Challenge Based Learning

It's been a little while since I have done a reflection, but I am excited to talk about Challenge Based Learning. I know this concept has gone by a few different names over the years, but this is what it's called now. Basically, in class, students are presented with a problem and asked to come up with ways to solve it. So rather than just studying the effects of global warming, students would be challenged to figure out ways to fix it in their day lives. This means students would have to first research and understand at least one aspect of global warming so they can find ways to fix it. They are learning and doing at the same time.
Apple jumped on board and has the challenge based learning ideas on their website, though it is not an Apply concept. This kind of lesson planning fits closely with traditional lesson planning, just with a new twist. To use this kind of learning the experts say you must start with a big idea such as conservation, power, peace etc.. The next step is making this big deal local and personal; something the students can understand. These questions aren't meant to have correct answers; they are meant to make the students think.Then, based on the essential questions, teachers must challenge the students to generate concrete answers or solutions. Students then have to decide what information they need to know to answer the challenge. The questions they ask are called guiding questions.Since the challenge and questions should have been broad enough to allow for multiple answers, students or teams will present their solution to the challenge.

This way of thinking and teaching can be used in almost every subject.While pondering how this could be used in English, I wondered what it would look like for students to go through this process pretending they were a character in the book or play they read and use the reality of the story to guide their answers. Then to relate it specifically to them, they could compare it to the real world. This is a slightly different twist to the typical challenge based learning, but it is a way to teachers to use it without cutting too much from their curriculum. Apple's website has great resources and further explanations about Challenge Based Learning and wonder examples for teachers to us in their classrooms.


Podcast Reflection #12

I really enjoyed listening to this moving at the speed of creativity podcast 373. Wesley reflected on Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From. He talked in depth about creativity and collaboration. It is definitely worth a listen. I want to reflect more in depth on one specific issue he raised. Wesley said websites should to stop charging for information and articles online. He says information gate keeping just limits how what people can learn. It keeps the public uninformed, and this practice should be reformed.
I should warn you that I don’t have a definitive stance on this issue because I agree that it is a good idea, but I don’t think it is practical. As a student, I have almost unlimited access to information because K-State pays for subscriptions to all these online resources. I can find nearly anything I want with a few simple searches. I think this is essential for students and would be very beneficial to all people. Limiting the information someone has access to limits that person’s potential to make a difference in the world. This is why I do agree that people shouldn’t have to pay for information on the internet.
The problem with this is we live in a capitalist country and a largely capitalist world. We agree that whomever generates information owns that information. Before the internet, any research or articles had to be published in a book, journal or magazine, which people had to buy.  So why should the internet be any different? Researchers, authors, editors and the like need a way to earn a living. A good alternative to this would simply be to add advertising. However, many readers and publishers alike feel that real, legitimate sites shouldn’t have this advertising because it feels cheap. So, while I would like public access to all information, I think the way the world views information and ownership will have to change before any major changes can be made.
Here is a video Steven Johnson made that summarizes some of his ideas.