For my reflection this week I would like to discuss the summary of my ARP, and how my students seemed to blossom under the changes I made from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2. In creating the final touches on my ARP site, I really started to think about how much progress the students have made. In Cycle 1, I was so focused on having a quality project that I tried to make a year long project fit into 6 weeks. My kids were completely overwhelmed and confused with the structure and tasks. I had them doing blog postings, Googledocs, tutorial videos, voicethreads, glogster portfolios, etc….and some of them didn’t even know how to copy and paste! So as a few flew away and went to town with the self-directed structure, others sat there completely lost. To make matters worse, they were initially supposed to work in groups and help each other figure out the specific directions. Looking back, I realize what a huge jump this must have been for them. I mean, I usually introduce every project to them with background information and a thorough demonstration, which is usually followed by a practice activity and research on subject matter choice. I was asking them to suddenly jump into a self-directed, self-motivated, technology dependent, multi-level, multi-tasking set of interconnected activities that required a visual portfolio submission? No wonder I got so much negative feedback. My perspective, what I thought was cool after working in EMDT, was very different than theirs.
However, in the last few weeks of my Cycle 2, gathering up all the final data and visuals of student work, I am really pleased with their progress. I made some drastic changes and they embraced them. We worked together on directions instead of groups. I gave them flexibility in time (but still a certain deadline) so that they could pace themselves and still work on a regular class project at the same time, which was one of the biggest complaints that I got on Cycle 1…that they had to stop their normal Art class routine. The activities were more to the point, and they had more familiarity with them. I gave them a choice this time between doing hands-on or virtual for each topic, and I was really afraid that they would all choose hands-on after Cycle 1. No! Some did pick virtual stuff! I had a few choose the Googledoc activity and a lot of Sumopaint! I even had a few try Corel and Adobe. With Cycle 1, I got so wrapped up in showing them every cool tech tool that I forgot the meat of it—having an engaging experience! So I’m really happy that I learned and adapted and had success in Cycle 2…I can’t wait to show off my kids’ photostory of their projects!