When designing instruction for web-enhanced classrooms, we must consider the role of student identity, student agency, and student power. Student identity is a continuous formation of the student acting as a subject within a community. In other words, student identity is the ability to be able to identify with the particular discourse or language of the community. As students learn more from the learning community, their ability to identify with the subject allows them to act as a key subject within the community.
Student agency is the making and remaking of the students’ self, the students’ identity, and the students’ relationships. When teachers promote student agency, they are allowing students to make and remake learning tools, learning resources, and learning activities. These acts lead to productive power for our learners.
Student power is cultivated on rich relationships and high quality interactions. Hence, in web-enhanced classrooms, what applications will best help to meet the learning goals while supporting the development of student power, student agency, and student identity?
Student productive power, is not only having skill and will to achieve goals, but also having independent thought and autonomous action towards self-regulated learning and self-directed learning. Hence, how can instructional-design models tap into student power, student agency, and student identity? Roger Schank’s Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science can save our schools listed five issues that he claims educators are not effectively addressing. They are ability, possibility, methodology, constraints, and goal alignment.
- Ability – whether students can learn whatever it is that you want to teach.
- Possibility – whether what you want to teach can be taught.
- Methodology – what method of learning actually would teach what we want to teach.
- Constraints – whether the selected learning methodology actually will work, given the time constraints and abilities of the students, and other constraints that actually exist.
- Goal alignment – determine a way that will make what you want to teach fit more closely with real-life goals that your students actually may have.
I’ve contoured Schank’s list of issues in order to fit them into the discourse of personalized learning.
- Ability – what is the students learning profile?
- Possibility – what is the students learning potential?
- Methodology – what instructional design model should be employed?
- Constraints – what are the limitations of the learning environment and what are the constraints for achieving the learning goal?
- Goal alignment – what are the teacher’s goal for instruction? What are the student’s goals for learning?
Will Richardson reminds us that we should increase student agency over learning. Our current emphasis on improving teaching is not cultivating the student’s agency, the student’s identity, or the student’s productive power. In other words, we should shift from a focus on teaching practices to a focus on student-centered learning practices.
Schank, R. C. (2011). Teaching minds: How cognitive science can save our schools. New York: Teachers College Press.