Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 10/Student Soapbox

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Foundations Chapter 10 Student Soap Box

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Is having students create their own learning materials (for example, their textbook) an effective teaching strategy?


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Absolutely, it gets the students actively involved and gives them more ownership of their own learning.[edit]

At first, i was curious about writing my own textbook, but I feel I have learned a lot from this experience. I think that students can benefit from writing a textbook or working on a hands on project in the classroom. I love writing so this experience for me was a positive one and I feel even if a student does not enjoy writing I think a project like this would make them feel good they contributed to something important. Lwill031 (talk) 23:30, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree that when I found out that we were creating our own textbook I almost wanted to drop the class. I am not big on writing so much, just give me some questions to answer from the textbook or better yet let me read the chapters and then give a summary of the chapters, but this lets me know what I can do and where I need improvement. I have learned a lot by writing this textbook and it has given me a hindsight on the kind of teacher I want to become.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 21:59, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I must admit that I was skeptical when I found out we were creating our own textbook. Being a physical education teacher, I am not comfortable with my writing or editing skills. Having this class really boosted my confidence in both areas. I feel that I can give quality feedback to written assignments as well as editing them for both content and grammar. It is also a plus for a college student to save money on a text book. Some classes are asking students to spend up to have the cost of the class in books. I find that a little outrageous. Jtmitchem (talk) 15:40, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Before taking this class, I would have said absolutely not. I will even admit that early on in the semester I would have said no; however, I think now my opinion has changed and I really can see the benefits in allowing the student to be actively involved in the learning and writing process. I think that it requires a lot of work from the teacher in preparing the learning material so that the students can do the work. The students must also be motivated to help out with their own learning peocess, otherwise it will be wasted time and effort. I think that with the right class and subject material, the students really can benefit from the hands on learning approach! Khedl002 (talk) 15:44, 1 August 2009 (UTC)khedl002

I think that student created learning materials are a wonderful way to stimulate and encourage learners. It becomes essential for a student to become involved with the learning process. Performing research on a topic and sharing your individual findings and opinions with peers provides an effective method of learning from a student point of view. Contributing to the class textbook, which is available for lots of people to read, made me focus on my material and strive to produce quality academic material. I paid special attention to citations & references as well as writing from a neutral point of view. It also made me appreciate the hard work of all of my classmates after reading their material. I am very proud of our class textbook and would not hesitate to share it with others. Acrow005 (talk) 19:34, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I would agree that it is. I think that as they are creating their material or their book it is causing them to learn all of the material inside the book. Whether using a resource such as wikibook is as effective, I am not sure. I do believe, however, that the best way to learn is to do and research ideas and topics on your own. I have always believed that to be the best so if that means that students are responsible for writing their own text book, then that will work. I would also say that as we make our own book there is much mornin learnin then just the material. Such as learnin the wikibook websitg and properly citing information. Sston008 (talk) 18:40, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Honestly, at the beginning of class when I heard what we would be doing I was very scared. I was worried about being able to complete the assignment well. But, after I got started I enjoyed the process. It was hard and challenging but a very effective teaching strategy. It was a different way for us to learn and by researching the topics ourselves, I believe it was very beneficial. Being able to contribute to our own textbook was a challenge, but really made me think about my beliefs. The entire process was student centered and the material was easy to remember. Also, being able to read my peers work showed different perspectives on topics. Now that it is almost over, I can say that I believe that it was a good learning experience. Aferg006 (talk) 00:54, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I feel that it is a great learning strategy. It enables the students to take a more active role in the learning, and also allows for greater involvement in coming up with the resources necessary for the learning. I feel that by allowing students to create their own textbooks they have a say in their learning process, and what they learn. They get to decipher what is important and what is not in their learning process. I feel that for this class, creating my own textbook was a great learning strategy. I felt a sense of involement more than I have in other classes as well. Rburt005 (talk) 20:32, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree working and learning together is always beneficial. This is good practice for teaching later. All the planning and grading, gave us all an opportunity to learn from each other.Mlipl001 (talk) 22:12, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I do believe that having students write their own textbooks is a very effective strategy. It gives the students ownership of their own learning and greatly reinforces the learned material. If a student takes the time to write a section of their textbook, there is a higher percentage that they will remember the material. I also like the fact that students writing their own textbooks is a collaborative effort. Students feel a sense of accomplishment when each section is put together and the textbook is completed. Also, the words are written on a level that all students will most likely understand. Students are able to decipher what the important lessons are and they are able to control what they learn and what are the most important components to take from the lesson. Afett001 (talk) 21:09, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Having students write their own textbooks is an excellent idea. It aids in their thinking ability and enforces the critical steps in Bloom's taxonomy. I think that student written textbooks are generally easier to read and understand. They allow the students to say and write what is important and how they feel toward subjects they write about. It is challenging to write a textbook but after it is done it is very rewarding. Hcomb003 (talk) 16:33, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Having students create their own learning materials is a benefit for some classes. It gets students more involved, which in the long run will broaden their perspectives. It provides an opportunity for classmates to contribute to what was originally left for experts to create. Sure, let’s have students create their own learning materials. Those learning materials will certainly be diverse. I am not sure it could work for classic math and science disciplines, but it would be an interesting experiment nonetheless. I suppose it just depends on the subject matter. Abitt002 (talk) 19:04, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I do not think you have to be an expert to write a textbook. I think it is a great idea to have students create their own learning material. Not only does it enhance their knowledge on different aspects of each topic, but it gives them a sense of ownership for being a part of the process to put together an instructional masterpiece. Writing a textbook is not something that most people wake up one day and start. Learning continues on after the completion, because you can always go back and read over things you might have missed. Another point is not only are students having to think about what they are going to write about, they have to write it down and post it. Then, in our case, the student must read through the other posts and write blurbs about what they have read. I think this is a great way to help students retain information. Everyone has their own opinion about topics and collaborating on a textbook is an interesting way for students to see what is important to other students and how they interpret the research information.Scarlett1 (talk) 05:04, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I was very skeptical when i first heard that we would be writing our own textbook. I think that it is a different experience. It shouldn't necessarily be done for every class. It has definitely been a learning process. It also allows you to see more of the opinions of your class mates. Where as with a normal text it is harder to do because you are forced to remember it from the class discussion. When the text is online it makes it easier to do communicate with our classmates. Rcoll029 (talk) 04:31, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

