Student Learning Projects

Student Learning ProjectsLibrarians and Tech Integrators are great at collecting data: circulation checkouts, database use, Chromebooks per student, number of patrons walking into the library, etc. But how valuable is this information? This kind of data has little to do with our students learning to evaluate sources, understand content, gather evidence to support a claim, and ask good questions.

I ask you to reconsider how to collect data about your program. We all need to ask ourselves:

  • How does my work make a difference in improving teaching and learning?
  • What is my value to the learning culture?
  • How might I use evidence to improve my practice and enhance learning?

When you develop your Student Learning Project during your field experience, you will be coming up with inventive ways to measure those questions.

Start with a Lesson Plan Template Tool
There is a value in different lesson plan template tools. The one you pick will help you stay focused and on task as your plan your Student Learning Project. Try out the STEM Inquiry Lesson Template from the OER Commons.

Choose Your Standards
Focus on 3 standards. It’s overwhelming when faced with the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, C3 Social Studies Framework, ISTE Standards for Students, and National School Library Standards.

Nail Down Student Learning Objectives
What is it that you want students to know and be able to do when they complete the unit? Be specific and make sure these are measurable. Consider the diverse student populations in your classes and how you will meet their needs, too.

Develop Pre-Assessments
How will you know if your students actually learned what you are trying to teach if you don’t start off with some data? Think of creative ways to gather this data about your students. It doesn’t have to be a test or a quiz. Read this excellent blog post called 10 Creative Pre-Assessment Ideas You May Not Know by Angela Stockman. Once you have a pre-assessment, you can deliver it at any time and analyze that data. Do you notice any trends?

Prepare your actual lessons. Test your technology tools. Do you need any assistive technologies for your students? Talk to your collaborative partner about who is going to do what. I’m not recommending a rehearsal, but it’s great to know which content you were planning on delivering before you stumble over each other in front of students.

While you are teaching, ask your teaching partner to video a presentation. You can use this to submit as your video demonstration of teaching.

This is your final project for your students. They will complete their projects, create their masterpieces, or share their knowledge in an inventive way. How will you measure whether they met the goals you set for them? Did they learn what you thought they would? Gather your rubrics, review your data, and analyze. How does it compare to the pre-assessment?

“We don’t learn from experience… we learn by reflecting on experience” John Dewey. I know! Another John Dewey quote, but this is so important. Sit down and write a reflection on your student learning project. What went well? What needs improvement for next time? How can you use the data you found to improve your teaching practice? Be honest. Be thoughtful. Look at student work and think about how you could have done something differently.

Let me know if you have questions about your student learning project. The detailed description and rubric is in your Moodle. Now go forth and teach!

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