Monday, July 12, 2010

Reflecting on Reflections...

This week, I was afforded an awesome opportunity to gain some insight. Two students asked me to film their Smartboard presentation and I was happy and eager to do so because these two ladies always have such an uplifting, giggly persona about them. At the end of the filming process, as I was about to take my leave, one of them asked for feedback. Knowing that Student A would appreciate honesty and frankness, I responded rather bluntly to her question, "Was it good?". I bluntly said, "no". First lesson learned...

1.) Know your audience and always consider everyone in the room. Although Student A could appreciate and possibly prefer the brutal honesty, I could tell by the expression on Student B's face that she needed a little more "constructive" in my criticism.

After I said no, I asked them if they could tell me why I might say that. I then asked them to think about the purpose of the video, which was to demonstrate how the Smartboard can enhance the learning experience. We decided that although their presentation was full of good content, it poorly met the project objective because they make use of Smartboard potential.

We continued to discuss what the project was lacking, which lead me to my next thought... Why? They informed me that they spent a fair amount of time looking for lessons and eventually settled for the one they created. They concluded that although Smartboards are great for certain subjects with young elementary students-- it was not effective as a tool for more mature minds. Having heard their thoughts, I shared what their presentation did demonstrate: Smartboards are not practical tools for upper level learning environments. Mistake number 2...

2.) When encouraging the reflection process, trim back the conclusions and encourage students to come up with their own restored purpose. I suggested that they add a reflection piece to their presentation and publish it as an argument as to why they feel Smartboards are ineffective for their area of study. If I had pushed them to trouble shoot more independently-- who knows what they would have come up with-- they may have even decided giving Smartboards another shot was easier than spinning their flop into a valuable production.

So now that I have written down my own reflection about this experience, I am left wondering, "How could I have directed them towards reflection without leading them to the product that I have in mind?" I don't want to lead them to my vision because theirs might be more creative, and WILL definitely offer insight into their own minds and capabilities. What do you think?

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