Monday, March 15, 2010

Answering a Question About "No Home Work"

I was being snarky on a friend's post on face book and elicited this question from an old fencing buddy who is thinking of getting back into teaching.

From Taro:

I'm curious as to how you would use tablet/notebook computers such that the need for homework would be eliminated.

No problem.

First of all, it requires a commitment from the student, parents, and teachers to take control of their media and internet connection. There are a variety of inexpensive notebook computers and tablet (around $500) and high speed internet access is becoming as standard today as a land line was 10 years ago. If teachers and educators take an honest look at how they spend their time, they will find that a majority of their time is wasted.

Most of what traditionally goes on in class is direct instruction (lecturing) and/or cooperative learning (an evolved form of "group work"); both of which relies on students having "done the homework from the night before." So instead of assigning reading or repetitious problems to solve (much of which the parents cannot or will not help with), why not use a variety of freeware that allows a teacher to package their lectures and class assignments into down loadable content? All the information that they get passively in class can be taken care of at home, and then the reinforcement and practice happens a t school with their teacher (the expert).

In other words traditional homework and projects are done at school, collaboratively and with teacher guidance. The boring and trite stuff can happen at home where the kids get most of their information anyway. Instead of googling randomly for information, students go to the teacher's private social network and can get the necessary information from a more reliable source before they start surfing the web.

I am already doing this in my English class and the students go to my "ning" to do their "homework" but the practical learning takes place in my class room where I can keep an eye on it.

1 comment:

  1. Clever, and true. I already teach several of my college courses, this way. The assigned reading is done at home (mostly online), the homework is interactive and submitted online (via Blackboard), and class time can be spent on participative exercises that encourage a true understanding of the material by doing and discussing in a meaningful way, rather than lecturing (while my adult students are on their facebook accounts). kudos to you for thinking innovatively!