No. Students should not have to worry about creating learning materials. That's a job for experts. Students are not experts.[edit]

I started out thinking that it was a good idea for students to be able to create their own textbooks, but I think now my opinion on the subject has changed. First of all, I don't feel confident reading and learning information some other college student has created. I think most everyone has worked hard in this class, but there are different levels of writing ability and are all these articles checked for accuracy? There are still plenty of spelling errors...etc. in the articles. Secondly, I miss picking up a textbook and knowing exactly what I need to read and miss the book itself. I would like to just be able to take my book where I want to and read it. Like on a road trip. Another reason is that I am more used to studying the old way. It's hard to switch gears after 30 years of my old study skills. OH and one more thing...I've spent more time trying to figure out Wikibooks instead of studying the material. So, unfortunately I would love to say this is an awesome way to learn but studying another students work, but I haven't really enjoyed it as much as I was hoping to. Ldomm002 (talk) 02:25, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I wish I could say it's a great idea however, I would've rather learned through lecture or reading a textbook. Though some would argue you learn by doing, I just feel as though I've been DOING from the beginning. I haven't had time to leisurely read and delve into a topic because I've been to worried about spell checking someone else's work! I've been so caught up in the technical details, that I haven't been able to enjoy the process. I'm glad to read that everyone has had a positive experience and has learned a lot, I just don't think this teaching method applies to everyone...including myself.Rpaige (talk) 02:24, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

No, having students create their own textbook is not the best option. It is better to let the experts to create a textbook for a course, because they have a broader and deeper understanding of the topics and can present important material more efficiently than those who are not experts. Students miss out on a lot of important and helpful information and concepts when reading a student made textbook instead of an expert-made textbook. While it is interesting to see work by one's peers, the disavantages of having a student-made textbook outweigh the advantages. Mbrowder (talk) 18:38, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

It depends.[edit]

I really think this is a grey area for me. I think it is a good idea in concept but I personally would prefer a textbook written by an expert or a collection of expert articles. It is possible that my difficulty with wikibooks is that it is all computer reading which is hard on the eyes and has caused me migraines. I have had to print many articles which is not very eco-friendly. I feel that I have learned more from the assessment expert-written articles than the foundations articles.Jnemo001 (talk) 05:39, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Some material is good for students to get more involved in their learning. I'm not sure how effect writing a textbook would be, especially for elementary or middle school aged children. They are not experts in subjects at that age and need to learn from others, including others text material. Also, it depends on the subject or the material being learned. Art, for example, is very hands on so having students do hands on activities to learn about artists or types of art would work very well. On the other hand, I had to do my fair share of debates in history classes, and they only worked well if the students already understood the material so they could put what they had learned from the teacher to action. Hcogg001 (talk) 20:17, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

If it's guided correctly and there's enough enthusiasm from the student's part– it's probably a worth-while endeavor to partake. I'm pretty sure that's the downfall for any method though? If the students are going to do the bare-bones essential work, they're going to learn that much. Of course there's more room to make the course completely worthless with putting everything in their hands, so it would depend entirely on the group of individuals and the subject at hand. I cannot imagine doing this with Stocastic Calculus or Quantum Physics. But zombie survival or horror theory on the other hand? A vehement affirmation on my part. Hsmit022 (talk) 22:41, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

