Currently the students are presenting their impact projects to their communities. Yesterday I sat in on one community and I was fascinated again by the way students learn in this technological age.
Jonah is studying sculpture. He said "Because I am an artist I want to learn as many skills as I can" - His project is called BUSTING CAESAR. He got the idea for making a bust of Caesar from his classics teacher. (He joked that he had considered busting the principal - thought it would be cool to have the bust at the top of the stairs where the students come in -mmmm the kids laughed with gusto - not me however - the horror of it !!!!!!) He has used videos off YouTube to teach himself. He said he likes the pace of the videos and the fact that he can go back over and over the instructions until he gets it right. He has teacher mentors and he has valued the input that the teachers have had but his main learning has come from the videos. An issue for him was the hair - he could find nothing on YouTube about how to make the hair so he had to improvise. He is very pleased with his result. I asked him whether he would enter his work for NCEA credits. He was emphatic in his reply - this was about learning for himself - he is already getting enough credits elsewhere. The final comment of his presentation was "I have achieved a lot more than I expected of myself ".
Kenneth, a year 11 student says he LOVES making films and it is what he does in his spare time. The impact project is a dream for him because he can do what he loves all day. He is into 3D animation. He learns online how to use programmes. The first one he tried he found in the end was too difficult for him so he went searching and found one that was easy for him to manipulate. He has ended up with a 3minute, 35second film which he says he is very satisfied with . He says the video is smooth and the colour flawless. He is very excited about the next project because he won't be wasting time looking for the right programme and he is ready to complete the movie he has started. He likes the tutorials on line because he can go at his own pace.
Queenie and Anneke are choreographing CABARET. This is a different genre for them from the last year show and they have had to come to terms with the style of burlesque. They said it had been pretty easy because they just googled it and they had been able to watch heaps of dances on YouTube that they could get ideas from.They said that so far they have choreographed eight dances and they have found the best way to teach the dances is to record themselves doing the dances and making the video available for all the students. They expect when the students come to the rehearsals that they have a pretty good idea of how the routines go.
What a fabulous world we live in !!!! Learning can be done in so many exciting and engaging ways.
All this confirms for me that for us to be truly a 21st century school we must provide space and opportunity for students to learn without the restrictions of the teachers, the curriculum and the assessment.