Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Teaching Tip #95

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #95

How do you allow for personalization in your classroom / subject area?  These are the post-millennials.  These are the kids who we (yes, we are to blame for the generations after us because WE raised them to be the way they are) raised without the ability to fail.  These are the kids who we gave a trophy to just for competing in the tournament, regardless of winning anything.   These are the kids who we raised knowing that it wasn’t their fault.  The teacher was too hard on them.  Their boss wasn’t being fair.  The coach only played her favorites . . .

So not only are they used to being catered too, but they are also the most marketed to generation in the history of the planet.  If it isn’t commercials, it’s advertising on Youtube or any webpage.  Or it’s social media enticing them.

And if all that isn’t enough, this generation has the ability to customize almost every single thing in their lives. Just look at their iPhones.  The case is unique and reflects some type of passion (mine, for example, is from Etsy and combines my life for apple and Star Wars).  Their screen saver is customized (mine is of my daughter Kenzie striking a pose on the first day of school).  Their background is also customized (mine is of my son, Cash, showing off his Captain America hat).  Every single app is customized in that there are only a handful of standards apps on the iPhone.  The rest are individually purchased or downloaded from the app store (on mine, for example, I have a folder of education apps (dropbox, twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Facebook, Google Drive, podcasts, Instagram . . .).  Each of those apps are individually customized as well (my Instagram has my unique tagline and information as well as avatar and background pic and the podcasts are unique to just my specific tastes).

Yet, when students come to our classes, what do they get to customize?

Very little.

How can we allow them to customize our class?

I am no expert at this, but I also try to allow them to help me set the core values for our class and set up the class rules/expectations.  This way they have buy in, and they have ownership in the class.

It is by no means perfect, but it is vital in creating our culture in room 205.

There is no way I’m doing any of that, you say.  Okay.  I get it.  Students won’t be able to do any of that in college or at work (at least both instances are rare), but the college classes and employers who do allow for customization will get far more out of their students and workers.  And isn’t that really what we’re after?


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