When I was a teenager and had free time, I satisfied my desire to learn my own way. I read old dusty ’80s encyclopedias and National Geographic magazines lying around from my older brother’s subscription. Teenagers learn differently: practicing or drilling sports, playing video (and now online) games, etc.
Give students their time to learn and explore. One goal of Skills Label™ is to get students searching through the labels to simply explore, then choose how they want to spend their free time learning. Students get “credit” whenever they are learning (with skills labels, this is in the form of skill points – an intrinsic motivator, which will tie into future game like mechanics like leaderboards).
In building a catalogue of demonstration labels, I have researched many of the third-party education platforms for K-9 education. It is astounding of all the resources out there, but not much of a central, organized display to make sense of it all – like Skills Label.
For required learning, when I was a student, we had few choices; most of the learning was assignments the whole class got. There was little opportunity for experiential learning. And it was boring. Once a year, there was a science fair where someone undoubtedly created a volcano with baking soda and vinegar (among other projects).
At least now, it is becoming more stimulating as students are asked to build robots or rockets or simulate entrepreneurship. Tasks are exciting and real. Echoing what many practitioners are saying, we need to introduce adaptive, experiential learning at all stages of education.
It is possible to accomplish adaptive learning with skills labels in two ways. First, teachers give students choice: do four out of ten possible tasks; use the labels to decide on which ones to complete. Second, teachers start students off with a single task, then based on the results, students navigate through a series of tasks (represented as a series of labels).
Skills Label inherently promotes experiential learning as knowledge is defined with an emphasis on acquiring skills and competencies. I call skills the ‘verb of knowledge. Every experience is an opportunity to apply skills.