In a recent post on the twowritingteachers Betsy Hubbard wrote:
When we allow students to be the captain of their own ship and stand back a little they see themselves as a learner, a reader, a writer. Step back. Watch them sail into new adventures and take themselves on new journeys forward.
Possibly the biggest challenge we have in the media center is limited time with students. I only see each class once every four days. Time limitation conflict with my goals to provide students with time to develop and explore the different literacies (technology, visual, reading, writing) as well as time to practice 21st Century skills: communicating, creating, critical thinking, and collaborating. That is a lot to pack in a short period.
Since it is important for students to have time to work on projects, teachers need to talk less and empower them more. For example, as we explore new technology, I sometimes feel compelled to show everything about an app or program, which takes away from their practice time. But, a change I made this year that has allowed me to reduce the amount of time I spend teaching. The change: I’ve begun to share student work more.
Publishing student work has made it possible for me to teach less with more impact, because students teach and learn from each other. Some examples of times that students learned from each other are:
- a second grade student asked a friend how he uploaded an avatar on the class blog.
- a third student said he really liked his classmate’s iMovie. but the font was too small and it was hard to hear the speaker.
- almost everyone in grade 4 noticed how well the words and picture went together on a student’s biography iMovie project.
- a 5th grader asked if she could redo her own iMovie project after she watched another students incredible iMovie book talk.
I am finding that setting up an environment where student work is shared is better for student learning. It sparks interest and questions. They begin to define what is important for them to learn and practice. They begin to own their learning. They think critically about the work of other and reflect on their own.. Students naturally ask each other how to do things that they admire in each other projects and feedback is more powerful that a letter grade. Finally, sharing work allows us to move toward the collaborative environment that we want to create.
The Media Center is a place of discovery and inquiry and sharing student work helps us attain that goal.