Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rethinking Homework

At one time I never gave students homework after their IT lessons - it just wasn't possible.  Their work lived on a server at school and it wasn't accessible from home.  In the last couple of years there has been a shift - most of their work now lives in the cloud and they can access it from anywhere.  As a result homework and classwork have made a complete about-turn.  Whereas at one time students did their research from books, then brought their notes to the IT labs to turn into some sort of presentation, now I'm seeing the opposite happening.

In PYP schools our focus is on inquiry - students are now engaging in the inquiry process at school, where we can see how much help and support they need - and at home they are turning this research into fabulous presentations that they later can share with the class.  The tools are all Web 2.0 tools and easy to use.  I am not assessing them on the tools - only on the learning.  If they need help in using the tools outside class, that's fine, what I am concerned with in class is helping them to find and validate the information perhaps by collaborating with other students or experts around the world, and helping them decide the most effective ways that they can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.  Sometimes in class we start off using a tool, but don't have time to really finish with it.  Students know this isn't a problem.  In their own time they can access their work and continue with it.  Actually they are keen to do this.  No student in the past few years has ever grumbled about using the computer to work at home, they don't even see it as homework, they just want continue creating - in fact often they ask if they can carry on at home.  In this way learning has become something that takes place any time and anywhere.

Photo Credit:  The Joys of Homework by Cayusa

1 comment:

  1. Learning is not something that is restricted to the time-frame from 8-15. Especially when students engage in inquiry, the traditional timetable just doesn't work anymore. That applies to homework as well. As a class teacher, I am supposed to assign weekly Math homework, but to be honest, we often don't do that. So, the students take Math packs home, that includes Math games for them to enjoy at home. They love it, and it has its place, and luckily parents do not complain either. But back to the point. Sometimes, I have students stay in during break, because they are learning, and even a 15 min break can "ruin the moment". The nice thing about web 2.0 tools is as you said, they are accessible at home, and nearly all of my students have worked on them at home, without prompt, finding out more about it than ever planned.