Independent Learning Projects are an interesting concept. The idea that the students get to decide exactly what they learn and how they learn it is very different from what seems to be happening throughout education legislation. In a world that tells students so often exactly what to do step by step over and over again, it’s refreshing to give the students a chance to use their imaginations and find something that they truly enjoy doing.
My personal ILP was photography. I already had a little background in the art form from high school and college classes. The classes I took though were either in black and white or using photoshop. I wanted to find out how to make sure a school didn’t need fancy equipment (minus the cameras) to have a great learning tool to introduce their students to the art and other integrations throughout other subjects. I discovered that it is very doable. Seemingly simple details within the camera and the area your shoot itself makes a big difference for each picture. If you are trying to teach a student how to take a good photo you must make sure they understand the importance of detail.
Throughout the project, I rediscovered my love for photography. I had lost it for a little while within me making excuses on why I couldn’t go out and photograph everything. “You have so much work to do.” “You should be social.” And so on, just different expectations that I think I should fill and I just miss out on doing something that is a huge part of my life. Once I started taking pictures every week it wasn’t hard to go out and do it every week. One of my biggest challenges was watching the tutorials that helped me out, I am a hands-on type of learner and with no one right there to help me out and answer my questions right away was kind of hard. But I think that that helped me grow as a student and teacher. Understanding that sometimes you have to teach yourself is important.
As a teacher, I would love to incorporate ILP’s into a classroom. They could be used for any and all age groups. Younger students would be able to learn more about different areas they might like to learn about and older students will either be able to study many different things or get very specific about one thing that interest them. I believe that ILP’s should be implemented for all schools in all grades.