On Friday we went analog. Old school. I stood up in front of the class, no screen, and actually wrote stuff on the white board while we talked. Forget the spirit days or the music: this was the most authentically 80s thing we've done all year.
Our journal topic was your account of your learning progress in this course. As we discussed, that may have to do with the AP exam, and/or literature & composition, and/or your masterpiece (a.k.a. senior project, collaborative working group, big question). You all have individual goals, and therefore you all have slightly different interests in different elements of this learning experience.
The key theme of the day was "learning experience." We talked about the fact that learning is an active sense-making process and not just the passive consumption of facts provided by an authority figure who periodically deposits information through lecture and withdraws information through tests. Education theorist Paolo Friere called that sort of thing "the banking model" of education. Spoiler: the banking model doesn't create lifelong learners. It creates oppressed, uncreative people who can't wait to stop being taught.
Creativity is essential. Creation is the act of putting something into the the world that didn't exist before. (Which is exactly how Terry Lawless defined music.) In fourth period Taylor illustrated the point. She said something quietly to Hannah, which had value to Hannah but not to the rest of us. But when Taylor was kind enough to repeat herself loud enough for everyone to hear, we all got to consider her words. She changed the course of the conversation and she changed our minds, if only because we started thinking different thoughts in consideration of her idea. If you think this is a small thing you are underestimating the importance of creativity, your ability to be creative, and the ways in which sharing ideas facilitates learning in a group. Your blogs are brilliant examples of how creativity leads to communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, among other positive acts that constitute learning.
By tomorrow you should have decided on a(t least one) "test" for your masterpiece. This should be a showcase for you to demonstrate what you know and what you can do. Although some of you are using your masterpiece to prepare for academic coursework or careers, and some of those careers do require tests like the ones you've seen in school, you shouldn't limit a demonstration of your expertise to multiple choice responses when your blogs already say so much more. You can show what you're learning-- and what you can do-- by writing about it, sharing pictures, embedding video, linking to other sites, and/or using some of the tools we introduced last semester (mind maps, etherpads, etc.).
If you have questions or need ideas, please comment to this post and let us help. This week you will be inviting at least one expert to your blog-- let's make sure that person comes away suitably impressed. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.