Students at RVIS take Control of their Learning

Submitted by emariano on Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:30
This year, RVIS’s middle school teachers along with the Technology Integration Specialist, launched a passion based, student directed program where students collaborate, explore, and share their interests beyond the classroom. Coined the “Explode!” Program, the model is based off the research by Daniel Pink, a world renowned education innovator. Through this model, teachers act as learning coaches, helping students plan their projects and offer support where needed. A teacher in the “Explode!“ program reflects that, “The nature of the program allows students to initiate and direct their own learning. We are finding that students are more motivated and intrinsically driven to tackle authentic world and local issues outside the walls of the classroom. They are not only learning and researching in the process, but also building emotional intelligence and real empathy.” The middle school students are engaged in a wide variety of projects ranging from art therapy to video game research. One group in particular is collecting donated clothes and breathing new life into the fabric. With a little research in fashion trends and the mentorship of a local clothing designer, the students hope to start their own line where part of the proceeds will go to charity. RVIS also has a group of students working with the school’s food vendor to determine whether switching from disposable eating utensils to a more permanent utensil is feasible and cost-effective. The Secondary Principal, Danielle Pinkerton sees this program as, “infusing a real world application into the classroom that will provide our students with problem solving skills which will prepare them for life beyond school.” The Explode! hour is better known around the world as Genius Hour. Students from institutions worldwide have been participating and sharing their own learning with each other for many years through this model. As recently as September 25, 2017, EdTech Focus on K-12 continued to document the benefits of self-directed learning finding that it: 1) Fosters lifelong creativity and critical thinking; 2) Encourages students to create using technology; and 3) It meets curriculum standards while harnessing students’ interests and prior knowledge. The success of this program and the level of student engagement is proving that the Explode! Program will have a lasting impact on the RVIS students and the community.
Posted By
Ken Davis