relevant and important.
My interest in blogging comes from wanting to learn more about engagement of parents and students. Coming into this I knew “it’s not the tools, it’s what you do with them“, but I was thinking in terms of having parents and students take greater interest in education because they were participating in it. Now I hope we can go even further – all the way to schools that ignite passion.
I think the idea of giving a student the freedom to find his/her passion resonates with me because my son has the opportunity to pick a subject or topic for a project that he can work on independently when he has completed his regular class work, and he will have access to a computer (not sure what that means in terms of web tools yet).
Problem – our discussion of passion revealed he didn’t really understand what I was getting at. (So I had him look up the meaning of the word online without thinking of how else the word is used – I had to think quickly to get out of that jam). We finally made some progress when we discussed what he was interested in learning about.
In the absence of knowing ones passions can we substitute interests? Perhaps as a child explores interests they will become passions over time. So far we have determined his interests are figuring things out, puzzles, mazes, codes and making things.
As he would like to use the computer for this learning we’ve looked for some possible resources, but so far much of what I’ve found would amount to him “playing” online. He doesn’t really want to do a “history of” research piece – he wants to make something.
So, I’d welcome any suggestions you may have (other than Scratch which he uses a lot at home)…