Sunday 24 June 2012

The expert in the classroom - Genevieve Smith-Nunes

Genevieve presented what seemed like a utopian phrase that “Everyone is an expert in the classroom”. But the more I thought about this and the more evidence that Genevieve presented, I was convinced that she was right. I made it my mission to find out what each student’s expertise was in my classroom and to try and use it to my class’ advantage.

In my new school as an ice-breaker, I could ask each student to write on a wall, their name, their year group and their expertise. That way, whenever someone was looking for an expert in (say) audio editing using (say) Audacity, they would know who to go to.

Genevieve herself epitomises Peter’s BOLD approach by contacting professionals from around the world using Google Hangout. She has previously hjad Bob Shukai, the head of Global Mobile Tech at Reuters teach in her classroom via Google Hangout.  Eventhough there was a massive time difference, usually when you ask experts, they’re more than willing to offer help. Maybe that’s a key characteristic of an “expert”?

During the Google Guardian Hackday, Genevieve also helped facilitate a session where all students a 2-player Rocket Space Game. Extraordinary that this can be done over Google Hangout, allowing up to 10 people to video conference at the same time.

She ahs also had Master Students come into school as experts in Tech Enhanced Learning Envionments and HCI. They have been in to test their VLE and have offered help with building apps, creating a wireframe interface for students to experiment with. Simply using Mozilla and Thimble, her class were able to create an HTML render.

Genevieve will be running a HackDay at her school on Friday 6th July and she speaks very positively when she says, the worse thing that could happen is that we could fail. And even that isn’t that bad, because that’s the best way that we learn. And collective failure is safer than individual failure, because we share the experiencr together and nobody is to blame. It seemed that failing was something that is missing from the UK curriculum, Linda outlined this point in her excellent talk and Genevieve closed the day with it. In a funny way it was really empowering. There was once a saying that asked, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” But perhaps if we frame failure in a positive and realistic light, and ask a different question “What would you attempt to do, if the worst that could happen is that you would learn from your failings?”

Well what will you attempt next week, term or year? 

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