As we enter the holiday season, kids across the globe will be preparing to forget about school during the winter break. Unless of course, they have been given copious amounts of homework to complete. However, as technology continues to evolve, we are increasingly questioning the old way of doing things.
Both parents and teachers are beginning to debate the effectiveness of assigning homework during the holidays. There is a strong argument that filling a well-deserved break with meaningful experiences is much more beneficial to students than throwing more work in their direction as they leave the classroom.
The #NoHomework movement is quickly gaining traction since 2nd-grade teacher; Brandy Young handed out a letter explaining her new homework policy to parents in August. The controversial new policy started a national debate around the much-needed balance between school work and how pupils spend their leisure time.
After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year.
Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are shown to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.
The rise of EDTech startups is further revolutionizing education by adjusting to individual learning styles rather than stigmatizing them. For itslearning, a leading learning management system that equips teachers and students alike with personalized educational resources and tools, it’s not a question of homework. It’s a matter of brainwork.
Homework can still play a significant role in a child’s life- providing that it is engaging, thought provoking and allows children to actively participate in their education. But, it must also go beyond mundane busy work and enable students to become active participants in their own education.
To create a culture of brainwork, itslearning advocates assigning work that breaks the mold and allows each student to have a voice and choice in their learning. In lieu of the traditional book report, children can use technology to record audio/video to summarize the chapters. Need to memorize the parts of a microscope? Have students write and record a unique song that details its functions.
A new learning philosophy consisting of less repetitive and isolated work is continuing to make progress. Ironically, technology is actually delivering more human interactions. Engaging learning is also encouraging pupils to take ownership of their after school learning.
A one size fits all approach to education often delivers a negative experience to children who do not fit a template. For example, a girl called Karol enjoyed talking at home but was unable to express herself in a school setting because she didn’t know anyone and simply didn’t feel comfortable in her school surroundings.
Itslearning enabled Karol to record answers to questions and gradually build her confidence. The result of this different approach involved Karol speaking in front of 300 pupils in her school. This story is a compelling and emotional tale that illustrates the value of EdTech solutions. The demands of universal design learning enable these new tools to encourage students to communicate their mastery on their own terms.
Education is often referred to as one of the remaining frontiers for innovation. In a digital age where the tech revolution continues to gather pace, it seems that itslearning are indeed riding that wave. Now in the US, the startup now has over 7 million teacher, student and parent users worldwide.
itslearning CEO Arne Bergby and Tom Shoemaker recently appeared on my podcast to talk about why they believe that this cloud-based learning management system (LMS) is top of the EdTech class. But, more importantly, when you elevate education, you elevate society.