Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Student Driven Learning Goes Retro

Sitting up on one of my shelves beside the Ichiro bobble head is my Rubik's Cube. I have had this puzzle with me since the 80's. Two days ago one of my teachers bursts into my office "YOU GOTTA SEE THIS" he says. In walks one of his students with his own cube. The teacher proceeds to mix the cube quite thoroughly. Two minutes later the cube has been solved in a flurry of wrist twirls.

In of itself, this child's talent was impressive. But what excited me even more was the conversation that I had with the student after his demonstration. I of course wanted to know how long this student had been practicing for. He replied that he just started last week. I was floored. I remember spending months back in the 80's reading books and practicing moves and sharing strategies with my friends. This student had accomplished the same feat in a week.

How did you learn. He directed me to the net. "YouTube has a series of tutorials and you just watch them to learn about the 8 different moves you need to make."



Two days later, my student came back with a 5 x 5 cube and explained that he had learned how to solve this one. He was now working on an even bigger one and he was teaching his younger brother who had been watching him and wanted to learn.

This grade 5 student has now grasped the concept of what an algorithm is. It is my intention to show him a few algorithms that apply to solving mathematical tasks. What a way to engage students. My challenge to the students will be to find other video tutorials by kids for kids that can be applied to the activities they are doing in class.

What online tutorials do you use in your classrooms?

1 comment:

Dave Truss said...

I've used a few different online tutorials with students, but I think the real power comes from having them create tutorials for you!
Here is a place to do both: find and create how-to projects: