In a 1:1 Environment, We Need a New Name for Homework

I find myself constantly looking at practices in school and asking, “How will that change in a 1 to 1 setting?” A recent article by Bambi Betts entitled Do Your Homework got me thinking about how homework will change. Now, I understand that it won’t change overnight, but I’m optimistic that it will be transformed. Let’s start by getting rid of the term “homework”. The name just doesn’t seem appropriate for many reasons.

1. Let’s replace “work” with something related to learning. While the tasks may not be easy, work just doesn’t seem to be the right term. Students may be Skyping with peers or experts half way around the world, selecting online resources that help with their learning, recording instrumental rehearsals to playback and use to improve performance, creating producing screen plays, and other interesting activities.

2. Since the learning will take place anywhere, let’s forget about “home”. With portability the learning takes place anywhere. In the coffee shop, on the bus, in the mall, at the pool, at the vacation resort and various other places. Anyone have a interesting story on where students were learning?

3. The new term will somehow need to communicate that the activities will be less teacher driven, and more student driven. We talk a lot about student centered classrooms and how students will tailor design the learning experiences to fit their needs. If they think that they can reach the target by watching and responding to a podcast or Skyping with native Spanish speakers, then so be it. The learning principles that Betts mentions, “independent and unguided learning; that learners learn differently and at different paces…”, support a student centered approach.

Betts goes on to say,

It would be student-driven as much as possible, increasingly so as students acquire the skill. Consider a 10-year old learning to play football. Does she limit herself to what the coach told her to practice? Over time, with increasingly less guidance, she learns what she needs to practice.

Anyone have ideas on new terminology?

Photo Credit: Is this your homework, Larry?

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3 comments

  1. Great post, Blair! Thanks to Alan November’s presentation at YIS a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about this a lot too. Have you seen this?

    Reminds me a lot of this video Alan shared as well. We need to re-think the purpose of being together in the classroom, which should prompt a discussion on the purpose/process of outside of class learning as well.

  2. Kim, don’t know why I did not see your comment until now. I have seen the flip idea and I shared it with our teachers. Some of our middle school teachers have tried it out using Jing. It’s has potential because it makes the teacher really think closely about what to present and they get valuable feedback from students afterwards.
    I also think that the concept can put an end to showing movies in the classroom. When videos become easier to access for all students, the teacher can ask them to watch it at home in advance. For those who have already seen the movie, they get time off.
    Thanks for the comment.

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