Class: How Good Did We Make It?

Recently, I wrote about how I created a class where the quality of it was tied to student participation. I gave students three quests that they could participate in. The quests varied in terms of workload and, therefore, how much XP was made available. The question I posed (to myself) was, “What if no one signs up?” What would happen in class in response to who signed up and who signed up for what?

Well, here’s what happened…..

Out of the three quests that I made available, students signed up, and participated in, two of them. All but two students in the class participated in at least one quest. That’s correct. Two students chose not to participate in any of the quests. One of the quests just required them to be answer three questions off the top of their head. 40% of the students who signed up for Quest 1 also signed up for Quest 2.  The remaining students signed up for just one or the other.

No one signed up for Quest 3 which was:

Quest #3: Make a Linked Text Set. Create a linked text set based on the reading for this week. Your set should be diverse in terms of the types of texts it uses. You can use the text set to teach whatever concept you wish. Be prepared to share your set with us and walk us through your thinking.
XP = 2000 for a fully completed text set
XP = 1000 for a partially (in process) completed text set – let us help you!

Note: A Linked Text Set is a set of texts grouped around a particular theme or concept. The texts should be diverse. You might have a novel, videos, websites, etc…The term text is broadly defined.

I was not surprised that no one chose Quest 3. It was the more difficult and time consuming of them all. However, I was disappointed because it was the one that should have been most relevant, useful, and applicable to the students. It was intended to be something they could use and get benefit from. I didn’t ask why no one chose Quest 3. I’m just sharing what happened and my own personal thoughts.

participateSo in the end, we had plenty of things to discuss. More than enough for the time we had. This leaves me feeling pretty comfortable about moving on with this approach now and then.  Which, of course, means that at some point this approach will bomb out or I’ll have a class that’s not very good. Statistically speaking, that’s likely what could happen if I do it enough. It may never happen, but I’m ok with taking the chance of it happening.

Why?

Because I think it’s important to give students choice in what they learn and an opportunity to shape the class in ways they believe will help them most. It might be a different experience for them, they might not always know what to think of it or how to navigate it (or want to navigate it), but that’s ok.

Teaching and learning is about doing things together. It’s not about me doing things to you.

One Year Ago