Transforming learning through global collaboration
My student leadership class is equivalent to a Student Council. We use leadership, event planning, technology, and business course standards to have an interdisciplinary class. My students recently finished their first big project. We did some earlier planning and events, but this was different: each group (2-5 students) had to plan and run an event for our school... and they had to choose what type of event and how to run it.
I gave my students the required outcomes of this task: 1) they had to involve other staff or students from outside our class (as participants, audience, etc.), 2) they had to work with at least one other student to plan, 3) each student had to help plan and post their plans to our class wiki, and 4) each student had to reflect during and after planning and running their activity.
Students chose from presentations about a recently attended conference, events to raise school spirit, and fundraising for a cause they were interested in.
The results were interesting! Each group was able to choose something they were interested in. Our events ranged from the simple (organizing a PJ Day) to the complex (a community Thanksgiving Feast, a school assembly about a recent conference students attended, Terry Fox fundraising etc.). Each group was able to work at their own skill level and they chose the event, so they did their best to make it successful!
Students used different tools in their events as well. One group used a prezi and video to present to the entire school about their experiences at We Day 2012. Another group used Twitter to advertise a school wide PJ day.
Overall, I found that by giving students the required outcomes and a choice as to how they met those outcomes, students were more engaged and willing to push their learning to new levels (the group that did the prezi had never used this tool before). I will continue to use choice to challenge my student, but I will offer more choice during lessons as I know students learn different ways!