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Welcome to a midweek post with my mix of educational ideas with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It is amazing the impact that the NCAA tournament has on students. In this reflection I would like to share a story and dream about educational transformation. We must learn to put into practice some of the best lessons never taught!
It was twenty minutes before the first school bell would ring, signifying the beginning of another day of learning. Students were beginning to enter and fill the classroom. There was air of extreme excitement as the teacher looked from nook to corner. It was a typical room filled with students, desks, chairs, and a few computers. This morning seemed to be different from the others. The teacher stood perplexed, in awe of an amazing event that was beginning to unfold. Students were using computers and printers to produce what appeared to be a complicated worksheet. Some kids were on the floor while others were seated at tables eagerly filling the paper out! Their eyes were filled with inquiry and enthusiasm as they completed the graphical sheet from top to bottom! It was definitely a worksheet experience like no other the teacher had ever witnessed! Upon closer inspection the teacher realized the students had searched for and found the new NCAA Basketball Brackets.
The teacher watched students engaged in a true spirit of collaboration, as they learned from each other some interesting facts about various college teams. Geography was a main topic, as students discovered using Google Maps, the location of various universities. The teacher could hear students compare and contrast strengths and weakness of the various competitors, while others children used mathematics to perform some comparative scoring. There was a massive research symposium, as students looked on the internet to find out what the experts of the newly found science of “Bracketology” thought! Some students came to the teacher ready to present their reasoning for their selections and amazingly showcased their persuasion skills. Any observer would have been amazed by the thought, creativity, and reflections that the students were able to share. It appeared that that the students were in control of this special learning experience. They had created their own lesson with an engagement based on their interest in the real world. It was much like watching a game of neighborhood baseball long before the advent of sanctioned leagues and teams.
The twenty minutes were soon past as the bell rang, and announced yet another day of learning. The Brackets Papers were put away, while the room came to a silent halt. Students left their collaborative groups and sat in their individual seats. They pulled out a worksheet, some only half filled out, assigned from the day before. The teacher initiated a lecture entitled ” Making Predictions Using Compare and Contrast”. The students appeared to listen as they took notes. After all this was an important standard to be repeated for a test. What a change the bell had made. The March of Madness was over. It was now a time to learn!
Thanks for joining me on another reflection of 21st Century Learning! Please take a moment and follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we will learn from one another. You are also welcome to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with free and amazing resources. As you make your pick for the NCAA Basketball Tournament make sure the real winner is your facilitation of 21st century educational transformation! Put the kids in center court! Please feel free to leave any comments and have a great week – Mike