Friday, February 1, 2013

Spongy Learners Need to Get Moving!

Here is an interesting observation that I’ve been having while coaching our teachers in the #ipadacademy.  We’ve conditioned our students to sit, be still, and listen.  We expect them to be little sponges that will just soak up everything we say at them.  And don’t get me wrong, a lot of students are now really good at this.  What’s wrong with that you ask?  Well, now we are attempting to change the face of education with the use of ipads in our district.  

What my colleagues @techiefeldie and @catlett1 and I are finding is that the ipad requires a more active learner.  Students must tap here, tap there, look up information, create presentations, do some mind mapping, video taping, and publishing.  It’s an interesting change in the classroom and one that doesn’t happen as seamlessly as one might assume.  

What if those kids who were never good at listening in the first place start to make leaps and bounds, while the students who got really good at listening and taking notes suddenly start to slip?  Be on the lookout for the telltale signs of confusion at these new demands.  

Symptoms might look like this:
1.)  A look of panic when a student is told to log into “Drive”  Drive What?
2.)  Squinting at an online article, because a student didn’t know zooming was an option.
3.)  Taking an obsessively long time checking out images, because there are so many choices
4.)  Whining for attention from the teacher when he or she is supposed to be defining a word in the Dictionary App

These are just a few of the behaviors I’ve noticed recently and I hope that they begin to diminish soon as our learners becomes more active.  This environment also increases the opportunity for collaboration and students need the time to talk to each other and share ideas.  It’s a great time for education and I am hopeful that as they become more accustomed to these new demands students will inevitably become less of a sponge and more of a take charge kind of learner!  

Written by Jennifer Krzystowczyk


  1. Jenny, I found some of the same issues with my sophomore/junior level class when I "flipped" a chapter in Algebra 2. Some students aren't scared to dive into learning and the spongers really got a bit whiny. Its a scary deal taking charge of your own learning! Also scary when you don't get spoon fed all answers!! Transition is hard, but so fun and worthwhile :-)

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