Nothing Worthwhile Begins as Effortless

April 7, 2017

 

If you haven't seen the above video yet you really need to check it out. George Couros blogged about it yesterday. I was immediately enthralled with the seemingly effortless way the student injected learning, humor, and science into the video. This also made me think of a video one of our Greenwood Elementary students recently created...but first things first!

 

If you still haven't watched the above video I'm going to need to ask you to stop reading. (Seriously stop and watch the video starting at the 10 second mark where the student starts talking.)

 

The student in the video, Alex, is demonstrating the science (and fallacy) of "no calorie sugar." You might not know that Alex is also a YouTuber known as "Technicality." He creates videos about things he's curious about including science, social studies, rap battles, and rap battles about social studies. As I dug deeper into Alex's YouTube channel, I found myself wondering how a student gets to the point of being able to create such high-quality content.

 

That's when I circled back to the aforementioned blog post by George Couros. In the post, George asked, "Do kids create because of or in spite of school?"

 

This got me thinking...

 

  • What if the kids who are capable of creating high-quality and compelling video content are sitting in front of us right now?

 

  • What might school look like if we were unswervingly committed to creating creators?

 

  • What are we doing right now to help others understand the relevance, potential impact, and learning that's involved when students create digital content?

 

  • Are we willing to do the hard work to update our pedagogy and leadership practices?

 

I'd venture to guess that it's taken Alex a lot of time and practice to be able to create the caliber of content that he is now publishing. Nothing worthwhile starts out as effortless. That's one reason I'm so passionate about providing all students (even our youngest learners) the tools, scaffolding, and opportunities to share their work with an authentic audience. You simply do not get to high school, hit record, and begin generating engaging videos that demonstrate deeper learning. It doesn't happen.

 

Here's what DOES happen. Students look to their teachers and principals to model meaningful change. They look to us for the chance to engage with school in a manner that proves (to them) that school includes real life learning. And here's another thing that happens...

 

A 3rd grader, like the one below, is given an opportunity to take his learning to new heights (literally). He's empowered and pushed by a teacher who is committed to relevant learning. The student practices sharing his learning with his classmates and others while using tools that he's passionate about. I'd like to introduce you to a scholar in our school named Jake:

 

 

Jake's short video shows how a person can calculate the perimeter of an expansive object using drone technology. It also demonstrates what school might look like if we took our responsibility to shape the future more seriously. Nothing worthwhile starts out as effortless. The single greatest threat to meaningful change is an educator who thinks innovation is easy...or optional.

 

We need to get kids creating. This means that we need to be creating, modeling, and sharing. It's hard to scaffold the future if we refuse to go there ourselves.

 

 

 

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Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 

 

Connect on email at:

AdjustingCourse@gmail.com

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