Now that we are almost through the school year, I have had sufficient time to truly absorb summit and understand how it works, and have realized the benefits of the platform. My initial skepticism of the summit program has slowly faded, and admittedly, I am now convinced that Summit has many great positives, and truly has brought my students to a whole new learning level.
In the beginning of the school year, I was highly skeptical, and indeed a bit suspicious, of the summit learning platform, as you can see from my first blog post. However, slowly, and steadfastly, almost like the process of osmosis, summit has taken hold in my classroom, and has become an organic part of our class. I have seen my students transform from ones that needed much direction, and constant support, to self sufficient, confident, and mature students/learners. Summit has indeed transformed my students over the course of this year – they are now students who are eager to get on their computers and begin the day’s work, and see how far they can progress in their projects. They are eager to complete each checkpoint, or step in their projects, eager to pass their content assessments during PLT (personalized learning time), and finish their end products for each unit.
Not only are they now self-sufficient, but they also help each other with each step and goal, and have even come to mentoring each other on such steps as content assessments, different drafts of their projects, etc. Thus, they have effectively become, through the use of summit, mentors to their classmates, which I see as a huge step and benefit of the summit platform. I truly believe this wouldn’t have happened if we were using a more traditional learning program. Thus, not only has summit turned my students into self sufficient learners, but also peer advisors and assistants to the other children in their class.
The parts of summit, which at first were a bit confusing, have now become everyday lingo to us, and indeed a regular part of each day. Some parts of summit that have become regular terms to us are:
Product – The unit/project
Checkpoint – The steps/ exercises leading up to the final product
Activity – a step under the checkpoint, to prepare them to complete a checkpoint
Goal – their goals/list of tasks for the week and month
PLT – Personalized Learning time (when they work independently)
Content Assessments – The assessments that a student must pass to complete a focus area
Focus Area – a series of exercises and resources that teach the student a particular skill/cognitive function
This is really just a small list of the many components of Summit. These components end up, without one realizing, resetting your mind to a whole new way of thinking and approaching the learning process. Thinking in the Summit way is really a modern way of thinking about education. It takes us into the future. Each class is more like a business meeting, versus an old stodgy pedagogical session. I truly believe that my students, if they continue upon this trajectory, will become adept at the modern business world, the modern academic world. In fact, they are already more ahead than many of my fellow colleagues. My students’ ability to function in a technologically based environment has been solidified, both in terms of the actual usage of technology, but also in the modern/current mindest – a truly remarkable feat that summit has managed to accomplish in a short period of time!