Engage All Learners

Imagine this: You are observing a class. The lights are off. The students are watching a video projected on the screen. The video is relevant to the unit of study. The students are bored. Some are paying attention. Others are leaning the sides of their faces into their palms, which are resting on their elbows, which are resting on their backpacks, which are full of stuff, zipped up, and sitting on their desks.

Why aren’t the learners taking notes? Why are they not at least answering 1-2 key questions about the big idea? Or jotting down an observation or two? Or even better, a question that might pop into their heads?

Why are the backpacks still on the desks? Why does everyone look so sleepy?

Passive consumption. Lights low. Sleepy. zzzzz….

How might the designer of this learning experience actively engage ALL learners?

  1. Invite students to put away backpacks, clear off desks. Even better, make the desks into writable surfaces.
  2. Expect the students to make some notes. Jot down some observations or questions. Or both. Provide them blank paper or a graphic organizer. Or writable surfaces.
  3. Instead of having students passively view the video, let them research and create their own. And share them with other students. In other grades. At other schools. And get feedback on them. And iterate them.


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