School is More Than Just Knowing

In today’s digital society, obtaining knowledge is easy and cheap.  The Internet exponentially grows each day with information crowdsourced by its global users.  Thus, a library’s print collection cannot match with the Web’s immediate access and extensive data.

Anyone can freely acquire up-to-date knowledge, and examples are abundant.  Non-musicians have learned to play a guitar through Youtube videos.  Children have learned to solve linear equations through Khan’s Academy.  Even non-tech adults have learned to program computers through the many free online courses.

Therefore the skill of acquiring knowledge is not as valuable as applying knowledge.  Today many employers seek people who can design and innovate solutions from readily available data.  In tomorrow’s job market, our young people’s competitiveness depends on this type of skill set.  That is, they need to think critically, collaborate, communicate, and create high quality products.  However, theses skills can be limited by some schools’ emphasis on knowledge recall or test scores.

Fortunately many schools are moving to the project based learning (PBL) approach, which extends knowledge into action.  In a PBLenvironment, students address a driving question through in-depth inquiry.  By receiving regular feedback, students can independently create high quality products.  Often their work is communicated to an authentic audience.  As a result, PBL demands higher rigor from students and supports creativity, innovation, and resilience.

Mr.Alexander Lyves engages students in a discussion about using satire.

Currently Mr. Alexander Lyvers’, our Grade 7 Humanities teacher, uses PBL to engage his students.  He explained that this Grade 7 project was based on the driving question “What is truth?”  The students researched a variety of informational sources, along with studying the literature Nothing but the Truth by Avi.  Using collaborative digital tools the students wrote satires and screenplays.  Eventually his pupils will produce satirical video documentaries.  No doubt, Mr. Lyvers is just one example of how AIS is fostering 21st Century skills essential for our students.

Because technology is constantly shaping our society, teaching and learning at AIS needs to be flexible and adaptable to changes.  Learning experiences like PBL fosters pedagogy that can equip our students with valuable skills.  As a community, let us welcome new ways we can support our children to succeed in our ever-changing world.

From AIS Eagle-i

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