Hand it On

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One of my least favorite phrases in education is “hand it in.”

Why, instead wouldn’t we say “share it with the world”?

I mean I know that much of what students create isn’t ready for prime time, that it’s a draft or “in progress.” But why at a moment when we can share so easily and widely with audiences around the world would we still be asking kids to “hand in” final work to just the teacher?

“Hand it in” means it’s finished.

“Hand it in” means the teacher is the only judge of the merits of the work.

“Hand it in” is a rule in the larger game of school.

“Hand it in” limits agency and passion and desire to learn.

I remember back when my kids were in 2nd and 4th grade we created the “Hand It In” pile, the place where we put every piece of paper that came home each week in this thing called “The Friday Folder.” In less than a year, that pile grew to almost three feet high.

Three feet!

And the kicker was my kids never looked in that pile again. Once it was “handed in” it was out of mind.

I get it. We don’t want kids publishing everything they do online. But surely it would change the whole interaction if our kids were doing real things for real audiences that mattered.

So what if we moved from “hand it in” to “hand it on”? What might change?

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