Helping Students Develop An Education Vision

Earlier this year my 12th graders conducted an inquiry into education. By giving students an opportunity to learn about education theory, talk to the general public about education, and reflect on their own educational experiences, I hoped to help them develop their own ideas and understandings mainstream education, the education they experience at SLA, and their experiences in my classroom. Additionally, I wanted them to see themselves as agents of their own education and not passive participants having education done to them.

The unit began with some readings we did collectively and then discussed as a class. We began formulating understandings and questions. Then, students designed and created their own Education Vision Digital Stories. Here is an excerpt of the project description:

What is Your Education Vision?

Project: Create a 2-3 minute digital story that presents a unique vision of education.

Guiding questions:
– How should schools be redefined or reimagined?
– Why does education matter? (What don’t most people understand about ed?)
– What should it mean to learn?
– What should the relationship be between schools and society?

What we’ve done:
– Writing about meaningful learning experience
– Reading: Hector Isn’t the Problem
– Street Interviews
– Reading: School on a Hill

Annotated Bibliography (Checkpoint #1): You have recorded at least fifteen quotes about education on your Google Doc by using at least four sources. You have begun to develop your own ideas by inserting at least ten comments that explain the significance of quotes, ask questions, and make connections.

Conference (Checkpoint #2):
You (or you and your partner) have a conversation with a teacher where you share your script for your digital story and the different sources (three minimum) that you plan to use. You get approval to proceed. Scripts must include a question for investigation and one or more larger ideas that you intend to convey to your audience.

Final Product (Checkpoint #3): You submit your final, polished 2-3 minute digital story that says something unique about education, democracy, and/or our city. The video is uploaded to Vimeo. The link is posted to the discussion forum on Canvas.

A couple of notes about this project that would not be obvious from the description:

  • I curated resources for students and then shared them through a social bookmarking site so that their time spent researching would be more productive and high quality.
  • After the first week of the unit, many class periods were spent with opening activities and discussions related to education before students were given time to work towards their checkpoints.
  • I built in continual modeling, sharing digital stories and other mentor texts to help students expand their thinking and understanding of high quality digital stories.

Here are some links to Digital Stories students created:

School of Oppression

Save the Philadelphia School District 2K17

Public School and Conformity

We Need More Black Male Educators

Here are some links to past versions of this project:

Education Vision Digital Stories

Education Vision Digital Stories, 2016 edition




2 comments on “Helping Students Develop An Education Vision

  1. Josh..I talk about education with my college students, and it is always a fascinating discussion. I would love to incorporate this into my high school courses. How long does this project usually take you?

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