My goal in creating this course was to create conditions by which students directed their own learning. This course is different than the experience I have had repeatedly throughout my career, which often finds me preparing students for an outside metric or collaborating with colleagues to maintain a consistent experience across multiple teachers. In many ways, this pilot was the first true experience where it is up to the students to chart their own course, forcing me squarely to the side. Today, I had students spread out across campus carrying out work. One group was in the field house measuring the velocity of slap shots and soccer balls, another in the kitchenette testing rates of freezing of milk and water, while a third was building a turbine to be powered by carbon dioxide gas. What was more impressive was that each of these groups was directing this work on their own, leaving me as a resource to help them refine their ideas and be a sounding board.
This pilot is teaching all of us – students and teachers – a lot about the use of time and our respective roles in the classroom. This has been a great experience thus far for me. Moreover, I love hearing my students tell me how fast and enjoyable the 2 1/2 hour sessions feel. It is proving to me how valuable it is to let go and put the students in the driver’s seat!