Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Scaffolding...Design Matters!

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

As an educator it is up to you to design learning experiences for your learners.  Each time you sit down to design, you should make the following design considerations.  You might choose one or two to focus on for each unit.  Variety in these design considerations for your units throughout the year, will lead to meeting the needs of multiple learners in multiple ways.  It is with these design considerations in mind that you move forward in choosing the best scaffolding experiences for your learners.  

Design Considerations*:
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Future Ready Outcomes
  • Learning Styles
  • Ability and Readiness
  • Culture (background and needs)
  • What resources you have available
  • Voice and Choice
  • Brain Based

*The next module of our challenge will focus more on these design considerations.

What is Scaffolding?
Experiences designed by educators to provide support during the learning process and respond to the needs of diverse learners with the intention of helping the learner achieve the desired learning outcomes are known as scaffolding.

Why would you use different scaffolding structures?
Scaffolding is designed to meet learner needs based on interest, ability, readiness, culture, etc. Scaffolding design structures provide learners more control and responsibility for their learning. Scaffolding experiences encourage collaboration and engagement.  Learners AND educators are given the opportunity to ask and answer questions while making meaning.  When designed properly, scaffolding allows for voice and choice while promoting a deeper level of learning.  

Scaffolding...Design Matters!

5 Scaffolding Design Structures
  • Menus - Menus are a scaffolding structure that allow educators to differentiate learning experiences while allowing them to meet with small groups of learners. A menu is a list of choices that learners use to choose an activity or activities that they would like to complete to show what they have learned.
  • Ports - Ports are places that learners can go to experience and learn information.  These ports can be set up within the classroom and can be accessed at any time. Ports can be based on interest or need.  Learners may complete the ports in any order, and may not need to complete all ports.
  • Stations - Stations are different places in the classroom where learners work on tasks simultaneously, and whose activities are linked by the same standard. Typically all learners complete all stations.  Each station may offer choice and provide for differentiation based on learner interest or need.
  • Workshops - One type of workshop is one that lasts the entire class period, with an intro mini-lesson, workshop time, and debrief at the end. Within PBL, workshops are defined as need-based mini lessons for small groups or the whole group of learners.
  • Digital Learning Environments - Three types of digital learning environments are Blended Learning, Flipped Classroom, and Virtual Learning.  These can be used to offer voice and choice to learners through technology.  Learners access the learning activities they need virtually using a variety of technology tools.
Throughout the next 7 weeks we will be focusing on scaffolding and the 5 design structures.

Use the comment section below to answer some of the following questions:
  • As you look at the definitions above, reflect on your own classroom.  If you have used any of the 5 designs, briefly describe your experiences.
  • What was the benefit to you and your learners?
  • What questions do you have about these design structures?

1 comment:

  1. I feel like we are using menus in anatomy in two ways. One is our six weeks challenges. Each six weeks, we challenge the class to improve their health in some way, such as changing a dietary habit, participating in a 5k, visiting Farmers Market, or watching a TED talk. The students choose which challenge most interests them. They take the challenge and then create a blog post where they reflect on their learning and share pictures of their experiences.

    We also have allowed our students to choose how they will demonstrate knowledge of topics by selecting which project they want to complete. They can choose the topic and the product they are creating, based on their individual needs. The learning experience is unique to each person and everyone gains a different type of knowledge, depending on their topic of choice.

    I feel like they actually learn on a deeper level since they are the ones that decided what they were going to learn in the first place, they are more invested in what they are doing. I also like that no one is really doing the same thing.

    Questions so far -- only how to streamline grading/assessing so many different things -- since it is still required of me to give them a number grade :)