Students Speak out

As exhibition night rapidly approaches I thought it would be interesting to capture how the students are feeling; take the proverbial temperature so to speak. With that in mind I spent the morning hanging out in the Digital Learning Lab talking to students.  The room was a perfect example of controlled chaos. The students all were at different places in the process, knew what they had to work on next, and there was much activity and chatter in the effort to achieve these goals. The teacher used this time to check in with students individually and trouble shoot technical issues should they arise.

By this time I am a familiar face to the students. I got the attention of the class and announced that I wanted to capture their quotes in response to the following questions:

  • How things are going with the exhibition?
  • What are you excited about?
  • What part of the process was the most engaging?
  • What part of exhibition night are you looking for?
  • What is your biggest learning from this project?

After this announcement I made my way around the classroom and conversed with students individually.

The first student was working on imovie, editing his second draft.

“I made my script over break. I even filmed two videos. But I’m only going to use the second one for exhibition cause I was looking down to much in the first one. Also realized that I need to speak louder.”  After this I asked him about his feelings towards exhibition night. He responded that he is “excited about the focus of exhibition night.”

I moved on to check in with another student. This student is one that I know well from working individually with him. His most prominent feeling right now is “I’m nervous! I am not good at talking and even though it’s on the video I still feel nervous.” This was similar to the experiences of others who stated “I am nervous about my parents seeing the work I have been doing.”

The next student I spoke with wanted me to review her lesson write up to check it for grammatical errors. Through talking with her about her project she exclaimed“ I am looking forward to seeing other students math presentations.” One of her classmates, Zuri chimed in, “ I think that exhibition is going to be hilarious. We have a lot of creative people and natural comedians. They come up with things that aren’t really Normal, and it makes it funny”

Some students shared with me their thoughts about what the exhibition is going to be like and what the participants should expect. Asiay said “Most parents probably ain’t that good at math, so be prepared to become a student again.” Taylor shared that  “I think people should be looking forward to learning new skills, and new methods for learning this math.” One student shared this, “I want the participants to leave knowing something. People might see me all dressed up like this (baggy pants, hoody, headphones) but they’re just clothes, not me, and they can learn from me.” This struck me as a profound statement that hinted at the transformative nature of this project. Lastly, Dominique shared her rational for how audience members should approach the exhibition.

“If you guys come you can remember the math you forgot.  I decided to teach my lesson like a teacher to show my parents that I can teach and not just be a student. I experimented with titles because I talk really fast sometimes and I want people to read the instructions at the bottom so they can go back. So people can listen and read and review”

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