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Student passion project exhibition: maintaining student voice through the covid-19 era.

Students present their passion project to parents, teachers, administrators, and the community via zoom or similar platform for sharing.

Photo of Dawn Fichera
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

The idea is to give student agency while assessing mastery by allowing for them to complete public exhibitions via online platforms. In this way, students engage in meaningful self-directed work, where they can work in collaborative groups, or independently, and still maintain the opportunity to present their work in a public forum. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Teacher directed/led instruction only. It is imperative to have student-directed authentic learning, and this is a critical timeframe to reimagine and redesign what school can look like.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I’m a middle school language arts teacher who is currently getting my Ed. D in Innovation and Leadership, with a focus on Design Thinking.  I believe we can change the education system on a systemic level, and through this chaos distance ourselves from outdated learning that does not truly benefit the user it is intended for- the students. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Cherry Hill, NJ

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Dawn Fichera

Hi David! Thank you for your feedback. I’m a huge proponent of design thinking and innovation, and as an educator, I firmly believe giving students more agency and control over driving their learning while we employ the “coaching” role can help kids find mastery. This begins with allowing students the opportunity to research topics that are interesting to them. I have done this in my class already, and my 6th graders love it. As far as “standardizing” I have them write a rationale, and answer the “so what” question along with it. Then I have them focus on the who, the why, and the what, which means they need to develop empathy skills, and from there, they can ideate and prototype ideas. This is quite rigorous for this grade level, but the kids are up for it. I do give them a rubric for the rationale as a guide. Additionally, by allowing, or including a public exhibition, students are driven to perform well. The feedback from the exhibition serves to develop them into critical thinkers and receivers of information. Again, I give a presentation rubric in advance to guide their work. At the end, we debrief and talk about the problem or need they met, or the reason they were so I intrigued by their selections. I’m not limiting, I’ve had 6th graders discuss the Holocaust, mental health, climate action, to name a few. Kids want to engage in deeper learning; we need to offer them a platform to do so.