This post is as much informational as it is for me to synthesize my own understanding of the Elements of Learning. Plus, if I do it every day, that's 5 days of writing that I don't have to brainstorm new ideas.
The 5 Elements of Learning are:
Communication and Creation
A note about the Elements of Learning. Apple's research shows that students that come from classrooms with the 5 Elements of Learning are highly effective learners and the technology just amplifies that learning.
Element #2 - Communication and Creation
This one is my favorite. It is more complex than it sounds. Communication and creation must include 3 components to be implemented at a high level: Students get to choose their own means of expression, they have a sense of audience and they adhere to principles of design. Let's break that down. Letting students choose their own means of expression can be difficult for some teachers to do. This CAN be done even in kindergarten. Does that mean, letting students choose what they want whenever they want? Absolutely not. There is a slow release. Teach them 2 apps and then let them choose which one will best support their demonstration of their thinking and understanding on the third lesson. Another alternative might be to choose between doing it digital or analog. For instance, a student can choose to sketchnote on paper with markers or in an app, like Sketches School, Keynote, or Book Creator on their iPad. Next, I have seen how powerful it can be to give students a sense of audience outside of the teacher in their classroom. It doesn't have to be an elaborate share-out. You don't need to find a classroom in Europe or Africa to share with. It can be the Principal or the class down the hall or maybe they create a product to teach a younger grade something. Here is a paragraph from a blog post I wrote in 2016 about the power of giving students a sense of audience. This was just one example and I know that giving our students a sense of audience changed the way they approached this project.
Students used Lucid Press and their GAFE log-in to create non-fiction magazines. We decide before the students started that their audience was going to other students in District 100. After some debate, we decided on 4th and 5th grade students. I contacted 4th and 5th grade teachers in our district to ask them if they would be interested in having their students read and give feedback on the student-created magazines. Of course, they all said yes. They were happy to help. This audience helped framed the way students approached the project. Lynnette overheard students during the planning stage talk about how they would approach this based on the audience that they now had. This is what she overheard - "Your sister is a fourth-grader do you think she would know the mean of (a word)? Should I include it in my glossary?" This is a sense of audience that is really beneficial to students!
The last component is principles of design. This means that if you ask them to write a non-fiction piece to demonstrate what they learned about the Civil War maybe it is in the form of a newspaper article. Adhering to the principles of design for a newspaper article means it includes: a headline, story, picture with caption, edition time (morning, daily, etc), date, cost, etc.
In closing, I would like to say two things. Students have a deeper meaning when they can create products that demonstrate their thinking and understanding of a particular topic or idea. Finally, I have found that teachers that have given up control when it comes to the means of expression are paid back in abundance in other ways.
|Excerpt From: Apple Education. “Elements of Learning.” Apple Inc. - Education, 2018. Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/elements-of-learning/id1367981260|