Messy Learning Examples

I mentioned in an earlier post that some of the most important learning that happens isn’t part of your lesson plan because you can’t account for everything that MIGHT happen during a project. Here are some recent examples from our most recent video project.

One group needed some pictures of what living stickleback fish look like (the fossils we found were of extinct fish). The group searched the net and found some good examples and were just going to use them. From that a copyright discussion ensued – so we ended up emailing photographers to get permission. Since the pictures the students wanted to use were all from university web sites that got the professors interested in what the students were doing and they want copies of the video.

At one point the transition scenes with titles had no sound associated with them, and the students felt that was fine. They thought it was fine until about the third time they watched it – then it was boring and they decided they needed to do voiceovers on at least some of them – so we did.

Of course in their excitement to have a video on the internet each group wanted their scene to be as long as possible – but 5 out of 7 groups ended up deciding to edit their scenes considerably to make them more understandable and less boring.

Students were very reluctant to do the voiceover work (with a few exceptions, there are hams in every group) it was embarrassing or scary… and you might make a mistake… oh my gosh! After a few brave souls did theirs … and made mistakes … and they weren’t laughing stocks, it became more and more acceptable. In fact my students with the least English experience were some of the most likely to “volunteer” from their group. This is great because then the whole group gets involved helping them learn to pronounce the words correctly and clearly.

One of the “messy” learning pieces that came out was students wanting to re-write script pieces because “the wording is so important.” They would come to this on their own, especially when they would do final practicing before doing a voiceover. Is it OK if we re-write this part Mr. Crosby, we think we can make it better.” Great stuff! Like you’re going to say “No guys – don’t want you to think about improving your work on your own – let’s just use it as is.”

Learning is messy!

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One thought on “Messy Learning Examples

  1. I especially like the re-writing example. Nothing like a performance to encourage a little critical reflection. I’m interested in hearing about the stuff that was messy for the kids, and the teacher.