I do a lot of reading and in my reading there are the stories of how students latch onto learning, understand its value, and voice it. In my technology class I longed to hear those words that I had made such an impression on students that they tell how it is all about learning. I heard those words from a student last night who sen ta message via Google chat.
During our chat the student as what I was working so I told him I was working on a publication for teachers using Simplebooklet. He asked what it was so I sent him the link. Seconds later he came back and said it looked cool, so I shared the link to the most recent booklet I made called Cool Tools for Teachers v2. In a minute or two he came back and critiqued my work saying that it followed the same principles he learned about making presentations. He looked critically at my work and gave great feedback.
Prior to this SMS the student completed work on creating stellar presentations. I flipped the learning using Camtasia, YouTube and Schoology and giving a detailed explanation of what they had to do. Work on this assignment took place over a week with students answering questions and then applying what they learned to make a great looking and informative presentation. As work continued I walked around the room coaching and guiding, asking questions, and offering suggestions. One thing I did consistently was to reinforce their work wasn't about the project but about learning the Final products were good considering I shifted their entire notion of what it means to make presentation.
Kids are believers. They believe in listening to educators and changing how they understand the world, but the teacher has to be willing to share. When students you genuinely care about them and their interests they believe what you say. I repeated over and over that what they were learning, how to create awesome presentations, wasn't about the project but about learning how to make a stellar presentation. I thought I was harping on it too much but the learning took root and kids blossomed.
A few things I learned.
Never give up on impressing the importance of learning to your students. It may feel like you are nagging them but it is important for them to know that learning how to learn is just as important, if not more, than learning the content and performing on an assessment.
Use assessment for its intended purpose. I know students learned the content of creating stellar presentations because they could make one and talk to me fluently about the concepts. There was no need for me to give a test or have them make more than one presentation. They got it and I knew they got as I coached and guided their learning.
Invest yourself in students.