What am I finding as I collect data?
This week’s interaction with students was much more of an introduction than actual content instruction. Our class iPad has not arrived yet, but fortunately my research is on devices and is not limited. The teacher asked that I go over how to assemble the listening center. There are three grades in within this combined classroom, and the teacher utilizes a rotation system so as best to meet the needs of the students. However, the students need a sense of independent learning and capability. Teaching them how to put together the listening center not only gives them a sense of ownership in the classroom, but it makes them capable of fixing tech problems themselves instead of interrupting the teacher for something as simple as an unplugged power chord (which has happened already).
What I found so interesting in this task is that there appears to be two mind sets present. One says, “I don’t know what’s wrong with this, but I bet I can figure it out.” While the other says, “This isn’t working. It must be broken. YOU fix it.” The students with the “I can fix it” mindset were much more eager to participate in the activity with me. At one point, I had a student reassemble the pieces to the listening center herself. Her goal was for me to be able to hear the CD. I had previously shown her where everything plugged into except for the power chord. “You didn’t tell me where this goes,” she expressed, but she was looking around for something that made sense.
“No I didn’t,” I responded. “But I bet you can figure out where it goes.” Sure enough, she found a hole that looked like it would fit and she was very pleased with herself. Once she completed the listening center, I disassembled it again. I had a “you fix it” student do the assembly this time. When she came to the power chord it became obvious she wasn’t watching the other student’s progress. She didn’t know where to plug it in. However, instead of looking for what was logical, she just started randomly placing the end of the chord all of the CD player and asking, “Is this where it goes?” After a hint that power chords generally are in the back, she found the spot. But when it came time to play the CD, there was no sound. I asked her what was missing, and her answer was, “It’s broken.” It turns out the volume was all the way down.
So I’m expecting interesting results with this project. I’ll be conducting a reading level assessment and possible writing assessment on Monday, just so that I have something more measureable. However, I am very excited for this learning experience!