It really does depend on the situation, the assignment, and the age of the students involved. I think that this class and the textbook idea works very well and is a great learning tool. Having students revise each others' work is beneficial too. The idea of having students create or revise things like a syllabus and/or a grading rubric can be helpful as well. On the other hand, there can be downsides to assignments that are left entirely up to the students. In my experience as a student, I have encountered some times when having students create their own materials did not work. When I was in 8th grade, our World History teacher decided to try letting us come up with our own questions for a test. It seemed like a really good idea, and one that we were all excited about. But, the maturity level of 8th graders did not lend itself to the assignment, and our teacher was unable to use most of our questions. I think that student-created learning materials should happen once the students are mature enough to accept the full responsibility of the assignment.Sbutl016 (talk) 22:49, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I too believe that students creating their own learning materials is good sometimes but not always. I had a bad experience in junior high when my social studies teacher assigned each student to be one of the Nazi war criminals (like Himmler etc.) and wanted us to put on a Nuremberg trial and come up with our own defense. It was just too difficult for us and turned out to be a fiasco. The teacher had a great idea but just picked the wrong task. On the other hand, cooperative learning projects where student groups teach each other can be a great engaged way for students to learn. It really depends on the type of learning material to be created. Sciaston (talk) 00:56, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I think student generated learning materials are highly dependent upon not only the learning goals of the class, but also the general ability and motivation of the students within the classroom. A prime example of this would be any workshop based writing class. The learning target of the class is perfect, specifically tailored to be most effective by analyzing fellow burgeoning writers and contrasting them with successful authors, but the nature of the students themselves is what truly creates the experience and effectiveness of the class. If the writers within the class only do the bare minimum, share no insights, and insist upon bland critiques of others’ work the experience of some students will undoubtedly be hurt by those who do not put fourth the required effort. However, in a classroom of dedicated students, this same exact teaching method is by far the most effective at improving a receptive student’s performance. In the end it is a risk vs. reward situation, with a greater chance for failure but also a greater reward for success by providing a learning experience that has practical applications. BitterAsianMan (talk) 15:17, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that if given clear direction and constant participation from all class members this is a successful tool. I have like the creation of the textbook in this class. I appreciated the many roles that each of us has to play to create this textbook. I could see that if there was not the careful planning of the creation of this book that integral pieces may have been overlooked in the finished product. I hope that other classes realize that their students have the potential to really contribute to their own learning. That is definitely something that I will utilize when I am in the classroom. Jnewh001 (talk) 02:45, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the idea of contributing as a student to a book is really cool and a great learning experience. I also think that doing research and having to read about information related to certain topics is great, but I also think that sometimes not everyone puts in the same effort. I think that if this were to be done with students probably interested in editing actually writing a book it would be a total success. Not eveyone likes having the responsibility of writing a text for other students. I also fear that all the information that should be there is not leaving key details out and the final producat not fully complete.Bpenn005 (talk) 01:14, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Having students create their own learning materials is a very effective strategy in the classroom, as long as the teacher considers important factors. These can include the involvement of students, how engaging it will be, how some students may respond to it better than others, and so on. For one class, I had to create a reading activity booklet about weather, where students would create their own classroom weather station. They created many of the things on their own, such as actual weather instruments, and recording data on charts. Overall, it is a very engaging activity, however, it required much effort on my part because I had to find videos about weather, find websites where they could build their instruments, create the chart and a means of assessment. Students can learn many concepts, including difficult concepts, by creating their own learning materials. However, I strongly believe that it has to be appropriate to their readiness, motivation, and participation. Many students may enjoy building something to measure weather, but there will be that select few that do not want anything to do with it. Adart001 (talk) 03:09, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the previous postings. While having students create their own learning materials sounds like a wonderful idea, there can also be a lot of problems as well. The teacher must be able to effectively determine what task the students are capable of. If it is too hard and unattainable, the students will be even more confused and much more frustrated with the subject. However, if the assignment is on their level and they are able to get excited about the idea of teaching and learning from others, then it will be a success. The different roles must be clear and there must be a good understanding of what is expected. To ensure quality work, there also needs to be a process of proofreading and review with several chances to make changes, etc., such as what we did in this class. Alucy001 (talk) 13:45, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it depends on what the class is about. For example, when we were told we would create our own text for this class, I was shocked and a little thrown off. I was always used to one pre-written book that contained every detail of information I needed. In this situation I have had a lot of fun of creating an article and finding out information I could post, but as a general class how accurate are we? For this class is great, but for classes like chemistry where a lot of people find themselves confused, it might be a bad idea. Ehern004 (talk) 17:00, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I believe that it definitely depends on the class and the level of the students being asked to create the learning material. For instance I teach inclusion geometry, and so how I think acting those special needs children to write a geometry textbook might not go so well. However, in an advanced calculus class, where the students are more independent and academically mature, they maybe more than up for the task.Scrai010 (talk) 01:37, 3 August 2009 (UTC)