Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Google 80/20 Project - Plus Deltas

I've been working on my follow-up to the Google 80/20 project that I piloted with my IIIs and IVs this year. I had typed up an intermediate post, but held off for all the reasons Rachel stated in her previous post as well as a few personal issues that got in our way (AKA an acute concussion and a broken wrist). My classes and I just finished our presentations and I'd like to do two more posts. This one, where I address some questions and discuss my observations (and whether they are a + or a δ) and conclusions and another when I discuss the kids' feedback.


  • The students really enjoyed being able to choose what they wanted to study. They all chose topics that meant a lot to them. This made the entire process more enjoyable. +
  • Many students felt that they had all the time in the world and were caught doing other work more than once. δ
  • Students chose whatever they wanted, but some failed to connect it to Latin. δ
  • Some students took seemingly odd topics and managed to use Roman culture and myth to establish a connection. This was quite unexpected and interesting. +
  • Students felt held back by previously expressed ideas (from years of schooling) and felt they HAD to do a presentation visual (PowerPoint; Prezi; etc.) δ
  • Students turned in their correspondence with their CCs, but didn't use their CC for advice or peer editing. δ
  • Students, again I suspect, from years of schooling fell into this "presentational" mode where they stood in front of the class and explained rather than discussed. δ
  • It was easy to see who was comfortable with the free discussion. Students really worked to help each other during the final "presentation" asking clarifying questions. +
  • I got a clear view of what interests students. These are things I can use next year for instruction. +
 + Conclusions
A few things are clear to me here. If (and I think I will) I do this activity again, I will keep as much freedom as possible. Students who are interested, as the latest FL research suggests, do good work. I would be hesitant to place restrictions on topics, although I feel some may be a good idea, just because the connections some of the kids made were so unexpected and good. I would hate to hinder that. I will be interested to see student responses.

I think I will want to do this earlier in the year. Some of the data  I took in about who was comfortable discussing would be useful for further instruction. I also think it may be beneficial, if done earlier in the year, to tie an assessment to it (using student questions and feedback).

 δ Conclusions
There are some things I'd definitely change. Most of these changes are based on the deltas I noticed. Once I get student surveys in, this list may be added to or change, but I definitely think I'll do these things next year. 
  1. A set timeline with due dates for rough drafts and peer editing - I hope this would combat the feeling of having endless time and help students use each other as resources.
  2. Ban presentational programs - I am, honestly, so tired of PPT and prezi. Next year I think I will just require student to have a different visual. 
  3. Require students to discuss Roman cultural perspectives, products, or practices. - I am on the fence with this one. Perhaps I would require this for younger groups. I want them to have freedom, but I want to make it useful to our class and avoid a "book report" on a topic. 
  4. I would change the set up of the classroom for this - I would put the desks in a giant circle or perhaps in small groups while I floated between them. I would hope that this would encourage more discussion. 
Student surveys are coming and will, more than likely, change some of my conclusions. I will update more once they come in.