Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Student Generated Curriculum?

At the end of the year, students in my classes have the option to complete an assignment using an online/tech tool of their choice, creating a product of their choice about a topic of their choice.  Some of my students are creating "how to" videos for using Web 2.0 tools, some are creating websites about learning a new skill, some are writing reviews of different online tools, some are creating resources for discussion on specific issues - as you can imagine, there is a variety stuff happening - fun, creative, chaotic stuff! 

One of my students asked if she could "revise" the project she had worked on throughout the year as her end of the year project.  As the "curriculum" for Discovery classes has grown, I have found it difficult to keep links to resources up to date. It's also challenging to keep up with the way that the assignments often evolve into more collaborative and/or creative options as the students put their own spin on how they see their own project come to fruition. I was happy to turn this task over to her and at the same time was realizing that our Blackboard pages needed some SERIOUS overhaul to better reflect some of the learning I have been doing about digital writing, collaboration and socially constructed spaces.  Sigh - this seems like a LOT of work and was wishing I had more students interested in reworking some of our other project options....Ding Ding Ding! Why should students have to wait on me to make corrections/changes/revisions to our curriculum when trying to complete work?   They already have a lot of choice an input into the types of work they complete in class  - maybe it's time to turn the whole kit and kaboodle over to them!! Already, some students are coming up with innovative ideas of how to demonstrate their learning, we could all benefit by sharing those ideas in a public space.

I hope to share in the future how this new "student managed and generated curriculum" works out.  At this point it sounds pretty awesome to me.  My current plan is to post the curricular pages in wikispaces where all of our students have read/write access.  I keep most of the wiki private but can make the curriculum pages "viewable" to the public so that parents and other teachers can get an idea of what we are doing.  Thanks to the "history" feature and RSS, I (and the students) can be notified when changes happen to these pages and if a mistake happens, we can always revert to an earlier version. Wish us luck on our new adventure!  I'll post a link when my first student gets her work online.

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