March 1, 2012

The evolution of a Results Only Learning Environment

Most traditional classes never evolve. They start stale and only get worse with each day of boring drill-and-kill routine. The Results Only Learning Environment is different, because it is constantly evolving.

Even if some activities are repeated periodically -- time for daily reading in a language arts class, for example -- the ROLE teacher is always finding new ways to engage learners. She is constantly pointing them to new technology and other sources of information.

This is especially important for reluctant learners. I have one class this year that has numerous students who are willing to sit idly by and do nothing. It's been a constant challenge to engage them throughout the year. There are days when I think maybe they need to sit and do worksheets, but I quickly realize that what they need is a new, exciting path to learning.

We work on computers often, with my students blogging and writing on private web pages. Even this typically-engaging activity seemed to be boring my reluctant learners. So, I decided to give them what they wanted -- more time to surf the Internet. I introduced them to the social bookmarking site, Diigo. All they had to do was read anything of interest, bookmark it appropriately for our digital library and provide a brief, well-written annotation.

Suddenly, my toughest class was reading, writing and bookmarking articles without extra goading from me. In fact, many started working on the project during their own free time.

Teaching in a results-only class isn't always easy, but when you persevere and find what truly gets students excited about learning, it's always fun.