For the past three days I have been participating in The Network Institute at Nashua North High School in Nashua, New Hampshire. The purpose of attending the workshop is to explore in greater depth the concept of authentic assessment and to continue the process of implementing senior projects at my school.
On day two of the workshop I was fortunate enough to work with about 25 students from the thirteen schools that are part of The Network. I was given two 75 minute blocks to work with the students to create projects that could demonstrate the use of technology in the classroom. I had ambitious goals, and just like my classroom, I think I set unreasonable expectations...and like always, the students met the challenge.
Project 1: I created a blog on Posterous and changed the settings to allow anyone to post to the blog via email. Here is the result: www.thenetwork.posterous.com
Project 2: Inspired by the 'Vision of Students Today' video by Michael Wesch, I asked the students at the institute to work in pairs and answer the question: When I graduate, I want to be able to _______. Two students took the filming role, the rest of the students took their places with their signs, and three students took responsibility to edit the footage in iMovie. Here is the result:
Project 3 & 4: The group was then split into two smaller groups. One group created a video project & the other created a round table podcast. The video group was given the direction to make a 'Common Craft' style video that depicts a "good day" at school and a "bad day" at school. I realize now that I could have given a bit more direction and expectation with regards to including content and ideas from the institute goals and discussion. While the content may not be exactly what I expected, watching a group of students who did not know each other prior to the institute work together collaboratively, take leadership roles, plan, organize and complete a project in such a short amount of time was inspiring. Here is the result:
The other group ( a bit smaller ) sat together, brainstormed the ideas they had explored during day one of the institute and created a podcast. Here is the result of their work.
On day three of the institute the students will have a 30 minutes to share their experience creating the projects, working together and explaining how technology can be integrated into the classroom to promote authentic assessment and engage students to promote learning.
In addition to the projects, a few students in the group took the lead to make a Facebook Group for the students involved in The Network Institute. Students at the institute with Facebook accounts are now members of the group and have the ability to stay connected with each other in the future to promote change in their schools.
I plan on interviewing as many students as possible tomorrow to get their feedback on the experience.
I can't explain how fantastic it was working with these students, absolutely the highlight of my experience at The Network Institute!