WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!!!!!
I had just returned from mat leave and was so inspired, I thought, I HAVE to get back to my blog and share what I've learned.
I could write a book about the myriad of tips and tricks I learned to improve my teaching and better the lives of the students in my class, but for now I will focus on just one.... drum roll please...
Edu Quest/French Quest, AKA: Gaming. Differentiation at its finest. Students working at their own pace. No deadlines. No schedule. Engaging projects. Success for all.
This is the future of teaching my friends. THIS.
Talk about inquiry based learning at its finest. Let me paint you a picture: You walk into the classroom and EACH student is ACTIVELY engaged, excited, and passionate about EVERY project they're working on. There is collaboration, creativity, leadership, confidence, all in one place. There are hardly any behavioural problems. Sounds too good to be true? Let me explain.
EduQuest is an educational tool, a platform, that allows students to win badges. These badges can be earned alone, in partners, in groups, however they see fit. For example, in a French class, learning 250 new words on the Duolingo app is worth a badge. The student simply takes a snapshot of their screen, showing their username (proving it's them) and the amount of new words learned, and uploads it into their EduQuest account. Once the teacher sees this, s/he approves it and the student has earned a badge! So fun! So easy!
There are also no deadlines. Only when a project is done (and both student and teacher agree it is done to the best of the students' ability) will it be submitted. Whether it takes a day, a week, or a month. "WHAT!" I yelled out during the presentation at the Google Summit. "How do you assess the students then?" I asked the founder, Erica Armstrong. "It all depends on how much support your students need. If they needed your guidance every step of the way, you assess them accordingly. Plus, you know your students best."
This made so much sense to me! You are setting students up for success! There are no rubrics, no useless feedback (not that all feedback is useless, don't get me wrong, but it has to be done very effectively and in a timely fashion for it to be constructive), no "next time I encourage you to...". There is no "next time". This is it, and because they have chosen the project they're working on, because they're passionate about it, they will do what it takes to make it as good as they can. It will be done according to THEIR personal "best".
Additionally, there is no daily schedule. Students come in to class, they pick a badge or project they are working on, and get to work. Again, because students are picking projects they want to be working on, there is no "slacking" or "wasting time".
Carrying out this new, innovative, and exciting platform in a class, while also trying to cover the curriculum, can be a challenge, but it is a challenge that I am willing to face and learn from.
I would love to hear other people's thoughts, or if you've tried it in your class, please share! What I imagine my class to look like, is that I'd set up guidelines. For example, I may tell students they have to do a certain amount of badges in Math/French/Writing, etc. by the end of the Month. I'm not sure! I will learn as I go!
What I do know is that this is the future of teaching. Student can literally work on anything they want. Learning is fun and it's real. They can take a passion and bring it to life, whether it's interviewing someone and making a TedTalk about it, then getting it published online, or building the latest app - what an experience!
The program costs a bit of money, but it something I am willing to pay even out of my own pocket. It is SO worth it. I believe it's $10 a month or $100 for the school year. You can set up a whole class with that.
To learn more about Edu Quest and French Quest please click on the following links:
To contact Erica Armstrong, the founder:
- Twitter: @ms_e_a
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that everything here is strictly my opinion. I did not get paid to talk about this program. I merely believe in it and what it can do for the future of our classrooms.