As part of my Pedagogy of Learning and Psychology of Learning courses for pre- and in-service educators, I included a final project for the course was a Celebration of Learning. They were asked to synthesize and reflect on their course learning using their own creativity, passions, and personal interests. The description of this project was:
To demonstrate overall knowledge and integration of the material studied in class and from the texts, students are to do one of the following and demonstrate/report results to their classmates:
- write a report
- do a photo essay
- compile a scrapbook
- build a model
- put on a live demonstration
- do a statistical chart
- keep a journal
- record interviews
- design a mural
- develop a simulation
- set up an experiment
- do a mind-map
- engage in a debate
- produce a videotape
- develop a musical
- choreograph a dance
- create a rap or song
- one of your own own design
You will present your project to the class on the last day. You have up to 15 minutes for your presentation. The grading criteria for this project includes:
- Neatness and Professionalism- clean, professionally presented, easy to view, free of grammatical and spelling errors
- Integration of Course Theory and Content – demonstrates an integration and understanding of class content and your research findings.
- Quality of Content – the content demonstrates mastery and insights into the subject matter.
- Creativity and Insight – Materials demonstrate creativity and insight about self and course material.
When students have multiple choices in ways to demonstrate their knowledge, the evidence of their learning is more accurate. We wanted the students to actually become the experts through the learning process. This assessment isn’t just a fancy term for a presentation at the end of a unit. To actually engage in an authentic celebration is to witness a true display of student understanding. Learning Celebrations are Authentic Assessments of Student Understanding
Multiple Means of Expression Giving students a choice of how they want to demonstrate what they learned supports the Universal Design for Learning Principle II: Provide students with multiple means of expression:
What if a student can best show you what they learned through art form? Does it make sense to eliminate this option all together? As educators, it is essential to be attuned to the fact that there is not one form of expression that is optimal for all students. Catering to the natural diversity of expression when designing a course can serve to broaden the impact of your teaching: some ways to do this are through text, verbal presentations, design, film video, multimedia, 3D Models, music/art, recordings, or graphic organizers. Technology plays a big role in facilitating these implementations. The CAST website has a full definition. (http://www.uvm.edu/~cdci/universaldesign/?Page=about-udl/guidelines-principles.php&SM=about-udl/submenu.html)
Technology-Enhanced Celebration of Learning
The concept of celebration of learning, honoring students’ learning preferences, and reinforcing the classroom learning can be enhanced in this age of technology. Technology provides additional ways and opportunities to differentiate instruction based on content, interest, and ability. Choice menus give learners the opportunity to self-select activities that are best suited to their interests and ability. The result is engaged and motivated learners with resultant products that when shared in the classroom have often made me cry due to the personalized and passionate characteristics of these products.
Options that can be offered that are technology-enhanced include:
Create a Series of Word Clouds
Write and Illustrate an eBook
Draw or Paint a Picture
Make Comic Strip
Do an Animation
Create a Data Visualization
Create an Infographic
Create a “Media” Presentation (must include at two different types of media – photo, images, audio)
Keep a Blog
Make a Game
Make a Timeline
Make a Google Earth Trip
Make an Online Quiz
Compose a Musical Composition
Make an Audio-Media Message
Make a Book Trailer
Create a Stop Motion Animation
Build a Project in a 3D Virtual Environment
Student Examples This past term, two students in my undergraduate course on Interpersonal Relations selected technology-enhanced projects. TJ loves Minecraft, so his final project included a review of the course concepts using his Minecraft Skills.
Another student, Nicole, created a series of Wordles for each topic covered during the course.
In addition, one student loved the Wordles were created in class so much, she did her own handmade versions for her project.