When Students Take Ownership of Their Learning

This year, a handful of 7th and 8th graders had the opportunity to present at conferences and speak about how they are documenting their learning. Three 8th graders traveled to the MassCUE Fall Conference at Gillette Stadium to share the digital math textbooks that they are building. They, along with two 7th graders and their digital portfolios, also shared their work at the MEMSET/EISLA conference here at the Park School in February. Here are the students’ reflections:

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to show my work to adults outside of Park. I thought it was a great way to show others what kind of work we do here at Park, not just the faculty members but also the students. My favorite part was explaining and actually showing my work to the visitors because I like helping others and it also made me feel proud of my hard work. My least favorite part was when the visitors asked questions with answers I didn’t know, and I had to tell them I didn’t know and then I felt bad. Now I think of school as not just helping myself but with other activities we do as helping others. School isn’t just a place where you learn things and hang out with your friends, it’s a place to grow and help others. At first I thought I was an average (maybe slightly above average) student who got the work done and put effort it, but after I got selected to do this, I saw that I was a good student who cared about getting her work done well. This project helped me build more confidence in myself and showed me I am a better student than I thought I was. I would love to do this again because I enjoy helping people in anyway possible. Also, it would be a great way for me to grow as a student and person and push my to my max limit of effort. -Bella, Grade 7

The MASSCUE and MEMSET conferences have been great experiences for me. Presenting to other teachers from around Massachusetts was intimidating at first, but I was able to expand my comfort zone, improve on my public speaking skills, andhave fun as well. It was interesting to talk to the other teachers at the two conferences because they had a wide range of attitudes and each had different ideas for how they could use our ideas in their own classes.

MASSCUE and MEMSET really helped me to see the bigger picture. Because I was presenting to other teachers and was able to see presentations by other students, I got a glimpse of the “teacher community” that I had never seen before. It was fun to see the technologies that other schools were using and I felt like I was part of an interconnected “web” of educational ideas around Massachusetts, which was a new and fun feeling.

MASSCUE and MEMSET have given me amazing opportunities and have allowed me to see my community in a whole new way. I was nervous about presenting at first, but I gained important skills and had lots of fun with my friends along the way. I would definitely do MASSCUE and  MEMSET again and recommend it to all future Park Students! – Ian, Grade 8

I very much enjoyed presenting my schoolwork, my digital portfolio, at MEMSET. Presenting on the different aspects of the project and why it’s worth doing made me realize why it actually is important. Reflecting is important to help you realize what worked and what was a mistake so that you won’t make the same one again. Even if you don’t write it down (or type it!), it is important to recognize these things. My favorite part of this opportunity was the actual presenting, I enjoyed sharing my work and telling people new things. I had a lot of fun and would love to do something like it again. -Sofia, Grade 7

As a Teacher and Technology Coach, I saw the students grow in confidence as they spoke with principals and educators from across the state. I was impressed and proud of their work!

Post in the comments below: How can we help students take ownership of their learning inside and outside of the classroom?


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  1. haddadim

    Awesome job, students! I’m sharing your work at the annual ISTE conference today in Texas during my presentation about documentation of learning.
    -Ms. Haddadi

  2. Bea Sanders

    So proud of our students! Sounds like you did an amazing job! Congratulations 🙂

  3. Mr. Wells

    Well done Park students!!! Sounds like an amazing experience!!!

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