Rethinking the Assignment: How to Make Learning Stick

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

Rethinking the Assignment: How to Make Learning Stick

Posted in Evolving Ed | November 19, 2014

Here's a question for you: how has technology changed the way you teach? The fact that many of you reading this use an LMS, among other tools, to encourage student discovery and communication suggests a dramatic shift in instruction compared to just a few years ago. But as Mr. Bradley Kemp says, "Change is not an event. It is a process."  

Take the old run-of-the-mill assignment, for example. "We're giving a lot of assignments, still to this day, that were invented before the internet," explained Alan November in his NEXT keynote address. "We should be designing assignments that students can't Google." 

But what does that even mean? You can Google pretty much anything nowadays.

Cory Klinge, the Education Technology Supervisor for River Falls Schools in Saint Paul, MN, touched on this in his blog, 2 Ideas for Rethinking Classroom Instruction. In his post, he pleads with educators to push students beyond simply taking notes and memorizing facts during videos to actually synthesizing the information they gather in creative ways—tweets, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.

When students take information they learn and turn it into something creative, they have to make sense of the information, figure out how to represent it, plan their strategy, follow through with it, and overcome challenges along the way. Google can't do all of that and present it in front of the class!

Plus, if there's one thing that technology is great at, it's helping us create __insert anything__. 

This raw potential, however, can add to the challenge. As someone who often stares at a blank white page struggling to write the first word, I know too well that the enormous breadth of possibilities can paralyze rather than invigorate us. But you're not alone.

So if you're pondering how you might breathe fresh air into old assignments, consider asking our global community in Schoology's Public Groups. Your peers are your best resources for ideas and creative inspiration; there's no doubt about that.

Also, check out this list of blogs and videos—written and directed by members of our community—that inspired me:

What does the ultimate assignment look like to you? Share your thoughts below with your Twitter handle and we might just send them through the Twitterverse. 


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