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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Teachers and Students Meet in the Middle: As Learners!

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant

One of the things I love to see most in a one-to-one school -- a laptop school -- is a student teaching a teacher. And it is not just seeing the student as teacher that is so powerful; a big part of my enjoyment is in seeing a teacher who is willing to become a student. And, to be honest, I think this is the way it has to be.

When a teacher sees a student do something with a laptop and responds with, "Wow, I don't know how you did that. Can you show me?" and then turns to the class to say, "Hey, folks, we've got another expert in the room!" a student has become a teacher, a teacher has become a student, and all have been reinforced as members of a vital learning community. And the viral spread of appropriate information will ensure that soon all will have this new skill!

I expect teachers to know the curriculum well and kids to be more comfortable with the technology. The real magic happens when a culture develops that values the gifts of all contributors to the community, so that deep learning for all students can move ahead.

I love "Leapin' Lizards!: Students as Data Collectors," the story about the NatureMapping project -- something that began because a kid said, after reading in a science book or being told by a scientist that horned toad lizards aren't found in farm fields, "Hey, that's not true -- we find them all the time!" or something along those lines. The student knew something that was worth listening to, the teacher listened and learned, and so began a project that has such potential.

And this scenario is never clearer than in a one-to-one classroom. The pedagogy and culture have to change with the arrival of laptops. Everyone has to be willing to be a part of -- and emotional space must be provided for -- meeting in the middle as learners! And, as a bonus, when we listen to our students and engage them as colleagues, intellectual vandalism and other issues simply fall away and engagement and investment in learning soar.

How are you learning from your students? And, no, I don't expect it all has to do with technology!

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant
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