Friday, May 2, 2014

Sharing Student Work

I've taken part in a number of sessions lately on the sharing and publication of student work. It's a pretty hot topic, what with relatively new access to a global audience, and it's an area I'd like to explore as I continually work toward the R end of SAMR. 

Ideally, I want my students to be able to contribute to others' learning as they learn, sharing their work and discovery process. But that's a pretty big step from the traditional math approach of "here's-a-lesson-here's-a-worksheet."

And it's not easy.
I've tried to make some progress sharing class work online, but just when I think I'm getting somewhere, I find I run into stumbling blocks. Our school board has just blocked student access to Google Drive, has always blocked access to cloud storage and youtube, and has never been fond of sharing sites like Padlet or Linoit (allowing text posts, but not images). My immediate go-to's for sharing my own material with students are not accessible.

Assuming I could decide on the best way to get student work online, I find I go around in circles trying to decide on the best curation method and how to best spread the word about our work (with what's available to us behind the filters) - class blog? Contributions to class twitter feed? Wikispace? 

So many questions and possibilities that I find it hard to jump right in.
And once we decide on where to publish student work, what then can we actually publish safely? Our school has a "media release form," which most students' parents sign, but it is geared more along the lines of releasing student photos to the local newspapers, not curating student content online. When it comes to privacy, of course we want to be careful in what we post, but the whole point of sharing is that we get our work out there for others to access, share, comment on and discuss. Where does the privacy line get drawn?

It was while going around in these circles (I sometimes feel like I'm trying to get out of the centre lane of a roundabout, completing a dozen revolutions before making it!) that I realized going back to traditional methods of "publishing" student work might not be such a bad idea.

Sharing student work provides a valuable incentive to create quality material, regardless of whether the sharing is done at a global, local or even just classroom level.

I was reminded of this when I asked my grade 10 math BYOD class to create an anchor chart demonstrating the parts of a parabola
Creating anchor charts

Right from the beginning, the students knew that their charts could be used by other students completing exit slips, quizzes, or the unit test. As students further ahead in the course finished their charts, they were immediately displayed as exemplars for students struggling with the material, as well as resources for those moving forward with the curriculum.
Using anchor charts to help with a test question
How does BYOD fit in with creating anchor charts on paper? The students were still responsible for finding examples and learning the material before putting marker to paper (see image below for their list of resources), and using a graphing calculator app to check their work. It's not an ideal use of the world-at-their-fingertips, but it's definitely a start.
Part of our unit 4 resources

I was very pleased with the work that went into the charts, and the extent to which they were used by everyone in the class throughout the rest of the unit. Now... how to share their charts (or other work) with the world?

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