Student-Teacher Collaboration: Feedback Please!

I hate the traditional classroom
“Students have little input into the structure and substance of their own education. The traditional classroom lecture creates massive boredom, especially when compared to the vibrancy of their media-saturated, tech-driven world. But if we were to ask them, we’d learn they prefer questions rather than answers, sharing their opinions, group projects, working with real-world issues, and teachers who speak with them as equals rather than as inferiors.”
Young Minds, Fast Times: The Twenty-First-Century Digital Learner

I love the idea of students participating in the curriculum design. I would love to collaborate with them on how they learn best and how to incorporate technology in the course work. I especially excited about the concept of students creating content instead of just being force feed content. I know that most of my students have books they will hardly, if ever, read. I believe that a student buys a set of books they don’t open and have no participation in the content they receive then they have wasted their time and money.

I believe in integrating technology into the curriculum. I believe that students should participate in creating content as well as participating in existing content. I believe that students should use and/or become familiar with I am using wikis, Google docs, twitter, Diigo, Blogs, Friendfeed among other tools to reach these ends.

I am a strong advocate of collaboration. I believe that students should work together in teams. I believe in project based learning. I think students should have real world exercises to work with. I don’t believe in exercises in a vacuum. I believe that working on a project is the best way to make sense of the technology they want to learn.

I am not doing something right…

I am not getting feedback. I cannot seem to find a way to talk to the students about how they would like to learn. I would like to know what I can do with the students. I could chuck the whole curriculum as it stands and rebuild it if we could work something out. I would love to have the input. I would love to find out what would help them learn the best and find a way to work with them to make it work.

I have some how built a barrier between me and my students. The feedback I get usually comes from the top down and is usually very vague. They seem to feel like they need to address their issues with someone else. I haven’t done right by them somehow. It is very disheartening.

So now I am asking the void: What do you suggest I do to get it right? What have you tried that has worked? What am I missing?

Advertisements