We’ve been working on a very exciting project in our literacy class analyzing and designing mobile app logos. Above you can see just a few of the stellar examples of student work. It was one of those units I thought up on a hunch after overhearing a discussion between students about their favourite apps. The learning has taken on a life of its own. I feel like more of a bystander, which is basically what I always seek to be, but don’t always achieve, in my room. Here are some of my reflections.
Student engagement is very high. The kids run to my class and need to be kicked out when it ends.
The kids are doing homework. Not because I’ve assigned any, but because they can’t stop working on their designs.
The self, peer, and teacher feedback in the class is natural and non-evaluative. The students just want help from each other to make their designs better. Talk is productive and meaningful. Moreover, it is initiated by the kids themselves.
We are experiencing a level of collaboration that is something I wish I could bottle and sell (it would be immensely expensive). One kid’s idea influences and spawns twenty others that could not have happened without the first. Eventually, there’s a web of influence between my 4 classes and 107 students. I just become ecstatic when this level of symbiosis occurs. True networked learning.
Still, my favourite part of the learning has been the way some of my historically less successful students have gotten a chance to shine and show off their reading and writing skills. I’m thinking of one boy in particular who I distinctly remember telling me once that he wished he was invisible. Today, I had tears welling up in my eyes when I saw him, shocked and red-faced, grinning from ear to ear, as one of the more popular kids grabbed his design, lifted it in the air, and yelled, “Hey everyone, look at this!”
As a teacher, it is impossible for me to achieve all of my desired outcomes in one year of learning. In fact, there is far more abject failure than success. I do hope, however, that at least a few of my students leave at the end of June understanding that reading and writing are concepts that are ever evolving, ever-expanding, and require an open mind to truly become successful in.