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BRING THE OUTSIDE WORLD INTO YOUR CLASSROOM: An immersive approach to learning can do more than prepare your students for college and career; it places them front and center in the real world.

The value of relevance permeates new educational models, such as project-based learning, big-picture learning, and flipped classrooms. By introducing sftidents to activities and skills they'll need to master to succeed in the outside world, so the thinking goes, they'll be prepared for what comes next--college and career.

While that's certainly valid, notes Sir Ken Robinson, TED Talk phenom, teacher, writer, researcher, adviser and speaker, it's also true that "childhood is not a rehearsal." As he explains in his newest book. You, Your Child, and School, "Your children are living their Uves now with their own feelings, thoughts and relationships. Education has to engage with them in the here and now."

The book intends to help parents support their children throughout their education by examining whether or not a school is the right one. In an era where choice dominates the educational conversation, the decision-making will increasingly be influenced by how well schools invest in key areas such as technology usage, imaginative forms of STEM instruction, and opportunities for students to "try on'" occupations or flex their entrepreneurial muscles.

To get a sense of what this immersive approach looks like on the ground, consider these three scenarios:

* It's no longer enough for elementary students to be able to collaborate oil writing articles for a school newspaper or literary magazine that is read only by proud parents. Now they want to be able to sell advertising space to local businesses; print their publications in high-quality, four-color for paid distribution to families, friends and the broader community; and invest their earnings in new classroom gear.

* Instead of simply adding a new piece of equipment to your middle school classroom, bring that new printer in right off the pallet and let students hold an "unboxing" event. While one team pulls each piece of technology out of the box and describes it in detail, a second team can handle installation, a third team can video the "big reveal," and a fourth team can be standing by ready to edit and post the recorded results. Not only does this approach help students gain a deep appreciation for the cool technology around them, it also gives them an edge in understanding how it works, how it's used, and what it can add to their learning.

* Introduce a formal program where high school students set up their own internships under mentors in the fields in which they're interested. Students will gain practice in seeking out possible jobs, writing cover letters, developing resumes, and making phone calls--under the watchful guidance of adult advisers. Plus, they'll see how professionals do their jobs up close, using industry-grade practices and technologies, which translates to true experiential learning.

"Who your children become and what they go on to do in the future has everything to do with the experiences they have in the present," says Robinson in his new book. By immersing students in experiences and technology that reflect their immediate interests, aspirations and capabilities; you'll engage them on a deeper level that doesn't just mimic the real-world--it is the real world.

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Title Annotation:GameChanger
Publication:T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2018
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