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Ask Simple Questions to Start Co-Designing Instruction with Students

  At the heart of any learner centered classroom is the co-designing of instruction by teachers and students. This can seem like a very daunting tasks at first. How can I work with each student individually to design a path to outcome mastery? How can I give up all of this control of my instruction? How can I get students to buy into this process? All of these questions are valid, but they are not the questions that should be asked at the start of this process. Students and teachers who are new to this process can't expect to go full on designing individual paths from scratch. Also, there is not going to be an equal balance between teacher and students when it comes to instructional design. At the beginning of the process, it makes sense for the locus of control to still lie mainly with the teacher. As I begin the process with a new group of students every year, I solicit information from students that I use to design instruction.  There are different times that I solicit this info

Sharing Personal Learning Projects Through Conformity

Students wrapped up their personal learning project today.  On exam days, our classes met once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  The morning was for sharing and the afternoon for putting all of their learning process pieces together.  I'll focus on reflection in my next post, but it was tough for me to see how I gave students such free freedom in their learning but dictatorial control in their sharing.

Morning Session

In the morning, students did a gallery walk of the one sheet posters. The one sheets were created using the student's program of choice.  Many used graphic friendly sites like Canva or Pickochart, but using Google Docs or Draw worked fine for others thanks to the host of formatting available to text and visuals.  During the gallery walk, students walked around the halls with a smartphone or tablet and a pair of headphones.  By looking at a one sheet displayed on the wall, they were informed about the topic and the process of that particular project.

They used the Aurasma augmented reality app was used to view the video students created related to the topic.  The videos were made in only two class periods which is part of my regrets that I'll discuss in the next post.

The results of the one sheet and video ran the gambit in terms of quality of presentation of information, reflection on the process, and overall design.  I know I can learn as much about the assignment from the ones that were good as I can from the ones that didn't meet expectations.  But right now, I can't help but be a little disappointed in some. But it's the first time we've done this so there is lots to learn from.  I've posted images of some of the one-sheets below.

If you want to see the videos attached to the one-sheets below, do the following:
  1. Download the Aurasma app for your smartphone or tablet
  2. Open the app
  3. If the app is in camera mode, tap the magnifying glass at the bottom.
  4. In the search bar type in "bcphysics"
  5. Select "Bcphysics's Public Auras" and follow.
  6. Tap "back" and tap on the purple viewfinder button at the bottom of your screen to scan one of the images below. 
  7. When the concentric circles appear, the video is loading.
Here's a gif version of the process

Afternoon Session

In the afternoon, students worked on putting all of their documentation together into a page of their portfolio.

On the portfolio page, the collected the following items:
  • One sheet document (The poster)
  • Video explaining what was learned or created
  • Progress and Reflection sheet (this is the document submitted for each check-in) 
  • Human contact sheet detailing a human source used as a resource
  • A sheet detailing the major resources used in the project other than the human contact.
  • Brief reflection providing feedback on a strength and weakness of the design of the assignment

I really think the portfolio was a great place to collect all of this work that went into the project rather than having them include it as a part of the main presentation of information.  Regardless of what I decide on options for future products, I think I will always leave the collating of resource and progress documents find their home in the portfolio as opposed to the major product.

The next post will focus more on reflections on the project.


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