Saturday, April 17, 2010

give 'em choice

The best learning design always seems to involve choice. Whether it is choice over medium, artistic direction, topic, presentation, or a combination therof. It all comes back to choice. At the core, choice empowers individuals and teams. Often times choice leads to creativity and break throughs in learning. Why don't we see more choice in all we do in schools? I say, "Give 'em choice!"

-give 'em choice over the operating system they use. Linux, Mac, Windows...who cares...give 'em choice.

-give 'em choice over presentation medium. PowerPoint, impress, google presentation, drawing on a whiteboard, video, audio podcast, presentation with no visuals, a three panel posterboard...give 'em choice

-give 'em choice over the emerging technologies they wish to pioneer for learning. Droid, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Blackberry, iPad, zune...give 'em choice.

-give 'em choice over how they spend their time.

-give 'em choice about how they take notes in class. Pencil, pen, paper, computer, portable digital recorder, livescribe pen, digital photos, tablet computer, alphasmart, cell phone or a combination therof. They all learn very differently....give 'em choice.

-give 'em choice about how they read. Online, print, ereader, books on CD or a combination thereof. They are already reading in a range of mediums. ...give 'em choice.

-give 'em choice over what they read. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give 'em choice over what they read.

-give 'em choice over whether or not they want to pay for software or use free software...give 'em choice.

-give 'em choice over the platforms they wish to blend together and use in thoughtful ways to amplify learning. YouTube, google apps, posterous, wikispaces, blogger, moodle, wordpress, voicethread, pbworks, skype, Twitter, Flickr, facebook...give 'em choice.

One size doesn't fit all...give 'em choice.

Sent from my iPhone


  1. Matt: Totally agree. Just finished Dan Pink's latest book (Drive) in which he argues for the importance of choice. He states we need to design so that learners can have autonomy--specifically over the four Ts: Time, Technique, Task, Team. Autonomy leads to engagement and mastery. It's not hard to see that these four areas are heavily controlled by schools. Give 'em choice!

  2. I think that this is especially important if we want to inculcate the idea of lifelong learner and other teachings/learnings related to responsibility. There can be no responsibility without choice.