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Today’s guest blogger is Kim Haimes-Korn, a Professor of English and Digital Writing at Kennesaw State University. Kim’s teaching philosophy encourages dynamic learning and critical digital literacies and focuses on students’ powers to create their own knowledge through language and various “acts of composition.” She likes to have fun every day, return to nature when things get too crazy, and think deeply about way too many things. She loves teaching. It has helped her understand the value of amazing relationships and boundless creativity. You can reach Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website: Acts of Composition
This post is the third of 3 posts from the Generation Project Series. Students worked together on this project over the course of many weeks to understand the impact of generational and collaborative research (See the previous posts: 1) Generation Project Series Overview and 2) Popular Culture Artifact for details). Each student did their part to make up the totality of the team generational portraits in which they had to contribute, negotiate, compromise, create and collaborate. They learned how to represent their research through a variety of multimodal components including: interactive timelines, presentation, and a cross-linked interactive feature. The project engaged students in meaningful research and multimodal practices.
For this last part of the project, each generational team drew upon their research to create a visual presentation that was delivered to the class to contribute to the larger conversation and understand the characteristics and expansive progression of the 5 living generations. Presentations involve discussion questions along with a think-tank discussion to make connections across the generations. Students complete the following final steps of the project through the Collaborative Presentation, Crosslinked Collaborative overviews and Project Reflection and Evaluation.
The Collaborative Presentation
Each generational group creates a slide presentation and an oral presentation. We use Google Slides to allow for dynamic creation and the ability to link to their own Google sites, but any presentation platform will do. I offer the following prompts/sections to provide consistency between the presentations but give students the freedom to design the presentation theme on their own terms. I encourage them to include interactive components and discussion questions to engage the audience. The presentations represent the collective team and individual research and include both the historical background and popular culture artifacts. It is their job to tell the story of their generation and substantiate their ideas with multimodal examples.
All presentations include the following:
- Historical Overview of Generation
- Popular Culture Artifacts
- Ideologies, Values and Behaviors
- Generational Portrait
- Team Takeaways
- Interactive discussion questions
Collaborative Project Overview: Interactive Feature Article
For this component each student designs/composes an individual overview article about the project to showcase on their Google sites. They repurpose information from their presentation and organize it into an accompanying page/interactive article on their sites. This should be an engaging and informative overview of their work that can be viewed and understood by an audience outside context of the class. The purpose is to share their ideas, explain and represent the project, connect the parts, and reflect upon learning.
Include the following:
- Overview of the project and Context Statement
- Explanation of their team’s Generational Portrait
- Explanation/Overview and links to Historical Context Focus year research from their group members (link to their site pages)
- Discussion on the impact of popular culture artifacts. Link to group members example pages.
- Timeline – explain and link to the timeline.
- Captioned link to the presentation.
- Reflections on the project – what they learned
- Include embedded links and multimodal components in the article.
- Use subheads to divide the topics for easier reading.
Group Process and Evaluation
When it comes to evaluation of team projects, it is essential that students themselves are an integral part of the process. Although I can judge the products they produce, only they know what went on inside their group. This final writing 0pportunity asks them to reflect upon and communicate the inner workings of their group and the successes of the project. This reflection serves two purposes: it demonstrates the ways they understand the concepts and it provides a thoughtful evaluation of their work and teammates’ contributions. I am the only audience for these reflections, and they are submitted outside the framework of the team project.
The Reflection/Evaluation involves the following components:
- Evaluation of the project and what they learned.
- Evaluation and explanation of their team processes, models and points of negotiation and success.
- Evaluation of their teammates’ contributions and roles (I have students assign a grade to all of their team members – including themselves – along with a justification.
Reflections on the Activity
The most interesting part of the project is when the students discuss the overarching ideas and takeaways from the generation project. I provide time for a think-tank discussion through which students reflect upon the impact and connections across the projects.
Here are some of the comments from that discussion:
- We learned more than expected
- We learned about the things we take for granted in our own generations.
- All generations have this in common: desire for prosperity and improvement.
- The impact and development of technology.
- The ways popular culture and material artifacts both shape generations and reveal generational ideologies.
- Civil rights are not isolated to a particular time period but an ongoing fight.
- All generations experienced some kind of trauma that shaped their perspectives (911, WW2, School Shootings, etc.).
- History repeats itself even though the events are different. Trends and ideas weave themselves back in in interesting ways.
- Each generation affects the progress of the generations before and those to come.
- Shared experiences and popular culture bring people together to give them a generational identity.
Overall, the project gave students a “personal view vs a stereotypical view” of people and helped them to understand similarities along with differences. Students also reported that the project helped them to understand “why they are the way they are” and that they felt less judgmental of other generations. Ultimately, this project promotes a sense of empathy and understanding.
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