In a large class of a hundred or so students, I wanted to find a way to allow them to organise the space and resources for an end of term class Expo. It’s the first time I’ve done this, so I thought I’d share what I was doing, it might be of use.
First, I have a large open space with four work-zones. One has traditional tables (seating 6) per table, another bean-bags called Kloudsacks which sit (or prop up) 3/4 kids, another with high tables and stools (each sits 4) and a kind of air-port style lounge which looks like a long strip of bendy licorice. Overall, students sit in one or other as they need during the day. We have some portable wipeboards, three fixed projector screens and a portable. The rooms is about the size of 3 traditional classrooms overall.
At the end of a project session, the kids have work to display and written folios. The two things are largely interchangeable, with the display a summary of the folio. The display as 3-5 images with descriptions (about the project) and a reflection statement about what they learned, hated, saw as valuable etc., With 100+ kids, we don’t have a uniform way of setting this up and so eveyone has to share.
The problem is: How do 100 people dicuss and share irregular resources so the whole group comes up with the best overall expo of their work?
The solution is to use some technology to help. First, I used Warcraft’s basic “need or greed” mechanic to talke to kids about what we have to share around. Next they used Padlet to describe in one sentence (per project) what they needed to display. This was a great way of seeing who had 1 project and who had many. I should say that people didn’t have to display anything if they didn’t want to – and zero kids chose that option.
The process was to use QR codes and iPad Readers. I used DemoQRacy to allow them to choose Display one, Display many or Display none. All they had to do was vote. They then split into two groups and sanned two more QR codes which Padlet generates. It took them to one or two discussion boards online. We used the multi-jectors to show them the codes in two slides. Overall this took about 15 minutes to complete and get the groups together.
If needs needed to have something: it means they could not display without it or any other way. This promotes a lot of critical thinking and lateral thinking about their own work. If kids greeded something, it means they it would enhanse their display, but they realised it wasn’t needed or that they would get it.
Next one teacher worked with a self-selecting group of 8 kids on each committee who then read the padlets and draw a floor plan. The floor plans then came together and a final one agreed. The needs came first and then the greeds. The greeds were allocated by a dice roll (as per Warcraft’s mechanic).
All up, the expo was designed and planned in about 30 minutes, with everyone critically thinking about what they will be doing on the day itself. Of course we have a few students who might not have too much to display — so we created a ‘crew’ option for those kids who will hand in work privately and want to be part of the assemmply and organisation, working for those displaying in the afternoon.
The long-term plan for this is about assessment. We will have a Week 10 Expo of all out PBL projects. This is for peer review and comment, public display and to allow teachers who team-teach to team-assess student work.
There are a few benefits here besides the kids expo. It gives us time to see take a holistic look at their work and it allows us to re-think parent-teacher communication and culture. The expo allows parents and kids to think about the whole groups work – and not the ‘selected few’ that schools often try and pass off as ‘what our school is’. Most of all, it speeds up the end-event-marking, as we get an whole day to assess kids as they set up their displays.
Need or greed expos … give it a go.