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Do these children have time to learn deeply?

drimmer
Community Contributor
8 14 1,015

In a previous blog post I expressed how surprised I was that the students in my classes had not embraced Canvas in the way that I had imagined: Students who say, "just tell me what to memorise," and how to serve them

Yesterday, having spent another day enjoying the rich and varied discourse and resources in the Canvas Community, something novel occurred to me. These students may only have time and space to learn superficially.

The K-12 school where I work and use my Free-For-Teachers​ account is intensely timetabled. Students have obligations from 8am until 5:15pm Monday-Friday and 9:15am-4pm Saturday. These obligations include lessons and private study periods, but also chapel, sports, and service activities. Those that live on campus have 5:15-7pm as dinner/free time, then 7-9pm is when homework must be completed, before their final free hour before bed. The free time is when students fetch essentials from local shops, call their (often international) parents, catch up with friends, shower, go to the gym, etc. Maybe there isn't really time for 'reading around the subject' as we teachers so often insist is essential, unless we want them to forgo health, mental, as well as physical.

So, when I introduce Canvas and its wonderful elements (wonderments?!), but they don't seem enthused - maybe they are thinking, 'and how much more time is this going to take when you already set us the mandatory 1.5 hours of homework per week per subject...?'

I really like the idea of using Pinterest as highlighted here: How I integrated a pinterest board in my class . In fact, I had been looking for a collaboration space when I posed this question: Whiteboard collaboration space like a group blog​.

However, if I don't make it mandatory/graded, they won't go the extra mile. Maybe it is because of a lack of genuine passion for my subject. As I noted here:

...students have very rarely taken the subject before, but opt for it because it will lead to good job prospects. There is often little idea of what Economics is about and little interest other than, eventually, it will help them get a good career where they earn a lot of money.

So, how can I get them to really engage? I think the answer might be badges. Having done INSET training on gamification just after I discovered Canvas, I was immediately interested, but part of me was reticent - 'these children should learn for the sake of learning, not to earn points and level up!'

Now, having seen students take back marked work, ignore the comments and just look for a grade, I wonder if their busy lives mean that they don't feel that they have the (emotional) time/space to give more than the bare minimum. Maybe I do need to trick them into learning...and being able to appreciate that "not everything worth doing is graded." ( @jward ​, InstCon2015)

So, badges. I am going to spend a day trying to figure out if I can make badges that encourage engagement with the subject and Canvas, such as First Person to Start a Discussion, Completed First Quiz, Set-up Profile, Submitted Assignment at least 24hrs before Deadline...

I will be using the information below, lifted directly from  @jward 's presentation from InstCon2015​ which you can watch here:

Free-For-Teachers

Canvas Engagement Strategies

14 Comments
drimmer
Community Contributor

Urgh, someone with Mod privileges, please make the first sentence read thus: "In a previous blog post I expressed how surprised I was that..."

I can't edit it. Smiley Sad

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Strange... if you posted it, then you should be able to edit it. Can you edit your other post?

drimmer
Community Contributor

 @kona , you must be the Canvas fairy for, lo, the edit button appeared just as you didst say it would...

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

LOL... not sure about that, but very glad you were able to get in and do your edits!!

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

Canvas Fairy, I like that!  We already know Kona has a halo, we should make sure she has wings too!

Dr. Rimmer, as usual, I am humbled by your reflections and transparency as you seek to engage your students in an environment where natural organic engagement seems to be real struggle.  Wow, the schedule you listed is one that stresses me out as an adult.  I can't imagine how your students feel!  Thank you for continuing to share your journey!

t_logvynenko
Community Contributor

Dr Rimmer, what impressed me the most is your enthusiasm to reinvent the methods of teaching! Students do not have enough time. That is exactly what it is. Owing to strict deadlines, students spend all out-of-school time on completing assignments. In a word, they can even drop from fatigue at the end of the day, let alone motivation and inner desire to acquire knowledge. Can't wait to see your badges!

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

I agree will all the previous commenters.  Also, if time is the one commodity they are short on, I wonder how you could use Canvas and other tools to give them back more of it?

t_logvynenko
Community Contributor

There are no difficulties with it. Canvas was initially created to simplify educator-student interaction, save time and enhance the learning process. So, to make students understand all the benefits of such efficient services as Canvas and other similar tools, it is necessary to conduct a few brief explanatory lectures on how to make the most out of its handy features. It will be more than enough.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Dating myself here a bit but I remember the promise of computers to make the office paperless.  In prep for Instructurecon a few weeks ago I decided to print a (gasp!) handout that we could use in the Community tent.  I really had to work to find paper, get connected to the printer, etc.  I guess it worked...  But in the interim there was a period where we used computers to print even more paper - duplicating what we did previously but without the restraint of a more centralized printing authority.  My point is I wonder if educators who get access to Canvas (and our partner apps) go through a similar process where they essentially do what they did before, only using an LMS, before eventually adapting their practices to truly save time and make learning more efficient for students?

I think Tetiana has a very good point about briefing students specifically on how this technology will save them time and otherwise help them be successful - find out what people want and give it to them.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

By the way, I love the mast image on this blog post.  Dr Rimmer, did you lift it from one of Jared's posts?

awilliams
Community Champion

I recognize it also. Was it Jared's keynote last year? Either way, great use  @drimmer ​.

drimmer
Community Contributor

awilliams​ and  @scottdennis , it would be an extraordinary coincidence if it were an image  @jward  used - I found it on wikipedia after googling 'no time to learn' (no quotation marks)!

 @scottdennis  and t.logvynenko, I agree that the students need to be sold on the time saving - and I have tried - honestly! I thought the opportunity to access materials anywhere anytime would be very appealing, especially to international students that now don't have to cart heavy books home in the holidays. I also hoped that online work would be both familiar and efficient, but, as I have mentioned before, the students are not computer literate: some don't have or want the internet at home, some prefer crafting essays with their favourite fountain pen. There is also the reasonable argument that they won't use computers in the final examination, so need practice in hand-writing tasks.

I am determined to persevere!

drimmer
Community Contributor

Also if you can think of a way to handle students saying they don't like to read off screens, get headaches from blue light, prefer the tactile experience of manipulating physical materials (e.g. printed worksheets, matching cards, etc.), that would be great! Smiley Happy

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Ask them what type of job they plan on getting. My guess is that it's going to involve reading, understanding, and responding to things on a computer screen. Pick a job, just about any job, and you need to use a computer in some way shape or form. [So my initial take? Buck up buttercup, in the real world this is how it is so learn to deal now rather than later.]

At our school ALL welding courses use Canvas for all of their quizzes, handouts, etc. This means the students have to complete the mandatory Canvas Student Orientation (all online - students go through it themselves) in order to be able to access their courses.  We get a lot of complainers in my office wanting to know why they need to do this and why they need to use Canvas... they're just going to be welders. My response? With current welding technology don't you sometimes need to use a computer? Don't you need to use a computer to order parts, check things, enter in work information, etc? If you go into a job interview and have the same education as the previous applicant, but can say that you know how to use a computer and are comfortable/confident on one (and the other person isn't and doesn't want to use a computer), who do you think they're going to give the job to? Normally that quiets them up pretty quickly and they are good to go and don't mind using Canvas! Smiley Wink

Seriously though, in this day and age find a job that (the student would actually want) that doesn't use a computer. Thus you are preparing them for their future and their future careers!