This post first appeared on the Burlington Public Schools Blog
We held our third annual New England 1:1 Summit at Marshall Simonds Middle School this past Saturday. Part of the summit was the first New England Student Showcase, a session that highlighted student work from Burlington and other schools in the area.
As attendees walked through the Marshall Simonds Middle School Learning Commons and spoke with students about their work, it quickly became clear that the students were stealing the show. But isn’t this our ultimate goal as educators, setting our students up so that they can go out and “wow” people?
For all of those who brought students to the showcase I say this: “Kudos and mission accomplished!” Check out the brief Storify I put together about the student showcase as well as the great post from Jenn Scheffer on the BHS Help Desk blog.
The following originally appeared on the BHS Help Desk blog.
My thought was that by offering this type of format, one in which teachers would be able to actually see a finished product created by a student and have one on one conversations with students about the learning and creation process, it would provide educators with a whole new level of inspiration and motivation to integrate technology into their own classrooms. We’ve all attended professional development conferences where educational theory and participant discussion is the focus. Sessions are led by educators, technology specialists, and educational administrators.
That traditional model of PD can be valuable, it’s often necessary and helpful, but for me personally, there’s nothing like gaining the perspective of a student to help me improve. I get a great deal of inspiration when I am able to actually see student work and when I interact with and hear from my students. When I want to try a new app, web tool, activity, or project, often times before I even start, I share my ideas with my students and ask for their feedback. I tend to get better results, and my students end up learning more, when there is collaboration and when my students feel a sense of ownership over their learning. And learning is the key word here. A major takeaway from the Summit is that the focus in Burlington is on learning, content, and skills versus apps and devices. That was the consistent message throughout the duration of the Summit, along with the need for constant support and professional development before, during and after an initial 1:1 rollout.
I knew that New England Showcase was going to be a success. The number of teachers and students who agreed to take time out of their Saturday to showcase their work gave me confidence that the NESS had the potential to be the highlight of the day, and based on the feedback we’ve received, many thought that it was. In the weeks and days leading up to the NESS I corresponded via email with the teachers and students who were attending and it was evident they were excited to take part in this unique opportunity. On Saturday morning, I watched the students and teachers arrive and set up their booths. I watched as many parents gathered to take pictures prior to the official start of the NESS and my confidence that it was going to be a great event grew even stronger. When the participants arrived and began interacting with the students, you could sense the excitement in the air and that’s when I was able to just sit back and let the students run the show. My expectations had officially been exceeded.
- Patrick Murphy, Cindy Dunn, Heather Wood, Fox Hill Elementary, Burlington, MAKelly Floyd, Paula Weldon, Rose Magliozzi, Heather Wood, Tara Olshaw, Val Burns Memorial Elementary, Burlington, MA
- Kim Lynch, Francis Wyman Elementary, Burlington, MA
- Christina Chang, Gina Bauer, Shannon Janovitz, Burlington High School, Burlington, MA
- Nicole Kinney & Alex Caram, Summer Street Elementary School, Lynnfield, MA
- Liane D’Alessandro, Gabriel Landau & Noah Dalton (students), Lynnfield High School, Lynnfield, MA
- Katie Donovan & Ritamarie Benoit, Alden Elementary School, Duxbury, MA
- Alice Gentili, Miscoe Hill Middle School, Mendon-Upton, MA
- A big thank you to my Help Desk and Web 2.0 students for assisting with the high school tours, attending the Showcase, assisting with creating the Aurasma augmented reality experience, and serving on the Help Desk student panel.