Meet my new colleagues … my students!

You might remember my blog “Those that can..” It was early in the semester and gave me an opportunity to think things through as I faced the daunting task of teaching a subject I knew very little about to 20 year 8s. Well … we all survived and what an amazing journey it was.

As my eyes were being opened to the power of the blog I had the intention of also encouraging my students to do the same, unfortunately my school environment isn’t quite ready for that (we’re working on it though). So as a stepping stone I asked each student to keep a running word document, we called it our “Reflection”, which they added to at the end of each week. In the beginning I would write prompts on the board and suggest a word limit to aim for. Over the semester we gradually lifted our aims from a tough 100 to an easy 500 words … in fact I was heartened in the last few sessions to hear the students bragging about how they had “already written 300 words and I still have more to say”. It was also pleasing that the students accepted the practice of reflection quickly and without complaint … it just became habit.  As part of their final assessment they submitted their “Reflection” and today I am going to share some of their thoughts with you.

The prompts I used in the final reflection were:

  • three things that worked well;
  • three things that need improvement;
  • what strategies did you use to help you learn?
  • what advice would you give the teacher taking IT next semester?

So, from the fingertips of my students:

“The three things that worked best this term was:

  • Teaching ourselves
  • The class being able to help each other
  • And playing other peoples games”

“Hack and help is useful for making games better and getting ideas. Like I got an idea off a game to use scrolls. I also like to download and play game maker games off the website to get ideas and help. I find the game maker website very helpful. Having other people play my game made me think about my game.”

“The things that worked best is self-learning, helping each other (but sometimes it gets a bit annoying because at times a lot of people needed help) and Working at our own Pace.”

“The strategies I have used to help me with I.T this semester was to get the tutorials on the internet, board, book, and on the server on the school’s computers. It has been good to teach ourselves how to make these games in these hard programs I had no Idea how to use. But now I can use it and teach other people how to as well.”

“The class, they aren’t that bad at all really. I feel like I can ask nearly anyone for help, and I know some of the people in this class. And a couple of people are my best friends, so it makes this whole class a lot easier. The noise level doesn’t get too loud, so it’s not too hard to concentrate.”

“I  like it when I help other people because sometimes, it can help me understand what I’m doing a little bit more, and also, just knowing that you are helping someone with something that could really impact their grades, it just feels nice. :)”

“The three things that worked best for me is watching learning and doing because you learn in this class you do in this class and you watch in this class”

” I found that when people gave me help and showed me how to do things on game maker was easy, and I soon knew how to make games and have fun with talking with my class about our games. ”

” I thought this was a really stupid subject and was only for nerds but not really because its not.
and I have kinder had some fun in this subject and I am pleased with everything I have done here ”

“Ive been preety good when working in teams over the past 8 weeks, helping other people 🙂 And other people helping me was preety good but I found this class preety boring at the start thinking this was all for nerds and stuff, but it makes you feel good when you achieve something that you think you couldn’t do.”

Some advice I would give the teacher taking an I.T. class next semester would have to be don’t talk so much and let everyone work on their own.”

The advice I would give to the next teacher would be do exactly as Miss Digby has.”

These are not the deliberately picked ‘good’ students … I can honestly say they are a good cross-section of comments! I was speaking honestly when I told them I was proud and pleased with their efforts. We didn’t just learn programming this semester (although I confess they taught me a lot), we learnt about learning … yes, I mean WE!

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Posted on July 9, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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