I teach a computer applications course at the high school level. The units consist of the usual Google Drive and Microsoft Office curriculum. I also leave a week or two per semester for additional projects that could involve anything computers. This semester, I was privileged to be able to work with an app maker called Yolobe. The classes were divided up into three groups working on three different projects. The founders of the company came in for an opening for the project and a brief questions and answer session. The students then worked on the project for the week.
Today was the day the students practiced their five minute presentations. I staged the class as if it was the actual presentation. I forgot that AP testing was occurring and several students were missing. One particular group that usually had seven members only had three today. Those students were the first group to go during the practice round. The three students were frantic and nervous. I had to take a moment and prepare them to practice. I asked them to think about if they were ever nervous about practicing a sport. They all looked at me funny and said no in unison. I asked why they were not nervous about that practice. They said because it was just practice and if they made a mistake, they could correct it. I said exactly. I then let them know they should do the best they can for their practice run for this particular project and not worry about messing up. I let them know they were expected to make mistakes and the whole class would help them find corrections and point out good things as well.
The practice runs worked out well. The students really needed that practice for their projects. The whole class helped each other out. The class gives the real projects tomorrow during class and they are well prepared. It was interesting to me that the students don’t like to practice learning in front each other. They will have no problem practicing sports in front of each other however. I will continue to reframe practicing in the classroom like practice like an athlete. It works! I have the utmost confidence in my students performance in tomorrow’s projects. Teach your students to practice learning like the would practice for athletics. #distrupteducation