The process of involving students in meaningful learning experiences does not stop at the elementary level. This is a process that takes time, patience, and insight, and one that will continue into adulthood as well. When students are able to see the relevance of what they are learning to their day to day lives, it enriches the learning process, and they can make real connections with what they are learning.
What does meaningful learning look like now that many elementary, middle school, high school, and college-level classes have made the often difficult and impromptu transition to offer their classes online? Along with promoting safe online learning tips and practices, here are some other insights and practices on how to incorporate these learning strategies into the online learning process for all age levels:
- Make the learning process engaging and meaningful for students by asking effective questions by following the Bloom’s Taxonomy level of questioning, which evaluates questions according to their type and promotes critical thinking skills in the classroom environment. Some levels of questioning include synthesizing smaller facts and information into a larger whole, evaluation, creating, and in assessing general comprehension skills. Some educational websites even provide teachers with a handy flipbook to use to guide students through these critical evaluative processes that promote great understanding. Also, older students can use their critical thinking skills to analyze questions and match it to the corresponding question type on the Bloom’s Taxonomy chart.
- Offer students a way to write about how they see or view a topic, or what they would do similarly, or differently in a situation that a character is facing, such as when students write about how they would or would not develop a time machine in H.G. Well’s classic book, “The Time Machine,” or another topic of interest in which students can make meaningful connections with. Students can also share ways verbally and in writing how their learning has changed, improved, or developed over the course of these few months due to online learning now being implemented at home, and how this learning modality has impacted them and their learning styles and habits.
- Make online learning meaningful by offering a way for individual classmates to evaluate their own learning styles, such as by implementing Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences Checklist for your students here: https://cf.ltkcdn.net/kids/files/3239-Multiple-Intelligences-Worksheet1.pdf.
- Students can use online tools, such as IXL.com, to keep track of their learning throughout different subject areas according to their appropriate grade levels. To do this, they log onto the website and select their grade to see their grade-level learning standards and skill areas. They can even review skills learned from previous grades, and keep track of the personalized concepts and skills they need additional instructional support with through the site. Although this does not replace real in-person learning, and requires a monthly subscription fee, it can be used to supplement learning for students.
- Have students participate in a personal collage project where they make personal portraits of themselves. Teachers can select the materials that will be used, which may include ribbon, buttons, glue, sequins, and other art materials used in the collage project. By participating in this type of project, teachers can get a good understanding of how the students see themselves, and the projects can be uploaded to a shareable online site, such as Google Classroom, for the duration of online learning. Teachers can assess how students see themselves through art projects such as this, and the portraits can later be displayed in the home. Students can also use paper strips to add their name onto the project. Also, younger students can use pc-based platforms, such as Paint, to make portraits of themselves.