This post is little behind schedule but later on today my class will be giving their PechaKucha presentations. Our final lesson of preparation began with a feeling of lethargy and blank looks.
So we went back to why are we doing this?
We needed to refocus, reflect and recharge.
We went right back to the beginning. Students moved into their groups and we spoke about the key elements of the task at hand:
• What was the purpose of the PechaKucha?
• Why have you chosen you topics from the Fitness unit?
• Why are they meaningful to you?
• Has it become more about the images than the content?
And I went back to – why are we doing this? What do I want them achieve from this? Have I pushed them a little too far out of their comfort zone?
Recently, another member of my PLN Bianca Hewes (@BiancaH80) blogged about a experiencing a similar feeling – have I created a faux learning experience and then convinced myself that I was doing something different? I started to think that it wasn’t the PechaKucha concept that was too difficult, but that I hadn’t helped them to realise the meaning of the task. This is what had resulted in a loss of direction and motivation.
Last year I attended a symposium on the Australian Curriculum and Dr Paul Brock gave an address. I will never forget this quote: “Change has to be owned and understood for it to occur and be sustained.”
From my perspective – the successful completion of the task is not about the concept and is not about the content, but about the learning and the construction of knowledge. This is what learning should be. This is what needed to be re-established and communicated to my students. They needed to understand and own the task for successful uptake. I needed to make this happen.
I had a discussion with each group about their presentation. Many had simply become caught up in images without much though about why they were choosing them or linking them to talking points. Each group then went back to their original scaffold for their presentation and looked for gaps. From this discussion, my students also decided that the final two slides of each presentation should be a reflection on the task as a whole – the good, the bad and their feelings about the experience.
All this occurred in the first fifteen minutes of the session and was exactly what they needed to get back on track. The next hour was a flurry of activity as group moved in and out the room. Cameras, phones and laptops were all in full operation as last minute inspiration hit for images and discussions were fast and furious.
There was a great vibe in the room for the rest of the lesson. The atmosphere at the beginning and at the end of the session were completely opposite. Some comments from the lesson:
• “Can we use our laptops like this every session?”
• “I am just starting to learn about Adobe Premiere, can I use that instead of PowerPoint?”
• “Ooh, I just want random music playing throughout…”
• “That lesson just went so quick!”
So we have arrived at PechaKucha day. Have my students actively engaged with this unit? Has the PechaKucha experience been beneficial? Have I provided an opportunity for the construction of deep knowledge and meaningful learning? Or, have I simply created another vehicle for angst about speeches, bullet points and PowerPoint?