Have you ever created a laser maze? Armed with a red pocket laser and several hand mirrors, the goal is to hit the target through reflection. If you are dying to try this but have no mirrors, you can play a simulation online. The point is to create a continuous line-of-sight between the laser and the target. Now, that can work great for telescope applications, or when a missile smacks its target, or the game ball connects with the bat. I’m just not so certain that it works well for classes of 30 students.
Imagine that for a moment. Kids with different interests, different needs, varied reading abilities, some who need to move and others who need extended learning. Line-of-sight teaching means that all of them have to simultaneously be at the target at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble cooking a meal for my family that can hit that tight of a sweet spot.
That’s why I continue to advocate for teach-niques that advocate for ways to go beyond line-of-sight strategies. They are many:
- flipped teaching
- essential questions
- public audiences for final products
- extended learning
- playlists of options like webwalks or simulations or video
- gathering data
- student choice of artifact
- competency opportunities
And we have the teach-nology framework to do this–LMS of choice, a CK12.org customization, Google Docs folder, even a list on the board with options and a paper folder for personal documentation. That pushes the learning outward. Just like the cell tower framework, above, the waves travel to nooks and crannies, reaching from one point in the valley at one time and another point in the valley from a separate tower at a different time.
The strength is in the interconnectedness that pings beyond a single tower, beyond a single valley, and through different strategies. It’s about everyone contributing and communicating, but it is learning in multiple waves of understanding. The glory is in the final product, with all its imperfection and messiness.
How does that sort of an analogy line up with your teaching or advocacy strategy?