Educated Differently

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How many content can we teach about some specific area?

Will our students be specialist about ancient Egypt, World War II or about anatomy, for example?

This morning I have been talking with some teachers about this and nobody agreed about which is the most important part of the history that need to be taught in the school.

I am not talking about forgetting the contents; they are very useful, but as well as technology, they cannot be the goal of the learning process.

It may sound a bit harder, but I truly believe so.

Which person is the most illiterate?

The one that doesn’t know anything about literature? The one who has no idea about blogging or those who are not able to list the name of the last ten presidents of their country?

We must think that we are asking to our students to know about all these topics.

I am talking here about using the contents as excuse to develop skills and abilities.

Here are some examples.

Khan Academy Knowledge map

Everybody knows about Khan Academy and its videos and its way of using the gamification of the learning, but this amazing feature is less famous.

When the student picks an area to work with, the system suggest what will be the next steps to take, so the teacher can suggest where they can start from but nobody knows what they will be learning after a week, because their knowledge map will be evolving depending on their likes or areas of interest.

If we leave the book and its proposal of content a bit aside we will find that the students will keep learning and obtaining, at the same time, competences like “decision making”, “problem solving” or “learning to learn”.

Europe Beyond the Classroom

This project, developed in Julio Verne Bilingual School and presented in Microsoft European Forum in 2012, was based on the content “learning about Europe”

What can I teach about Europe in one month? Capitals? Borders? Rivers? Anything that is just one click away.

Instead of that, we asked the 12 years old students to plan a trip to any capital of Europe.

They needed to plan everything: the flights, the hotel reservation and how to get there, the clothes they needed to bring depending on the weather during their trip, what to see and visit, what to eat…

We shared an OneNote with them and they spend a month searching and recording all this information. They could see other classmate’s work and it was fine.

At the end of the lesson, maybe they couldn’t tell us the whole list of countries in Europe, they acquired a lot of, from my point of view, more valuable skills.

These are just a couple of examples about what we think, in Julio Verne Bilingual School, is to be EDUCATED DIFFERENTLY

Educated Differently is the name of one special day in our school what happens once a term. As families are a very important part of our community they are invited to our rooms to see, told by their own children, how we understand education.

Many projects are shown that day but the most important thing is that the teachers are telling how they have done it; students learn how to resent their own work in front of adults acquiring more competences and, demonstrating that those projects are real.

During the last Microsoft Global Forum in Barcelona I have heard that, maybe, my students will work as drone drivers, weather coordinators or garbage miners… how can I teach them to do so if I don’t even know what are these jobs about? How can I focus my work in handing in some content completely useless for their future…

I just can’t.

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