Monday, November 15, 2010

Student end-of-trimester reflections

I believe it’s very important to take some time at the end of the trimester or at the end of a unit to think about the learning that has been taking place. Since we are closing the first trimester of the school year, third grade students were given the opportunity to reflect on their learning during tech class. They answered the following questions (all regarding technology) in a word processing document:

1-   What have you learned?
2-   What was hard?
3-   What was easy?
4-   What would you like to learn?

It was interesting to read their comments.  When they were asked: What have you learned? Most of them immediately replied that they had learned the homerow position as well as how to use the Ultrakey application that teaches them keyboarding skills.  Little by little, they started remembering all they had worked on during the trimester: Wordle, Timeliner, copy-pasting pictures, capturing screenshots, Hyperstudio, Pages, and a few Mac shortcuts. They love technology and anything new they learn about it is exciting for them.  Simple things, such as obtaining an apple icon when holding the shift-option-k keys all at once, has made them really happy. When students reflected on the second and third questions, just a few mentioned that using the homerow position had been hard, but the rest said everything had been quite easy. They have a beautiful, open and positive disposition to learn anything about technology. When asked what would they like to learn, most of them stated that they would like to create websites and videos. It’s amazing to see that these young students are totally aware that they can post their productions in the Internet. They do not see themselves just as information-receivers, but also as information-producers, even though they have not yet had that much experience in the Internet.

After the reflection, they worked on an activity that taught them Mac shortcuts.  By answering an online quiz, they realized they just knew a few and there were many more out there. Since they were already using a computer, they began testing those shortcuts.  I heard lots of exciting cries as they discovered these new shortcuts. I was happy to be present in those “aha” moments. Finally, the assignment ended with an individual creation of a handy list of shortcuts that would be kept in their desktop. It was nice to watch students logging out using the shortcut they had just learned and it was also fun to listen to their conversations as they were lining up to leave the lab talking about all sorts of shortcuts they use in their computers at home. It felt like a good learning activity.