Learner-Driven experiences have proven to be far more engaging than Teacher-Driven ones. The chart on page 19 of “Evolving Learner” illustrates this, and the statistics offered by Gallup also paint a similar picture. For those who rely on more qualitative methods, you can ask any student in your class about what motivates them. Gavin Litfin, an incoming 6th Grade Student, and Host of “You Should Too,” an online travel video blog, also proved this with his independent actions while schools shut down.
Gavin said, “No one told me to do a blog. I was feeling pretty trapped by the whole COVID-19 situation, and I really wanted to explore anywhere other than my house. Traveling and history are things I like, and I found that making cool videos and posting them online was a way to share my past experiences with others. I’m learning a lot and having fun reliving the experiences, but the point of my blog isn’t just to tell you about a place. It’s about getting you motivated to go experience amazing things too. I also know there are tons of kids in the world who maybe can’t go to the places where I talk about for one reason or another. Hopefully, this blog lets them see beyond the area they live, and lets them learn from what I’ve been lucky enough to do.”
Gavin’s actions confirm what most educators know to be true; that students will go much further than any rubric would ask when they are given flexibility. Also, when you dig deeper into what Gavin did on his own, you see how much more enriching and creative, his experience has been than a more traditional report. While both approaches have students learn about and promote a location, Gavin’s decision to create a video blog as a means of “owning his learning” clearly outweighs the benefits of written efforts alone.